Plant Growth Retardants

Simonyi(5B)August 5, 2005

Has anyone had experience using plant growth retardants, specifically paclobutrazol (believe it or not, sold under the tradename "Bonzi.")

The material is a gibberillic acid inhibitor which acts to reduce cell elongation. It is also supposed to increase the general health of the plant in that new foliage has higher chlorophyll and carotenoid contents, resulting in higher photosynthetic efficiency.

Bottom line is the result is reduction in foliage size and internodal spacing.

Thanks in advance for your time.



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mark_rockwell(7 Va)

I would question the use of such "growth retardants" in bonsai. Bonzi is used to get uniform heights on onramental plants like poinsettia. I would question whether it makes plants any healthier. It juvenilizes foilage, essentially preventing it from becoming mature. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but I think young foliage is LESS able to photosynthsize than mature foliage,

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 10:41AM
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Thanks, Mark....I will probably not pursue it, as I just discovered that it costs $140.00 per quart :)


    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 1:33PM
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mark_rockwell(7 Va)

Yeah, that would dampen my enthusiasm too...;-)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 2:10PM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)

A few years ago I used a product called cycocel on tropical hibiscus. The nice thing about it was the growth pattern was so compact it was difficult to tell if the plant was even growing. You could get blooms on top of blooms with internodes so small you couldnÂt measure them. Many tropical hibiscus in the floral trade are treated with this product.

The bad thing about the use of this product was the growth was so compact it was difficult to tell if it was growing. The plant never recovers from this treatment and doesnÂt ever return to normal growth. The worst factor in all of this is the shortened lifespan of the plant. I donÂt know of any hibiscus I treated with this product and sold over the years to regular customers that are still around today. I had a tree standard live about ten after its last treatment still looking about the same size as when I first sprayed it.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 3:14PM
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I would be interested in a growth inhibitor to use on an arborvitae. Does anybody know of an affordable way to stunt the growth on this kind of shrub?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 2:04PM
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Prune it? Though of course that wouldn't stop the trunk from thickening or the roots from growing. Why would you want it - do you really want a static looking tree? If so, you may have to find a good 'fake'.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 6:10PM
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Actually that was a too cute answer...but the girl is on the mark.

What is lost in western culture is the 'working' with Bonsai...getting your hands dirty, enjoying the art, breaking a nail, looking at something in a 10 gallon nursery pot or in the ground--seeing the tree then working it to what you have in mind. Not the instant gratification and just it sitting there so your friends can say 'Oh, that's a cute tree, where did you buy it?'

The oldest form of what you want out of a bottle is 'petting a tree' it's not some kinky thing. Spend some time with your trees and literally 'pet' the foliage like you would pet a cat or dog...ya really!!!

You run your hand over the foliage in the direction in which it grows, smoothly and gently, every time you are around the tree.
Since the natural reaction is adversion to touch guess what happens...yep. You will still have to prune but the internodal spacing will be much closer and the foliage much more dense. Try it sometime. won't happen overnight...takes a little while.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 2:33AM
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Tom had to look for a old post to e mail you. long time since i talked to you ,hope every thing is going good for you.i have seen your post on bonsai talk nice trees!!! wanted to know if you know any thing about IBC forum?? are they comming back i miss that forum good info and pics.. take care hope to hear from you soon..john

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 7:22PM
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