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A Tropical Mimosa
Bonsai Story

In the beginning, I called the tropical mimosa bonsai little toys. I knew they were fast bonsai from seeds (and fun to play with). However, I didn’t really see much future in them as traditional bonsai.

Over time, as some of these “little toys” developed, I realized that indeed they did have a future.

After The Bonsai Bench nursery closed, we found there were way too many mimosa bonsai.  From time to time, we would put one in the local club auction. 

This is a story of what happened next to just one of them.

Ben Liss, a member of the Gold Coast Bonsai Society of Ft. Lauderdale, FL took one of those auctioned mimosa bonsai home.  

When I saw what he had accomplished, I asked him to share his story and photos with us. 

A Tropical Mimosa Bonsai
In Ben's Words and Photos

tropical mimosa bonsai, air layer, mimosa bonsa


I first acquired this tree at the Miami Bonsai Society Auction, December 2007. 

No major cutting, just some trimming/cut back has been done in this early photo.

I knew it had some problems and I continued to study it.




tropical mimosa bonsai, mimosa, air layer


I thought maybe a change of pot would help.

I repotted the bonsai into this dragon pot in the spring of 2008.

(The leaves are closed-up in this picture ... photo taken at night.)


tropical mimosa bonsai, mimosa bonsai, air layer


The rock almost concealed the reverse taper and poor rootage.

But I decided to remove the rock and address the actual problems.



tropical mimosa bonsai, bonsai tree, air layer


The best answer seemed to be to create an air layer.

I cut a ring around the trunk at the fattest part of the reverse taper and removed the bark with a sharp grafting knife.



tropical mimosa bonsai, bonsai tree, air layer

After cutting the ring and scraping the cambium, I used wire and a sheet of plastic to wrap around the tree.

I filled the plastic with a good amount of sphagnum moss and then tied another wire around the top above the cut mark. I left it a little loose on top so water could seep down into the moss.


tropical mimosa bonsai, air layer, bonsai tree


I started to see some roots poking through the moss in about 6 to 8 weeks. This is a close-up of how they looked.

I wanted to be sure so, I waited another few weeks before I took the plastic off, and made the cut just below the mass of sphagnum and roots.


tropical mimosa bonsai, air layer


When I removed the air layer, I also trimmed some branches and foliage.

I potted the newly shaped bonsai in a mica training pot and let the roots continue to develop.





Spring 2010, I repotted the tree again into a ceramic bonsai pot:

It 's still a little over potted, as I am still developing the roots/tree.

My intention is to keep it a nice little shohin."






Tropical Mimosa Bonsai Revisited

tropical mimosa bonsaiTropical Mimosa Bonsai

Here it is exhibited in February 2014. 

True to his word, Ben kept it as a shohin.

Where to Go From Here

There are many more types of plants good for bonsai, see Types of Bonsai

or return to the Tropical Mimosa Bonsai introductory page.





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