Rhododendron as bonsai - obtusum, ramapo, cuningham, viscosum

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The Rhododendron Bonsai is an evergreen shrub available in numerous flower colors. In Japan, the bonsai enjoys great reputation. Of the Rhododendron japonica is there as a symbol of spring.
Azaleas prefer bright locations, but should be protected from direct sunlight. In autumn, the flower buds form, after which time the plants need a rest period of about two months. For young plants, a soil mixture of 50 percent white peat is recommended, for the older Bonsai a mixture of Kanuma, lava granulate and coarse sand. They must be kept moist all the time, but tolerate no waterlogging and calcareous water. During the flowering period, the water requirement is particularly high.
Rhododendrons as potted plants
  • Of the Rhododendron optusum is a dull-leaved Japanese azalea. In winter optusum loses some of its leaves. The flowering is so abundant that you can barely see the foliage during this time. The plant is ideal as a container plant, as optusum grows very slowly and remains small.Rhododendron ramapo is a dwarf rhododendron with pale purple inflorescence. It grows very dense, its foliage is small-leaved and silver-blue-frosted, thus ramapo looks very attractive. Ideal locations are stone and heath gardens. The shrubs reach a height of 60 cm and are absolutely hardy. They are easy to clean and undemanding.
  • Rhododendron cuningham is a large-flowered, white-flowering alpenrose. The foliage of the cuningham shines dark green. The shrub is ideal as an evergreen hedge plant, for moorland, rhododendron gardens, borders, perennials and woody gardens. Its location should be sunny to partially shaded, the soil is nutrient-rich and permeable.
  • Of the Rhododendron viscosum smells very strong, pleasant sweetish. The flowers of the viscosum are white to pale pink and very fine. Viscosum flowers very late, from mid-July. Rhododendron viscosum is one of the most beautiful ornamental shrubs.
The incredible biodiversity of rhododendrons
If you are confused, because rhododendrons, azaleas and then alpine roses have been mentioned here, they are always rhododendrons, which are their own genus of plants in the family of ericaceae, in German of the heather plants, form. These include the azaleas, with this name are referred to various varieties belonging to the genus Rhododendron. These include deciduous species and particularly small-leaved evergreen shrubs. The alpine roses are a subspecies of the rhododendrons, so are quite small rhododendrons called, which are at home in the Alps.
Deeper is here not to enter the system, this is more of a topic that can specialize in a botanist, and the terms are neither uniform nor easy to see through. The term rhododendron is z. For example, the Greek term for "rose tree", which was used until the 17th century for the oleander, which according to today's classification does not even belong to the heather family.


Only the famous biology-systematist Carl von Linné has transferred this name to this genus of heather plants. In any case, the genus of rhododendrons is not exactly small. These shrubs have spread across the planet in an incredible number of varieties. They have a total selection of about 1,000 species, which form a lot of variety groups and unbelievable many varieties, since most species are intercrossable, there is hardly any more exact number to name.
So you can do much more with the rhododendrons than cultivate bonsai from them, above were already the Cunningham rhododendrons and the Rhododendron viscosum called, both popular varieties for the garden, which can reach quite a bit of size in free growth, but by cutting can be braked in any desired height.
The bonsai under the rhododendrons are mostly azaleas
To return to the bonsai: Most rhododendron bonsai are drawn from the subspecies of azaleas, and from the azaleas that have their home in China, Japan or Korea. This is not only due to the fact that the bonsai culture also comes from these countries, but these azaleas are also very suitable for forming as a miniature tree: they have very small and often quite leathery leaves, which survive in large parts winter (semi-evergreen), so they can be well designed by cutting.
As varieties for the cultivation of bonsai are particularly well the already mentioned Rhododendron obtusum, the Rhododendron indicum and the Rhododendron kaempferi, Occasionally, you may purchase a rhododendron of any of the varieties other than bonsai, such as: B. the Rhododendron ramapoand also some other species can be kept quite small.
Basic needs of rhododendron bonsai and azalea bonsai
Together, the rhododendron has the basic care needs with the azaleas:
  • Both would like to be in the garden in the summer, from the middle / end of May until the onset of frost, preferably at a location in the semi-shade.
  • In the winter they are allowed to move into the house, in a bright room, but should not get higher than about 12 degrees, and from the heating you should keep the bonsai anyway.
  • At the beginning of the year, the bonsai can then be slowly prepared for the move to the open, with a temperature adjustment up to 22 degrees.
  • Then the buds start to swell. The small trees will then usually bloom before they move outdoors.
As indicated above, both values ​​value the right soil, and that is above all an earth with the correct, slightly acidic pH around 5.0. For the environmentally conscious gardeners who do not want to use peat anymore, there are a number of materials that they can use to mix a good soil with the rhododendron bonsai:
  • The Kanuma, a Japanese bonsai soil that consists of minerals and with its acidity is well suited for azaleas and other rhododendron plants has already been mentioned.
  • Also popular with Japanese bonsai breeders is the Akadama soil, the "red-ball-earth", a mineral granulate that is partly made from volcanic ash.
  • Also from Japan comes the Kiryuerde, also a Vulkankies granules, also of red color. However, as these Japanese specialty substrates decompose into clay, which then becomes quite impervious to water, many bonsai gardeners mix their own substrate,...
  • ... made of lava or pumice stone, zeolite or broken brick, expanded clay or similar granules, perhaps with the addition of diatomaceous earth to adjust the pH.
The topic of "Cultivation Substrate" will be one of the topics that you should study more thoroughly if you want to get a rhododendron bonsai, the other is of course the cut care of the bonsai. Let me just say that rhododendron and azalea bonsai make many of the classic cuts possible, so with these varieties you are well equipped if you want to try several cuts in parallel and compare the effect.
More flowering bonsai
If you then contact the Japanese Azaleas, the Rhododendron japonicum or. Rhododendron indicumIf the beginner plants among the flowering bonsai have gained enough experience, they can still try one of a whole lot of other, flourishing bonsai:
  • Banknotes (Chaenomeles speciosa) and love pearl bushes (Callicarpa japonica),
  • Pfaffenhütchen (Euonymus europaeus) and honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica),
  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum) and apricot (Prunus mume),
  • Ornamental apple (Malus Everest) and quince (Cydonia oblonga),
  • Wisteria (Wisteria), Wing-spindle shrub (Euonymus alatus),
  • Yellow finger shrub (Potentilla fruticosa) and cotoneaster (Cotoneaster)
All can be pulled as bonsai, and all bloom when well cared for.

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