Does Hebe make good bonsai material?

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Does Hebe make good bonsai material?

Post  RichLewis on Mon May 10, 2010 9:59 pm

I picked up a hebe from my neighbour's today. We had dug it out the same time as the field maple, which is in another topic. Anyway, a few weeks later it's still sitting on his lawn, rootball and all, so I brought it home.

I was under the impression that hebe is not really suitable for bonsai cultivation, simply because I've never seen one as bonsai before, hence why I didn't bring it home the first time. I always thought they reacted badly to top pruning; sacrificing top growth and throwing out loads of stuff at the base, almost like a birch.

This particular one is about 30 years old, so it already has a fairly developed trunk and root mass. All of the foliege has been removed (by my neighbour before we dug it out) and non has grown yet. This is probably to be expected as it's been sitting in the open air. It's still alive though.

I soaked the rootball and left it in a shaded spot behind a hedge. I plan to build a box for it and plant it up tomorrow or the day after. Photos will follow.

Does anyone think it's worth a go?

Cheers

Richard

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Re: Does Hebe make good bonsai material?

Post  RichLewis on Wed May 12, 2010 2:05 am

Here is a photo of the tree lying on it's side, I was suprised at how shallow the root mass was.It doesn't seem to have a taproot. You can see my trainers for scale, I'm a UK size 10!


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Re: Does Hebe make good bonsai material?

Post  David Brunner on Wed May 12, 2010 3:01 am

Hello Richard – I’ve tried several Hebe species that were “urban yamadori” but to date none have made it past the first few years of transition. Here in San Francisco there are a whole suite of them cultivated as landscape shrubs and some even as the occasional street tree. I will keep trying to find the magic method of lifting them and successfully transitioning them to pot culture. I wish I had words of successful experience to share, alas that is not the case. I do however understand why you would be attracted to Hebe as bonsai material, and hope that you will share your SUCCESS with this one.

I am a little concerned about the life span of most Hebe, since the majority are little more than suffrutescent sub-shrubs, but here in SF I have seen some species be quite long lived just as you report for Wales.

On the old IBC there used to be a few Kiwis that posted, perhaps one of them is back with us and can give you some “homeland” advice. For my part I hope you keep going with this and let us know the result.

David B.

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