Updated: Jan 25, 2022
An extremely cold-hardy tree it is compact in nature and grows to about 8 meters tall and of narrow habit. While it is now cultivated widely in the Temperate world, it is native to North East China, Far East Russia and Japan. It is grown in avenues and parks for it attractive grey bark, reddish-brown twigs, light to lemon coloured spring foliage and colourful red autumn foliage.
Styles & Sizes: As a bonsai, it can be grown medium to large bonsai and in practically all upright styles. Its striking seasonal changes means that it can be appreciated all year round.
Position: Likes a full sun position, especially during the cooler seasons, if summers are excessively hot and humidity is low then protect from wind and keep in semi-shaded area.
Watering: Water thoroughly in the early morning, do not let the growing medium dry out, as the leaf tips can singe. During the hotter summer days, you may need to water between 2 and 3 times a day. If you are unable to water as frequently find a semi-shaded position for it.
Feeding: Feed bi-monthly during the growing season. Use a balanced organic fertiliser.
Repotting: In spring or early autumn; if re-potted in autumn remember to protect the tree in winter. Younger trees grow quite profusely and hence need to be re-potted every year or two years. More mature bonsai trees only every 4 to 5 years. When repotting reduce root ball by no more than a third. Use a free draining soil with 2 parts Akadama and 1 Part Pumice.
Pruning: Pruning is the primary means of shaping. Pruning and leaf trimming can be used to induce back budding and branching. Prune new shoots to leave three active leaf nodes.
Wiring: Best styled with the ‘clip and grow’ method. If wiring is needed, wire in autumn when tree is dormant. Don’t leave the wire on for too long as it will scar the bark.