Unusual Bonsai

flash14756(z6 Boise, Idaho USA)December 12, 2005

Does anybody have a link to a gallery of bonsai that are not usualy used as Bonsai.

(Sorry, I dont realy now how to say what I want)

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Any plant that gets a woody stem/trunk and branching, can theoretically be tried as bonsai (and all kinds of weird things have been), though obviously certain things (traditional 'trees') are going to be used more often, and will probably be more satisfying because they fulfil what people want in bonsai, but you're basically asking a question with 1,000 answers. There are pix of unique plants that someone's bonsai-ed on the internet, but there's no one website as far as I know. If you meant something else...??

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You might try some of the woody herbs. I have used Rosemary with good results. Another interesting planting is native grasses and weeds. I believe it is known as Kusomono.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

This plant had just been pruned when the photo was taken. recognize the material?


    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh! Thank you. I thought I was the only crazy one here (nothing personal Tapla). Your's is a lot larger than mine, which is growing in a little long oval pot, waiting to get bigger, but it's a sexy purply color and a nice couple of (untrained) bends in it, the coleus, of course.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bonsaibean(7 - TN)

I just moved from zone 4 to zone 7.
I always thought coleus would make an interesting bonsai, but they are annuals up there, and I never looked into how they would over-winter. Any advice on that, knowing that I now have much milder winters?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Coleus are perennials - no matter where they are grown. That they are tender where you live cannot change that, ;o)

I over-winter them indoors under lights, in 50 - 60% humidity & they do fine.

Here is a pic of 2 cuttings I started late this summer. You can see where they have been chopped twice. It should give you an idea of where to begin. The low branch on the left tree (sticking straight at you) will come off when it has fattened the trunk some.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 6:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flash14756(z6 Boise, Idaho USA)

Is it hard to get coleus to grow a bonsai? If not, I'd like to try it wit a colorful one as a first, or possibly second (Scheffelera might be my first :-] ) bonsai.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 7:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The garden perennials are just something I play with. Coleus are easy to grow and develop very quickly, but can be difficult w/o good light & humidity in winter. Your choice of a scheff is a good one, as your first tree to care for. Ficus benjamina or microcarpa are also pretty easy trees that tolerate indoor conditions over winter pretty well.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flash14756(z6 Boise, Idaho USA)

I may try a ficus but so far the only one I have is a currently unrooted cutting, so it might be a little while before it can be worked with LOL.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sta4(z5 WI)

This website has unusal arrangements (not ususal species) and is worth checking out.


You may want to look into Caudiforms- most popular of which for bonsai is Desert Rose



Unusual enough for you?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jah_in_ma(z6 MA)

Thanks STA4, great stuff especially Nick Lenz stuff, opens my eyes even wider!!

I am very new to this but am completely hooked on this stuff and can't seem to get enough.

One of my other passions is hot peppers. I just cut and repotted into bonsai pots since the trunks of 3yr old plants are very interesting and I should be able to control bracnh grwoth so will see what happens in a few months.

So this thread helps me as others are doing similar things and worried about convention (although I have several acer p.s that are waiting anxiously in the cold garage).

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 1:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flash14756(z6 Boise, Idaho USA)

WoW. Lenz is like a surrealist or impressionist painter.

They're almost disturbing...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 5:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Walter_Pickett(5-6 KS)

I hadn't thought of peppers as unusual for bonsai. I have grown two chiltipines (wild peppers) for up to 5 years. They died due to gopher damage in the ground over summer. They were responcible for getting me back into bonsai after not having any for about 20 years.
Peppers in the wild are perennial woody shrubs. The ones I had were from west Texas, so they were heat and drought tolerant. There are wild peppers form there south through South America, so there should be some more adapted to wetter areas, even rain forests.
My peppers put out good growth outside in the summers. Inside in the winters, new growth would be long and spindly. I'd cut off the the winter growth in the spring and do the shaping during the summer.
Now I have many tree and shrub species, but wild peppers are one of my favorites.
Seeds of the wild peppers can be found online, or at a grocery store in the spice or Mexican section. They are sold under the names chiltipin, chiltipine, chili tepin, bird pepper, and other names I'm sure. I bought the crushed dried peppers and the seeds were good.
Some other peppers have tree-like bark sooner than the chiltipine, but the chiltipines get nice bark within a year, plus they have small fruit the size of peas (very tasty, but very hot), small leaves, less swollen nodes,and get woody sooner.
My favorite winter hardy bonsai is spirea, especially the varieties Goldmound and Goldflame.
Thanks for the pictures of Coleus. I'll be trying those.
Some of the thymes, I forget if it was lemon or orange thyme, make tiny bonsai. It was late summer when I visited a garden center and they were trying to get rid of their herbs. I was looking through them, buying several for pennies each. They were tall and spindly from neglect, but by looking at each one, I was finding some in good health. Then some thymes caught my eye. They were badly overgrown but the bottom inch or two of their "trunk" were twisty, tapered, well-branched, with nice exposed roots. I took them home and repotted them and trimmed them way back. They were beautiful.
But they were less hardy than I had expected thyme to be. They winter-killed in a cold frame.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 10:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jah_in_ma(z6 MA)

Walter, that is what I am trying. I have over a dozen varities of tepins and piquins and as you mentioned the woody growth and roots on the bottom are teriffic. I like the small peppers for the heat and the timy size of seeds (won't get stuck in teeth as much). I'll post pics as this develops. Thanks for the ideas.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 4:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, I'm tyler i just wanted to ask you guys if you have ever tried any multi grafted trees or if you have ever heard of any. i'm really interested in plants and trying to make a multi grafts,mame bonsai, agrisculture pencil holder or something cool for my desk

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know what you mean by 'multi' grafted. But I strongly suggest you make a pencil holder instead of a bonsai, because they are living things that require a lot of knowledgable care (and don't do well on desks). They are not (just) decoration.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a Plectranthus (Cuban Oregano (not really in the oregano family)) that I haven't really done anything with yet, except pinching back. I have seen a few bonsai done with this plant, with varying degrees of success. But it certainly remains an unusal plant for bonsai.

I wouldn't mind any input on styling this thing, by the way...

I love the coleus, by the way. I will have to try that. I love the way you created the zig zagging motion by pinching opposing branches on the way up. Very cool.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A mexican oregano from my collection. She needs a bit of grooming after the winter, but she smells great!!!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:44AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
New to bonsai
Hey there. I am relatively new to indoor plants although...
My pine bonsai is in bag inside pot, what do I do?
New to bonsai, Ive had a pine bonsai thats roots came...
bonsai a large outdoor camellia?
Someone long ago planted this camellia much too close...
Will my window provide a sufficient amount of light for a bonsai?
My window faces northeast. So the only time I get direct...
Need ID help
I just picked this up in the bonsai section of the...
josephines123 z5 ON Canada
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™