I’ve always had a few smaller bonsai here and there in my collection, but one day I got the idea to see how tiny a tree (mame bonsai) I could actually make. Anyway, I found a small piece of cotoneaster, and thought it would be a good candidate, and so after some time and work, though not much sweat at all, here it is. The size is 3.5” from the soil surface. Since it has 3 distinct pads, it passes the bonsai smell test (IMHO). As small bonsai are a little easier to make, I’m guessing everyone out there has some nice ones, and thought it might be interesting to see other people’s smallest bonsai. For scale, I put a Kiyohime Japanese Maple in a pic; the maple, which is still very much in training, isn’t my largest tree (that tree is on the floor and it’s just too heavy to lift) but because I grew it from a cutting I received about 11-12 years ago, I’m kind of proud of it, and hopefully one day it will be worthy of the custom-made Ron Lang pot it’s in. Anyway, getting back to your smallest trees- post ‘em if you got ‘em! And extra brownie points if you pair it with your largest bonsai.
I’ve done small and very small bonsai off and on over the years. CUTE. Fun. Ephemeral. Usually die or grow out. One to 3 years.
I do have a 4 yo Russian (?) Elm, from seed, 5" . Technically a shohin… does need a fall trim… want maintain the tertiary branching…note the trunk deadwood. Voles had winter snack…
These are my two smallest “trees”, an olive and a portulacaria afra. Both have survived over a year in their pots so far.
Cool! That’s some wicked taper!
Gee Kurt, 1-3 yrs? That sounds a little sad. When I relocated 6 yrs. ago, this very small azalea came with me, and I had it a few years before that. I like growing small azaleas, they’re a great diversion while I’m ‘watching paint dry’ with so many other trees. Especially when they do this-
Nice azaleas, shohin size? Can’t really tell from the photos… I have never had luck with them. Never seen one HERE with small enough flowers to do a shohin.
What I was referring to was the keishi 1" and shito 2" size. REAL hard to keep them for long. Lose one or two leaves and they are dead… one hungry caterpillar can eat the whole tree.
I started focusing on clip n grow mame 6" to shohin 8". Now I have a hundred of mixed species… The local club gravitated to the 36" range… easier to keep. I have 30 ish of the larger, up to a 45" ponderosa, shore pines, and swamp cypress.
Your flowers are larger than several of the mini bonsai above.(Not to detract from their awsomeness.)
My current favorite pine… 8" 6yo from seed…
Oh, that makes sense. I can certainly see something THAT SMALL not lasting. I’d probably need another set of reading glasses, just to see the dang things at that size! I had a shore pine once, quite awhile ago when I didn’t have any info on their requirements (i.e. it didn’t survive my ignorance); it was on the small size, but had absolutely incredible bark. Kinda been looking for another one recently, but I’d like something with a thicker trunk than what I’ve seen available. The azalea in the red pot was just something someone wanted removed from a planting bed. It was around 5”-5.5” when the pics were taken. I’m trying to get it a bit smaller and denser (we’ll see how it works out.) It’s a little freakish because in bonsai cultivation its leaves reduced dramatically, and I think the red flowers reduced also, as they’re quite small (I should really talk to a bonsai azalea expert on this, as I didn’t think this was possible.) The other 3 are satsuki azaleas, and I guess when I took the pic they were all somewhere between 6.5”-8” tall, without the flowers. They’re all much denser and a little larger now. I’ve never seen the 3 of them flower at precisely the same time again, so I’m glad I took the photo. Yeah, those flowers look gigantic! An excellent satsuki azalea for shohin size, I think, is a variety called ‘Kakuo’; very small leaves and flowers, that have a nice pale pinkish (to the purple side) color. I actually have one but it’s bigger than shohin size. Takes a lot of patience to grow pines (or actually anything) from seed. Excellent work (and no opposing branches that I can see!)
Found this tiny jade clinging to life on a dying branch. Already had starter roots, too. So I gave it a new home. It’s currently my smallest bonsai.
How does one propagate azalea? Seeds or cuttings? And how can I acquire these varieties?
Azaleas are propagated through cuttings. I don’t know where you are located, but various azalea varieties can be found in local nurseries (though I’m not sure about satsukis.) A good resource also for buying plants are the facebook groups like bonsai auctions, 99 cent bonsai, and bonsai sales (this last group is good if you just ask them a question like- “where can I purchase satsuki azalea bonsai?”, and members of the group will give you names of dealers specializing in azalea bonsai.) I’m sure they will point you in the right direction. Of course you can also just go to eBay and search for satsuki azaleas there, and they’ll give you some dealers. There are a couple of high-end dealers out there that I know of, but I think they are on the expensive side, so I wouldn’t want to recommend them.
My root over rock Cotoneaster horizontalis
You can read about it’s story here