Saturday, May 6, 2017

Bonsai update — risky repotting

First the good news: all the baby curry leaf trees are growing from seed. In fact all the seeds, even the slow starters in the punnet, are coming up. The bad news is that I've decided to interfere.

This might look like the beginnings of a bonsai empire, but it is in fact an insurance policy. I've scoured the garden shed and have found two extra bonsai pots, and the plan is to grow three bonsai curry leaf trees and hope that one of them turns out OK. Talk about confidence!

Taking things cautiously, I popped down to our garden centre, bought some specialist bonsai potting mix and some nice little pebbles. The bonsai potting mix label says "with Zeolite", and I was as impressed as anyone who doesn't know what Zeolite is, but 15 minutes of Googling before posting this update, I'm now truly impressed. It's a wonderful natural mineral that absorbs stuff. Very handy in potting mixes. If you want to know more, google it, but be prepared for some sciencey stuff. 

In the foreground is the bonsai pot with the seed-raised baby in place. I'm not touching it! Behind is the punnet with all the seedlings coming up.

This is the risky option. Actually removing a growing baby plant and transplanting it. I might be doing it too early, but I am very conscious of winter approaching, and all my curry leaf trees hate winter, so I want to give the strongest of them a chance to grow a bit more in a bigger pot.

Here's the bigger pot, a bonsai pot with two nice holes.

Cover the holes with mesh, add bonsai potting mix...

Uh oh. This is not a great look. A very long single tap root, curling around at the bottom where it hit the base of the punnet. No side shoots on the roots. It's probably too young to pot up, but I've done it now. At least the punnet has a few more plants growing on. I will leave them all alone for quite a bit longer.

So here's Mr Long Tap Root in place. At least its root won't grow straight out the bottom. Hopefully I can nurse it along in there, too.

Finally some decorative pebbles. As the pot is off-white, I've used my "Tarago Pebbles" which are sandstone-coloured ...

... and the glaring white pebbles, which might be a mistake, have been spread into the other, smaller bonsai pot.

So that's the update. Over the next few weeks, while the weather remains still warm enough, I am fussing over these guys. They are put into the sunshine every morning, watered, then brought back to their own warm, covered shelters (plastic topped propagating boxes) at night. 

If they survive winter, I think we might have a bonsai project on our hands!