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Carpinus betulus

Native to much of Europe and Asia Minor the hornbeam and beech are often confused. Growing to about 20 meters tall the hornbeam is commonly grown in parks, avenues and hedges. It has attractive smooth silver-grey bark, and its wood which is extremely dense and hard and durable is used for instruments and flooring.

English Hornbeam, Bonsai, Carpinus betulus
English Hornbeam, Bonsai, Carpinus betulus

Styles & Sizes: A favourite European Bonsai it makes Bonsai of medium to large size in most upright styles and is often used in forest groups.

Position: Loves a full sun position, though it can take a partially shaded location too. In summer protect from drying out by placing in a humidity tray.

Watering: Water thoroughly early in the morning especially in the summer as the Hornbeam likes moist soil.

Feeding: Feed with a balanced organic fertiliser. Organic manure, release its nutrients slowly ensuring that leaf sizes and internode distances stay small and controlled. If using a liquid fertiliser feed every two weeks, if feeding with a pelleted version feed when feed dissolves away.

Repotting: While the Grey alder is not too fussed by the soil it grows in, Alders roots grow very quickly and massively so younger bonsai need to be root pruned every year. Use a blend of loam, well-mulched bark, sharp sand, in equal parts. Alternatively, you can use a mix of Akadama, Pumice in equal parts.

Pruning: After the current year’s extension have fully extended prune back to leave 3 active leaf nodes or lateral shoots per stem. Heavy pruning is best carried out in late autumn early winter.

Wiring: The hornbeam’s braches are best styled with the ‘clip and grow’ method. If wiring is required wire in autumn and remove carefully in spring.

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