Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bonsai - Crepe Myrtle

If you're not from the south or live in the south you may not know what a crepe myrtle is. I don't remember ever seeing one before I moved to the Texas Gulf Coast. They're everywhere here. They make a nice addition to a garden because they come in many sizes, shapes, and flower colors and have flowers from spring into fall. And they make a nice bonsai project because they grow pretty fast. And they get flowers. I bought the specimen below in the spring of '05. There were actually two plants in the pot, one with pink flowers, the other with lavender flowers. When you convert a plant like this to a bonsai you have to do some serious trimming to both the roots and the branches. Here is what it looked like in August '05. It had grown back leaves but did not get any flowers the rest of the growing season.

In the winter a crepe myrtle loses all of its leaves. So the bonsai looked like 2 dead sticks all winter. In the spring of '06 I found that one of the plants was a dead stick. But I didn't know which one lived (the pink or the lavender) because it never got flowers in 2006. Part of the reason was that I was keeping it inside. It had had a serious aphid attack near the end of 2005. So I was keeping it inside to keep the aphids off. Later in the summer of 2006 I was told by a bonsai expert that I had to keep the plant outside all year long or it would die. So outside it went. It survived the winter of 2006 and grew nicely in 2007. One of the things you do with bonsai plants is train them to grow into a pleasing shape. I haven't quite got that part down yet. I let the crepe myrtle grow however it wanted to in 2007. It put out one branch that was over 2 feet long (compared to the trunk which was about 8 inches tall). On the end of that long branch it got some flowers. They were lavender as shown in the next photo. But that was it, about 5 buds.

Spring has started to show here in southeast Texas and the crepe myrtle has survived another winter. It has 12 sprouts on it which is more than it got last year. And it's at about the same stage of growth that my garden crepes are. Last year it was way behind. So maybe it will gets lots of flowers this year. Hope runs high in the spring for the bonsai grower just like for the baseball fan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your last comment on baseball. The Rockets are doin' great right now. One can't help wonder....will that inspire the Astros? -- Pam