Updated: Apr 23, 2020
An early flowering spring shrub, it is native to China and was extensively cultivated in Japan, for its blooms of golden-yellow flowers and which are looked upon as a harbinger of spring. It is now grown widely worldwide in the temperate zones, where its weeping form and flashes of golden blooms make it a focal point of many an urban garden.
Styles and sizes: As a Bonsai, it makes excellent spring-flowering specimens of small and medium-sized bonsai. It is usually easy to grow as straggly informal or clump style bonsai.
Position: Prefers a full sun position though it can grow in semi-shaded too. For a good crop of flowers and colourful autumn display, it is best to cultivate in a full sun position. While it is a frost-hardy species as bonsai, it likes to be protected in a greenhouse from freezing pots and excessive rain.
Watering: Water thoroughly early in the morning to ensure that the bonsai has the water when it needs it and is not sitting in water overnight. When water just water the pot as watering the crown will likely damage any flowers.
Feeding: Feed with organic fertiliser, every two weeks with liquid nutrition or every two months if using a pelletised version. Lime helps to set the fruit and balance out any excessive acidity of the organic feed.
Repotting: Repotting every year helps keep your clumps in control. 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: Prune back current year’s growth to leave 3 lateral shoots or three active nodes. Structural pruning and pruning of thick branches to be left until late winter early spring. Remember that any winter pruning will reduce next seasons flowering buds. To maintain a healthy trunk system, you will need to remove any suckers as they appear.
Wiring: Wire in autumn, and remove the wire before bud break in spring. Leaving wire on longer may result in scaring off the branch.