- camellia bonsai">The camellia bonsai: why bonsai lovers prefer it
Flowering bonsai particularly appreciated for its harmonious posture, the camellia bonsai stands out for its beautiful and fascinating flowering. Among bonsai lovers, it is very widespread due to the aptitude to let oneself be shaped without resisting and without suffering. Derived from camellia, an evergreen plant characterized by large flowers that appear on the apexes of newly born branches, it offers bright green leaves, already small in nature, which naturally constitutes a fundamental plus for a plant intended for bonsai. The camellia bonsai, a species that is easy to grow and modify according to bonsai art, is afraid of the cold: for this reason, it needs to be placed in a sufficiently illuminated and sunny position, even during the summer, while in winter it prefers the domestic setting or that of a greenhouse, as long as it is not heated. It must be watered throughout the year, since it is an evergreen, taking care to avoid water stagnation phenomena, which, by causing excessive humidity, could cause root rot. As with all bonsai, in short, water must be administered only when the soil no longer shows traces of the previous watering, and therefore is completely dry.
When to wet the ground
In addition, as regards irrigation, they must be suspended in the event that, during the winter, frosts are announced. In summer, however, water should only be supplied in the evening or early in the morning: that is, when it is not very hot, and therefore the soil is able to retain it for longer. The water must be poured directly onto the ground, taking care not to wet the leaves, slowly and gradually, and twice within a few minutes, so that it accumulates in the soil in sufficient quantity. Watering, however, must be abundant in summer, but must be limited when the buds are about to form. Sensitive, as mentioned, to winter temperatures, it prefers a climate between five and twelve degrees. It is an acidophilic plant, which does not disdain atmospheric humidity. The transplant must be performed, between April and June, once every two or three years, while for the fertilization it is necessary to wait for the flowering: once completed, you can proceed, using organic material. Instead, fertilization must be avoided in both summer and winter.
Aphids, scale insects, red spider mites
The camellia bonsai it has to deal with various parasites: scale insects, aphids and oziorrinco, which can cause damage to the roots with the larvae, but also red spider mites, which cause the flowers to wither leading to necrosis. Attention should also be paid to thrips, which compromise the health of flowers and shoots, while a sign of serious problems are rot of the collar and root system caused by fungi, leaf spots and hypertrophy of the leaves. Speaking of the leaves, they can also be affected by viral infections, while bacterial tumors can affect the roots.
To avoid the appearance of fungi, it is advisable - as always - to reduce excessive humidity: a well-draining soil, in fact, will allow the water to flow as it should, preventing the appearance of water stagnation.
Camellia Bonsai: Bonsai pruning
As regards pruning, the training interventions are aimed at ensuring that the camellia bonsai acquires the desired shape, naturally respecting the needs of the species. It must be performed with carefully cleaned instruments and, if possible, flame-disinfected, in order to avoid infections. If possible, it would be better to clean the blades of the shears (or scissors) after each cut, to avoid the risk that a disease affecting a single branch can spread to the others: it is sufficient to rub them with a clean cloth wet with a little alcohol . The cuts must be sharp, oblique and clean, and they will be followed by the application of a cream or putty aimed at making healing faster. Over the years, then, maintenance pruning will also be useful, which aims to maintain the recreated shape by cutting off diseased branches, with irregular or broken course. As with any bonsai, even for camellia it could be useful to use braces to correct the position of the branches or the trend of the trunk. Copper wires, tie rods and weights must be used, however, only in the autumn and spring months, that is to say during the vegetation period, taking care, of course, to prevent the bark and branches from being damaged by the wire. For this reason it must be wrapped in gummed paper. Once applied on the branches (taking into account that the younger ones are more elastic and flexible, therefore easier to correct), they must be left in position for a few months: only in this way will you be sure that, once removed, the branches do not return to their former position. The leaves of the camellia bonsai can be sprayed with a linseed oil solution to remove any whitish encrustations caused by scale insects. It may also be helpful to scrub the branches with an old toothbrush.