The Great Bonsai Experiment

With one nudge of encoragement from nice husband, and another from a good book at the always wonderful Lawrence Public Library, and after wandering by them more than once at Sunrise Nursery, I brought a bonsai tree home today--well, at least I hope it will be a bonsai tree when it grows up a little!

He's just a little slip of an Australian Cherry (aka a Brush Cherry or Australian-Brush Cherry) right now, but with some character ala Crocodile Dundee or Nicole Kidman. The tips of his branches are starting to go red and pointy like he wants to bloom out soon--my little Aussie.

I also went ahead and bought the special bonsai potting soil--do it right or not at all, as my Dad would say--which was more spendy than the tree and the pot put together. It was very, very well draining, almost so much so that it seemed like the water basically just went right through. But they supposedly need it so hopefully it won't be too much. I also had trouble getting the root to go where I wanted them to. There was one big fat root that just wanted to stick right out into the air. I buried it in the potting mix and then put a little pebble over it to keep it down, so I'll have to check on that over the next few weeks and make sure he stays ok. He definitely needs some pruning, but I want to let him get settled in first.

Care: Let dry out between waterings, best way to water is to soak in a sink for 5-10 min.; Full Sun/Part Shade; Keep humid by putting the pot on a tray of pebbles with water or by misting; Repot about every 2 years in early Spring, don't prune roots too much, and keep plant somewhere shady after repotting so that new roots can grow; In Spring may bear small white flowers followed by red, edible fruit 2-3 months later; Feed every 2 weeks during growing season and every 4-5 weeks in winter; can be pruned hard but branches are sensitive so wiring is not recommended; can be propagated by cuttings in summer or seeds in fall; common pests include scale, mealy bug,Caribbean fruit fly, aphids, red spider; may drop leaves if watering is inconsistent; not salt tolerant (Phew! That's a lot to think about!)