Has anyone had experience with Santa Cruz Island Ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius)?



I’ve never seen anything online re using this tree as Bonsai material, I am wondering if it has some fatal flaw that makes it unusable before I invest too much time in the tree in the picture. I know it buds back easily and can take a hard chop. The new growth is very flexible, however, once it hardens the ironwood name is no joke. I live about a mile from the ocean in Los Angeles, so the climate is similar to Santa Cruz Island, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I need to repot it but I don’t know how much root pruning it can take. Any information would be highly appreciated.

Hi @DaveH
I can’t tell you anything about this species, but from your picture it looks worth a go.
With unknown species for bonsai, I would re-pot before bud break. I go for a half way pot in good soil to aid development. Once it is happy, start getting the primary branches in place. Sounds like you will have to wire when the branches are still thin. Move it into a small pot once you start to refine.
It’s interesting how we gravitate to the exotic. I have a couple of bushes from New Zealand that I am waiting to do the same thing to.

It looks like good material to me. Might as well try. If there is no info online about it, then have fun experimenting; watch its growth and bud formation, see if it will push multiple flushes, look for where things die back and so on. I think new species that no one has worked with are interesting. I bet in just a few growing seasons you can pin point it’s habits and nauances.