Ebenopsis ebano

Does anyone know anything about the Texas ebony tree for bonsai. I received one an out 3 months ago as a spur of the moment thing. All the information I can find is generally inconsistent. It has dropped its foliage either twice or just once over a period of a month. Also regrown. Any knowledge would be appreciated.

There are a couple of threads on the forum. This seems to have some information that may be helpful - Texas Ebony question from Live Q&A 229 - Beginners - Mirai Forum (bonsaimirai.com)

Here is a pic of my Texas ebony in early spring. I have been caring for this tree for about 25 years. It is about 3" caliper at base, 18" tall.

Some comments:

  • It is a legume.
  • Very slow growing.
  • Prefers evenly moist fast draining soil, but can tolerate some drought.
  • It drops leaves when too dry, but recovers well, putting out new leaves in 2-3 weeks… Just don’t overwater.
  • Moderate fertilizer. Do not use any acid-based fertilizer. It prefers slightly alkaline soil.
  • Can tolerate heat, but do not cook the roots
  • Branches grow in a zig zag pattern.
  • Responds to wiring, but branches are slow to set.
  • It will do better outside than inside… Cold tolerant down to upper 30’s for short periods of time. Best to give it protection when temps dip below 50F.

Hope this helps.


Extremely helpful. Thank you.

I have had it outside, but I’m in Boston and with exception of this past week we are in the low 40’s during the day and in the 30’s at night. Though not the most aesthetically pleasing, I have 2 full spectrum bulbs on them for daylight period. Is that too much?

It is a desert tree, which is where it gets its drought as well as its cold tolerance from. Deserts can have as much as 40 degree swings in daily temperatures. So short term exposure to extreme cold OR extreme heat won’t hurt it. But long term cold is not tolerated. Desert climates also tend towards very low humidity, which means your Texas ebony can tolerate being indoors more than many other species. Bottom line, you are wise to bring it inside in the winter in Boston. Keeping it in a bright location, supplemented with grow lights is also important. Put it outdoors whenever you have a warm day, and you should be good.

Okay and I know you said high PH. Do you have any recommendations? I use bio gold mostly for all of my other trees. Something it may like better? Your tree is beautiful by the way.

Bio Gold should be fine. Stay away from MirAcid, or any other fertilizer labelled for azaleas or acid loving plants. Texas tap water is naturally alkaline, so I don’t have to make any adjustments beyond staying away from the MirAcids (a product I use on many other species BTW). If Boston water has a low pH, and the tree is not thriving, you might even want to dust your soil with a little bit of lime. But consult with an informed horticulturist before doing that.
Thanks for the compliment. That Texas ebony is one of my favorites-- I’ve had it a long time!:wink:

Since you’re quite knowledgeable of this plant, I was hoping you might be able to answer one more question. My tree was (I’m guessing) slip potted into its current pot. It has a significant number of crossing roots as well as a rise in the previous soil. This area clearly accepts water at a different rate than the akadama. When is the best time to repot and what kind of root work can it take. I’m not wanting to necessarily reduce size. I just want to fix the crossings and level the tree in the pot.

If you look closely at the picture of my tree, you will notice that the nebari is not the tree’s best feature. Texas ebonies do not like their roots to be messed with, but they do appreciate a repotting every couple of years. After 25 years, this tree has a pretty well formed root ball. So, what I do is rake out the perimeter of the root ball to remove about 25% of the soil and replace it with a lava/akadama/pumice mix. I also look for a few crossing/misplaced roots to rearrange or trim, but I do this very lightly. After a few repots, all of the old broken down soil is replaced. And usually, the tree doesn’t miss a beat. Treat it as a tropical and repot it in midsummer.

Okay. Thank you very much. Truly appreciate it.

There is new growth everywhere since I changed my water practice with this tree. Thank you.