Indigofera australis as Bonsai

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Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby Kevin » October 15th, 2016, 6:07 am

Hello,

Seeking information on Indigofera australis as Bonsai.
The garden and nursery Indigofera australis plants around Sydney flower prolifically from September thru to June then go deciduous.
The nursery labelled indigofera australis plants, while considerably more attractive are very different to the indigenous species :lost:
Legend has it (Wikipedia) local aborigines would throw the crushed leaves into the water to kill or stun fish :shock:

Do they make good Bonsai, that is, the nursery variety of Indigofera australis?
Will they reduce in leaf and flower size?

Time permitting i plan to take a chunking piece of trunk from my garden.
Just wondering if another member has seen or tried these shrubs as Bonsai.

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Thanks in advance,
Kevin
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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby shibui » October 15th, 2016, 6:24 am

Indigofera australis is a widespread species and, like other widely dispersed plants shows considerable variability over the range it grows in. Plants that are selected for nursery trade are usually selected because they are more attractive examples of the species which may explain why nursery plants are different to your local ones.
Down here the local indigoferas have not done particularly well in the garden. They tend to die off quite a lot over summer, after flowering, then shoot from the base each winter. With that characteristic I have not even considered them as a candidate for bonsai.
The leaves in your photos are very green. The plants I know have much more greyish leaves - again probably due to variation in type but it is possible they are mislabelled. Indigofera is a large family with around 750 species from many parts of the world. Some of us grow 'Summer Wisteria' which turns out to be another indigofera from China and Phillipines.
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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby Kevin » October 15th, 2016, 9:09 am

Thanks Shibui,

Amazing information, as you have mentioned i do have what appears to be Indigofera decora or Summer Indigofera.
I'll start a new correctly titled thread when i get time to dig it, unfortunately it's not a native :(
Also, i'll have a closer look at our indigenous roadside Indigofera and maybe apply your 8 P's, at least gather some seeds.

Kevin
Last edited by Kevin on October 15th, 2016, 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby Rory » October 17th, 2016, 8:22 am

I bought mine a few months ago from a native council nursery that was closing down a while ago.

I hope I haven't purchased a lemon after reading shibuis comments, but I only bought a cheap starter of this variety to trial.
The profusion of flowers drew me in immediately. I'll have to take a closer look at the foliage.
I am just going to let the trunk thicken up for a few years before I do anything. It has stopped the beautiful flowering now and has produced very cute and thin hanging pea pods about 3cm long.

If they prove to be worthy subjects in my area then I feel they will make a great choice of material. The nurseryman says he would cut them back occasionally and they'd just get bushier and hardier, so I hope he is right. He said they can get quite a thick trunk on some of the specimens he had seen so I thought I'd have a go.

Mine is very young though, (a twin trunk specimen with each trunk about 5mm thick). My daughter fell in love with it, so either way it will be grown as a bonsai/feature plant depending on how it responds.
Last edited by Rory on October 17th, 2016, 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby RogerW » October 17th, 2016, 8:45 am

From my experience in retail nurseries the Indigofera sp sold was not native to Australia. I agree with Shibui, this plant is not suitable for bonsai.

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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby Stu » October 17th, 2016, 12:58 pm

My experience in the garden is you will struggle to get a trunk of any size.
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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby Rory » October 17th, 2016, 6:53 pm

Here is the specimen I purchased from the Kuringai Council Native Nursery:

It is blue/green in colour.
As you can see it is quite different from the one pictured above.

I'll update this thread in a few years either way and see if it is indeed not worthy or not.

Indigofora_Australis.jpg
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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby shibui » October 17th, 2016, 7:39 pm

From my experience in retail nurseries the Indigofera sp sold was not native to Australia. I agree with Shibui, this plant is not suitable for bonsai.

Specialist native and indigenous nurseries should be able to supply correct native species. There are a number of native indigoferas, some critically rare and endangered.

If Kevin does have I. decora it will grow to form a reasonable trunk in time and could become good bonsai material (even if it is not native :( )
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Re: Indigofera australis as Bonsai

Postby Rory » August 5th, 2017, 1:20 pm

I chopped the trunk shortly after the last post in October sometime and since hen it has shot back and thickened the trunk to double in size.

I hope to keep it as a twin trunk. Though I haven't taken a look at the base of the trunk or the roots yet.

So far this looks like promising material. I'm loving the tiny flowers that have started developing. It must be one of the small flowering varieties. Those close up pics of the leaves are very small so you can gather a rough size of the flowers. Beautiful!

IMG_3082.JPG


IMG_3083.JPG
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