Shohin Bottlebrush Experiment

A few years ago I was wondering why Australian native plants were not “cultivated” for bonsai purposes in a similar manner to say Trident maples. So in October 2016 I purchased about 8 or 9 Callistemon viminalis Macarthur to ground grow like many trident maples are. I chose this particular species because:

  • I like bottlebrush
  • This breed is a cross between two popular Callistemon varieties Little John and Captain Cook
  • They flower
  • This variety is Myrtle Rust resistant
  • And of course the main reason was they were available in the local garden centre

When I got them home I transplanted them into square colanders and planted the colanders into the old vegie patch. Always the plan was to grow these in the shohin size. I did keep one in the black plastic nursery pot as a “control” sample.

They grew quiet prolifically and I trimmed them whenever I remembered however no wire was applied and no fertilizer given. If I were smarter I would have kept better notes and taken progress photos, but alas that didn’t happen. The trimming was at time quite harsh but these plants shot back on old wood easily and rewarded me with flowers during the growing period. In retrospect it would have been preferable to root prune these while in the ground but alas again, that didn’t happen.

In October 2019 I dug all the plants out and I was very pleased with the trunk thickness and that all the trees survived. So here are a few photos of the plants after digging.

The next step is to pot them into bonsai pots and that will hopefully happen in October this year.

And of course the obligatory standard size comparison.

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