Opercularia Decaryi

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by jeanneaxler, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. jeanneaxler

    jeanneaxler Active Member

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    I fell in love with the cutest bonsai tree (at this time) called opercularia decaryi .
    I looked it up on the internet and found out it is also, possibly, an ornamental Japanese pepper tree from Madagascar.
    Can I let it grow into a small tree (2-3 feet) and keep it there?
    I seem to be "ok" with a lot or little water, with a lot or little sun, with humid or dry conditions. What is it happiest with?
    Can I hang little weights on its branches to keep them horizontal?
    It is now obvious that I know nothing about caring for a bonsai and would greatly appreciate any help I can get.
    I am not even sure it belongs in this forum.
     
  2. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms/subs/ope-dec-sub.asp This web link should help.

    One thing about bonsai, you can often make the tree whatever size you want (within reason). As a general rule, the larger the tree, the more the natural shape/growth pattern of the tree will have. Personally, I really enjoy the larger trees. I also realize that some folks have limited space.

    I am working on a Delonix decaryi and a Ceiba insignis. Both are pachycaul plants, like your Opercularia. Right now, my goal is to get the trunk and roots as fat as possible, so I am using a larger container and pinching back the foliage to induce more branching.

    Opercularia decaryi is an arid-climate, pachycaul plant. The fat trunk that it will eventually develop is used to store water to survive drought. One of potential problems with many bonsai is that they need frequent water. Your Opercularia will tolerate dry spells more than many other plants, so your chances of long-term success may be improved.

    If you do some research on succulent, caudiciform, and/or pachycaul tree bonsai. You will find that this is a relatively new type of bonsai. Often it isn't recognized for awards at shows, as often it does not fall within the confines of traditional Asian bonsai. Personally, I really enjoy it.

    You can direct growth and shape your plant as you please (following tried and true bonsai techniques).

    Mark

    P.S. If you have any other issues, you can ask questions in the Caudiciform and Pachycaul plant forum.
     
  3. jeanneaxler

    jeanneaxler Active Member

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    Markinwestmich, thank you so much.
    This is wonderful information. I have become very attached to my little tree.
    I would like it a big bigger. I didn't know about fat trunk and root. Mine is skinny all over.
     
  4. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    It may take a few years before it starts to fatten up. In the late Spring, just as you notice the new growth coming in, you can prune it pretty hard. If you want to control height, this often means pruning the main trunk, allowing the secondary branch(es) along the trunk to become the main(s). Give the roots plenty of room in a large container or raised bed. The soil mix should be very well-draining and granular. Water it well during it's summer growing period, then treat it like a cactus during the winter, only watering when dry. The trick with pachycaul trees is to get the trunk to fatten up quickly, by pruning hard once a year and allowing for as much root development as possible. At some point it will reach the proportions you want, then you can begin training and shaping in a smaller container, as you would with any other bonsai.
     
  5. jeanneaxler

    jeanneaxler Active Member

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    Thanks markinwestmich, I will follow your instructions.
    By the way I went on the forum on Caudiciforms and Pachycaul trees after reading your post and .. well...wow! I am impressed. I am not entirely sure I can appreciate the beauty but I find it fascinating.
    Thanks again.
     
  6. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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  7. jeanneaxler

    jeanneaxler Active Member

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    Thanks. It is impressive.
    How long does it take to get that size?
     

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