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Shrubby Cinquefoil

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Potentilla fruticosa

The Cinquefoil is widely grown in the temperate regions from Europe to Japan, where it is cultivated for its colour, long-lived flowers. It comes in shades of pink and yellow and orange and is grown mainly as a border shrub, which grows to about 1 meter tall. An ideal urban landscape plant it is colourful, hardy and requires little to no maintenance.

Potentilla fruticosa, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Bonsai
Potentilla fruticosa, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Bonsai

Styles and Sizes: Its attractive foliage, delicate branching, copious flowers, and scraggly bark make it beautiful small to medium multi-stemmed bonsai that are of interest all year round.

Position: Loves a full sun aspect, especially if you would like it to flower profusely. Any extraordinarily hardy and tolerant species.

Watering: It loves it moisture but deteriorates rapidly in water-logged soils. Water thoroughly early morning and allow the soil surface to dry out before watering again.

Feeding: Feed with an organic fertiliser, every two weeks with a liquid feed or every two months if using a pelletised feed.

Repotting: It grows in moist, fertile soils so repoting every year can be beneficial. Best repot in autumn after flowering and fruiting. Use a free-draining soil, of loam, sharp sand and well-mulched bark in equal parts. Alternatively, you can use Akadama and pumice in a ratio of 2:1 by volume.

Pruning: New shoots should be cut back to 3 later shoots, or active buds after 5-7 leaves have formed. They sucker regularly and they need to be pruned away to encourage a stronger trunk.

Wiring: Shaping is primarily done with the ‘clip and grow’ method of pruning, as this species is most often grown in multi-trunk styles, and wiring is not necessary. If needed they can be wired in autumn and wire removed before flowering starts.

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