General Informaton: Chaenomeles are much beloved for bonsai because
of their tiny, lovely flowers, and in spite of their prickly thorns. Most
varieties flower before leafing out, sometimes as early as January, and
may continue to flower for a long time following. The fruit is yellow and
large, too hard to be edible, but making tolerable preserves.
Lighting: Full sun,
although partial shade in midsummer is desirable in very hot
Watering: Generous, but
avoid misting as this damages the flowers and may rot the fruit. Reduce
watering in winter, but never allow the soil to become fully
Feeding: Every two
weeks from the end of flowering until fall. Some varieties have spot
blooms throughout the season; these obviously still need to be fed when
growing actively. Use liquid bonsai fertilizer or half-strength plant
food. Proper feeding is essential for good flowering. Calcium in the soil
helps to form fruit and flowers.
Pruning and wiring:
Fruiting and flowering can sap the plant's energy dramatically, so it is
wise to limit the amount by picking off developing fruit and flower buds,
especially in young bonsai. Flowering quince likes to sucker from the
roots. Suckers should be removed if a thich trunk is desired; however,
thick trunks can be difficult to achieve, especially in some popular C.
japonica cultivars such as 'Chojubai.' These plants are most often grown
in clump style. Some species may need to be cut back hard to encourage
branch formation. New shoots should be cut back to 1-2 leaves after 5-7
leaves have formed, which may be as often as every two weeks in a vigorous
plant. Chaenomeles can be wired from spring through the end of summer,
leaving the wire on for up to four months, and can be repeated
seeds, which need to be cold-treated before sowing in spring, but will
germinate rapidly. Softwood cuttings may be taken in summer,or hardwood
cuttings in winter, but cuttings will root slowly. Clumps may be
propigated through division. Named hybrids are often propigated through
is one of the few species which prefers to be repotted in autumn, but can
also be transplanted in early spring, or even summer if the top is
properly cut back. The books recommend repotting every 2-4 years, But
Brent has found that (at least in the California sun!) they may need
yearly repotting. Use rich but well-drained soil. Roots can be cut back by
about half if necessary.
Some species suitable for bonsai:
- Chaenomeles 'Cameo' - peach-colored flowers.
- Chaenomeles cathayensis - Hardy to zone 6, with
pink or white flowers.
- Chaenomeles 'Hime' - Has bright red flowers with
- Chaenomeles 'Iwai Nishiki' - has 2 inch, bright red
double-flowered blooms that form in clusters.
- Chaenomeles 'Kurokoji' - the cultivar with the
darkest red flowers, almost like velvet.
- Chaenomeles japonica (also called C.maulei): Maul's
flowering quince, Japanese flowering quince, Japanese quince - a very
popular bonsai, the original varieties have red, salmon or orange
flowers. Grows to three feet tall. Hardy in zones 5-8.
- Chaenomeles japonica 'Chojubai': Chojubai
- Chaenomeles 'Orange Delight' - This cultivar, with
its orange flowers, pale leaves and low-growing habit, is a sure-fire
- Chaenomeles 'O Yashima' - forms huge fruit.
- Chaenomeles speciosa 'Nivalis': white flowering
- Chaenomeles speciosa 'Rosea Plena'.
- Chaenomeles speciosa 'Toyo Nishiki' - Its
outstanding feature is that it may bear red, white and pink flowers all
on the same plant. Not all plants bear red flowers, and a plant may not
have red flowers every spring. Murata claims that only plants of 50
years or older have red flowers. This would not explain lack of red
flowers on a previously red plant. Strangely, grafts and cuttings made
from old plants usually don't have red flowers for a few years.
- Chaenomeles x superba - a hybrid between C.
lagenaria and C. japonica.
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