Bonsai Training Information

Rhododendron fastigiatum
Dwarf Rododendron

A small leaf (lepidote) evergreen rhododendron, it grows slowly reaching 30 cm in ten years. It native lands in the Yunan Mountains of China, it can ocassionally grow to a meter. It speceis name fastigiatium means upright branches, but its chinese name "mi zhi du juan" which translates to "densely branched rhododendron" is more apt.

Styles:

Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Clump

Location:

Outdoor

Position:

Prefers a dappled shade location. Sunny locations especially in hottest parts of the year can damage roots, which are mainly surface growing. Most cultivars are not very frost hardy so are best protected in a cool glass house to overwinter.

Watering:

Water well during the growing season, do not let the pot dry as this will the plant. They prefer and acidic soil so use rain water when ever possible. Use organic pH conditioners like seedweed to correct pH balances, inorganics may juts increase salt imbalances and burn the fine roots.



Feeding:

Whenever possible use an inorganic feed. Feed biweekly in spring till flowering and then switch to a monthly feeding regime till late autumn.

Leaf and Branch Pruning:

Prune after flowering. Leave only 2 or three new shoots at each node whorls, in the directions that you would like your branches to grow. Root pruning normally encourages a lot of back budding on older wood. If the plant has opened up too much now is the time to prune back hard to allow new growth to develop.

Re-potting & Growing Medium:

Repot every two years for younger plants, 3-4 years for older plants. If pH imbalances occur frequently because watering. salt imbalances, you many need to repot more regularly to introduce fresh soil to the tree. Use a Humus rich well draining soil, 1 Part Akadama, 1 Part Pumice and 1 Part Humus or Leaf Mould. Repot in spring, but then do not allow the plant to flower as this may stress the fragile root system.

Wiring:

Not normally necessary as shaping is normally carried out with branch and shoot pruning. If wiring, take care, as older branches are very hard to bend and snap easily and younger branches are very delicate.

Notes:


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