azara mycrophylla

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azara mycrophylla

Post  brucebinsf on Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:15 pm

Has anyone used Azara as a bonsai? It has nice small leaves and seems to back bud. I saw one in a nursery 50% off area that would be a great literati style project. I've looked around and not found any information.

Thanks in advance, Bruce

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Re: azara mycrophylla

Post  JimLewis on Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:33 pm

Well, Google it and you will find quite a bit of info on the plant. I'd never heard of it, but it sounds interesting -- small leaves, yellow, early spring flowers. It is a bit tender though so I don't think it would do well in a pot in zone 7 so it's not for me. You don't indicate where you are.

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Re: azara mycrophylla

Post  brucebinsf on Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:44 pm

Thanks Jim,

I Googled it and yes there is some information about and it would seem that it would work well here. San Francisco. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience in using them in the bonsai arena.

again, Thanks, B

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Re: azara mycrophylla

Post  Randy_Davis on Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:59 pm

There are a number of Azara species but "microphylla" the Boxleaf Azara is the most common in the warmer parts of the US and quite often seen in California. It's a rather whispy looking thing when young and is rather slow growing when young and speeds up a bit once it is establshed. They never have large thick trunks bit will work for most bonsai applications. They are quite lovely trees when flowering in the early spring. They will take to pruning quite well and will bud back easily albeit slowly. I don't think that you'd ever make a masterpiece bonsai out of them but they would make a quite nice "african savana" shaped tree and the leaves would fit that scale very nicely. They like a humus somewhat acidic soil so if you do try it as a bonsai make sure and have a good amount of humus in the soil. I would also recommend feeding them with an acid fertilizer. Not a plant that is big in the bonsai community but it has been used as bonsai in a small scale in areas where it grows. I say, try it you might just like it! It's the best of all the species of Azara.

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Re: azara mycrophylla

Post  brucebinsf on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:11 pm

Thanks Randy, very helpfull,,,I shall see what happens

B

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Re: azara mycrophylla

Post  David Brunner on Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:46 pm

Hello Bruce – I have grown a number of Azara species as bonsai here in San Francisco. Interestingly, the one most suited to bonsai by leaf size (A. microphylla) and the one most common in cultivation here is the one I have not grown. My experience with other members of the genus shows that leaves do not reduce very much, so A. microphylla will be your best choice for that. They do take to pot culture well, but reduction of the root ball should be done in stages over several years. I lost several by removing too much too quickly. I would recommend no more than a 50% reduction every other year when you are taking this one down from its nursery container to a bonsai pot. You can’t threat these like a trident maple…

I use a very well drained soil mix and I found my Azara’s thriving in it. When I was at a local botanical garden that was growing up a number of Azara species for out-planting we found that typical liner soils with abundant organics were too water retentive for Azara during out wet winters.

Watch for scale infestations. Azara seems to be particularly prone. The scale insects are spread far and wide by the annoying and destructive Argentine ants that are everywhere (and wiping out our native species…) so if you see any of those tiny ants on your trees – look for scale!

Azaras do have a huge propensity for back-budding especially at the base (they are mostly from fire maintained ecosystems.) This can be a boon and a bane. It helps in developing new structure, but is problematic for structure maintenance. They also have a tendency to shed entire branches, so be prepared to have flexibility in mind as you design your tree’s “final” structure. Since you are looking at nursery stock, try to find the largest trunk diameter you can get – you will get very little girth once it is a pot. Azara microphylla does make a nice small tree in the landscape eventually and can get some substantial trunk girth with age in the ground. But I found that even in over-size container culture the Azara trunks refused to fatten up.

Randy is right about the nice spring flowering of Azara, but A. microphylla has some of the least showy flowers in the genus, so if you want a spring display another species would be better. But for leaf size and availability your leaning toward A. microphylla is right on.

If you try the Azara – keep us informed about progress, we will be very interested!
David Brunner

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