2018 September Monday – Flowering Bonsai – Mike Simonetto

The BSV had a capacity crowd attending the September Meeting and they brought with them a wide variety of magnificent flowering bonsai.

A colour explosion
A colour explosion

Mike Simonetto was invited to share his vast knowledge and experience growing flowering bonsai and members were looking forward to his talk.

Mike shared his experience and observations covering the various growing issues and an extensive range of species suitable for bonsai.  Too much for this post but a sample of his comments are included below.

  • Propagation
    • Mike has found most seeds for these types of trees germinate better with stratification.
    • Cuttings can develop better with bottom heating and misting.
    • Wire tourniquet is preferred for layering and later in the Spring to Summer period is preferred.
  • pH – it is helpful to understand the pH of your preferred soil mix as it can be relevant to particular species and availability of nutrients to your trees.
  • Light is very important at every stage of growing.  Flowers depend on it, growth is more compact and it reduces pests.
  • Always plant trees at an angle after root pruning to set up the tree for a future bonsai.  Initially bury the roots deeper to aid their development.
  • Fertilisers – a mixture of controlled release, organic and liquid can deliver best outcomes.  Mike does not believe extra phosphorus is required for flowers.  Similarly, too much nitrogen can delay flowering and reduce their life.  Best NPK ratios for flowering bonsai is considered to be 1, 0.2, 0.8.
  • Watering – essential that trees in flower never lack water as they use more water than normal during this period.
  • Planting in pots can be easier to work with and it provides more control over the roots but growth is slower and watering is more critical.
  • Planting in the ground can provide much faster growth, roots and branches are much coarser but you need to dig every year and it is hard work.
  • When developing trees, don’t allow flowers or fruit to develop to encourage stronger development.
  • Finally, keep your trees moving forward and don’t let them stagnate.  Repot and fertilise.

Mike also provided comments on a wide variety of species and their particular characteristics.  For example, some native plants are susceptible to phosphorus toxicity, some varieties need both male and female plants to germinate for fruit and sterile tools will be required when working on fungus susceptible varieties.

Following the presentation, Mike also answered questions and was warmly thanked by the BSV President.

President Victor thanking Mike
President Victor thanking Mike

Continue reading 2018 September Monday – Flowering Bonsai – Mike Simonetto

2018 BSV September Saturday Program

With longer days and warmer weather, our trees are slowly entering the spring growth phase and generating much work for bonsai enthusiasts.  Unfortunately, the weeds are also strongly responding to these changes generating even more work.

BSV Members met at our normal venue to work on their trees and seek advice and guidance from other members; and to have a chat and catch up.  Repotting, re-styling and trimming activities were the main focus.  A very productive afternoon was had by all.

Photos of many of these activities are included below.

Norway Spruce
Norway Spruce
Elm branch development.
Elm branch development.
Red Pine trim
Red Pine trim


This old Liquidamber received treatment on the top and the bottom.

Liquidamber styling
Liquidamber styling
Liquidamber - removing a root issue.
Liquidamber – removing a root issue.


See the before and after photos of this Juniper which are designed to improve the trunk taper.

Juniper - before
Juniper – before
Juniper - after
Juniper – after
Fig - After repotting and styling adjustment
Fig – After repotting and styling adjustment
Group Planting tidy up.
Group Planting tidy up.