Monday, June 21, 2010

Buddleja saligna

The famous Buddleja by Louis Nel of South-Africa.
Art of Bonsai BCI Award -2009

Another typical Buddleja grown from yamadori:

Buddleja saligna is an evergreen, small slender tree or shrub, 4-6 m in height in cultivation and up to 10 m high in habitat. It has got a much-branched crown with new growth almost vertically upwards. Older branches tend to droop.
The grey-brown bark on the older branches is longitudinally furrowed and young branchlets are 4 angled. The simple leaves are arranged opposite with a linear/oblong shape, olive-green above and whitish below. From a distance the tree appears grey.
Tiny white flowers occurs in dense clusters up to 5cm in diameter and the tree flowers profusely in spring, covering the tree in these bunches of flowers. The seeds are minuscule 2mm long capsules.
The heartwood is cream to dark brown, fine grained, heavy and very durable.

A typical example of a tree grown into its natural form:


Repotting is done when the tree is actively growing (In South-Africa Spring - Autumn), the best time being the warmer
time of the year. Heavy root pruning may be done as long as the top is reduced too. 

Big yamadori, even big trees take also well. Keep the transplanted trees in shade until the tree starts to grow. Collected material can be left in light shade for a full growing season.
Do let the yamadori grow freely for a while (2 years) before cutting back again. The roots do take a while to become established again.
It can grow in a variety of mixtures as long as it is free draining.

As the leaves reduce very well, the tree can be grown in any style. The tree (which is apical dominant) can even be grown in a cascade as long as the higher growth is pinched regularly. Yamadori suits themselves well for formal upright, flattop, Acacia or driftwood styles (A good idea because big wounds don't heal easily).

A few examples of the tree as bonsai:

The next pictures were taken at the Brat meeting at Kierieklapper Bonsai Kai(2014):

 This tree also belonged to Louis Nel:
It's important to note that this tree has vertical sap flow: remowing a branch close to the trunk directly under another may lead to the above branch dying. Rather remove the branch in stages. Roots feed specific branches so care must be taken when removing either.

The tree back bud easily especially after heavy pruning. Styling is mainly done by wiring and clip and grow methods. The branches and twigs are quite brittle so be careful when bending. For small wounds I only use flowers of sulfur but big wounds must be sealed to prevent the tree from drying out. The first buds on a healthy tree can be pinched after every second leave to reduce the size of the leaves. Defoliating is not necessary to reduce the leaves, but can be done to help with the ramification of the branches. Growing the tree in shade will lead to longer internodes and bigger leaves.

WATERING AND FEEDING:When actively growing the tree is quite thirsty. In spring, summer and autumn keep the tree uniformly moist. In winter the tree still needs water but just enough not to dry out. The tree responds well to organic or inorganic fertilizers.
Cultivation is by either cuttings or from seed. The seeds are very fine and should be mixed with river sand before sowing. Spread the seed/river sand mix over a 50/50 mix of river sand and compost in a container (about 10cm high). Water the seeds with a very fine mist sprayer or preferably from the bottom, by placing the seedling train in a shallow container filled with water. Due to the small size of the seeds it is difficult to estimate an accurate germination rate but 50% is feasible. Most seeds should germination within 3 to 6 weeks. The seedlings transplant well and should be planted in a 50/50 mix of river sand and compost for best results. Treat cuttings with a rooting hormone and plant into a well draining mix (river sand/compost, peat/river sand, etc). Keep moist but not soggy wet.
A growth rate of at least 70 cm per year can be expected, except maybe in severe conditions. Normal growth rate after the second year in the garden can be up to 1m per year.
Trees should be grown in full sun. They do not tolerate indoors for more than a few days(Leaves drop).
Alternative Names:
Witolien (Afrikaans)
Valsolien (Afrikaans)
Icqeba-elimhlope (Zulu)
Mothlware (Tswana)