Monday, August 30, 2010

Scented pelargoniums bonsai styles

Pelargonium bonsai - Mexican Sage

Did I tell you how much I love scented pelargoniums?
If you read this blog before, you should know by now that I'm crazy about scented pelargoniums. Also I love bonsai art and so, training them as bonsai is a perfect fit; for me at least.

Pelargonium Capitatum bonsai - Attar-of-RosesEdible, fragrant, very useful, showy, flowering, drought resistant, little care and very forgiving ...

Pelargonium bonsai - Skeleton Rose

... what else do you want from your bonsai ?!

Pelargonium bonsai - Shrubland Rose

Most geraniums are what botanists call semi-woody shrubs and there are hundreds of varieties in leaf color, texture, fragrance, and flowering from which you can choose your pre-bonsai. So far I have only 15 types in my collection.

Pelargonium bonsai - Shrubland Rose

I started with our oldest and largest plants, because have well developed branches and trunks architectures, and even after first trimming, they look beautiful, with spectacular bonsai shape. There are many herbs which develop a woody stem at quite a young age and are easy to obtain and scented pelargoniums are one of them.

Interesting is that pelargoniums have a fast growing rate and require frequent trimming and removing  the old leaves.


Every time you prune it, you can eat the trimmings! Try doing that with any other kind of bonsai!

Pelargonium bonsai - Atomic Snowflake

Training scented pelargoniums as bonsai enhance the beauty of the plants.
A really showy bonsai which makes envy my friends are rose scented :
- "Lady Plymouth" / "Silver Leaf Rose" with gray -green edges for their deeply divided leaves;
- "Atomic Snowflake" with softly lobed leaves white-cream variegated;
- "Attar-of-Roses" / "Pelargonium Capitatum/ Drusaim" with roundish leaf shape and shallow, rounded lobes;
- "Skeleton Rose" / "Pelargonium Radens" with tiny curly leaves and upright habit.

Pelargonium Capitatum bonsai, Attar-of-Roses, Drusaim, Wildemalva

We tried to shape these Scented Pelargonium plants with couple of common bonsai styles that are works with:

Pelargonium Radens bonsai, Skeleton RoseSOKAN/ Double-trunk, SANKAN/ triple-trunk and multiple-trunk because usually old plants have suitable shoots and we can simply trim the trunk above these shoots and remove any crossing branches and the branches growing toward to the viewer.

Pelargonium bonsai, Shrubland Rose

For one of our vigorous plant, "Shrubland Rose", with a well-developed root structure, we chose NEAGARI / exposed root style. This beautiful mature plant has suitable roots with amazing shapes to be exposed.

Pelargonium bonsai, Mexican SageThe most spectacular one is ISHITZUKI / Root-over-rocks style. For the beginning, for this "Mexican Sage" plant we deeper the edges of the rock into the soil  to cover its roots tips  until further development.
Apricot-scented "Mexican Sage" also, seems to be suitable for YOSE-UE style (two or more trees in one container), with his dark green leaves stiffed with five major lobes and gently woody stem. 

Pelargonium bonsai, Shrubland Rose

Most woody plants natural follow a TACHIKI / informal upright style, where the trunk  is straight upwards, with the first lower branches wider than the rest and the next branches are slightly narrower than the first. Theoretical, best is when achieve an overall triangular appearance for the bonsai.
Flowering Pelargonium Bonsai, Frensham Lemon Variety
The plants that lend themselves to this style are the lemon scented and apricot scented varieties.

"Frensham Lemon" variety is one of the best to train in CHOKKAN / formal upright style because have an upright look with small, brights green leaves. For age impression, we pruned off little branches and leaves close to the trunk and carved the bottom third of the trunk.

Flowering Pelargonium Capitatum Bonsai, Attar-of-Roses Variety

Flowering Pelargonium Bonsai, Skeleton Rose VarietyLike any other bonsai enthusiast, we tried to fit all plants into classical bonsai, but for the majority of our plants we were forced to choose a non-traditional bonsai shape, paying attentions to plants structure.

Whatever form they have, while I'm working to "101 ways to use scented pelargoniums", we love to touch, smell, taste and look at these edible flowering bonsai and enjoy their ornamental value, outdoor or  indoor, as a unique addition to our home.

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Leigh said...

That's the perfect kind of bonsai. Plus (I'm thinking of how I might botch it), if it grows quickly, any unsightly cuts won't last too long.

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