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Podocarpus Bonsai Trees

The Podocaprus is an evergreen tree with stiff, thick foliage similar to Yew trees and an upright growth habit. The most commonly found species used in bonsai is Podocarpus Macrophylla.

In the wild it forms a stately tree commonly around forty feet high but with the capacity to get taller than this. When growing in full sun the foliage is very dense though it also grow in shaded positions.

It si found throughout Japan, China and other parts of eastern Asia.

In bonsai it is most frequently found in the informal upright style and in small groups. It also lends itself to formal upright, slanting, semi-cascade, twin-trunk, triple-truck and clasped to rock.

With care it can be kept indoors and is there a popular choice for bonsai in the UK.

Location

Can be grown indoors, though this is one of the more difficult species to keep inside. A bright position is important but the tree doesn’t like the dryness of the air, and will easily dry out resulting in crispy, dehydrated foliage. A normal room or office are probably best avoided.

A conservatory or bright porch is suitable from autumn to spring. It would be wise to get this bonsai outside though once the frosty weather ceases.

Outdoors, the tree grows in full sun, with light shade perhaps in summer, and frost protection in winter.

Watering

Prefers moist soil. It is important that this is well drained, it does not want to sit in a pool of water. It is also important to mist spray the tree with water on a daily basis.

Pruning

The tree extends shoots of lighter green foliage when growing. These can be cut or pinched back to a few new leaves after first being allowed to extend for 7 to 10cm. This will encourage back-budding along the branches and therefore tighter growth. Old, yellow leaves can be removed to keep the tree looking fresh. Branches can we wired with ease. Older trees can be brittle so care is required.

Repotting

Podocarpus grow slowly and repotting is required only about every 3-4 years, Used a general bonsai soil mix. Do not remove a large amount of roots in one go, only about 10-20% of the root mass.

Feeding

Feed once a month from spring to autumn. The tree also benefits from an application of chelated iron once or twice a year.