Bonsai tree care can never be ignored, but some plants need a little more care than others.
Nashia inaguensis is commonly known as Bahama Berry. It is a tropical plant with excellent potential as a small bonsai. Bonsai tree care can never be ignored, but some plants need a little more care than others.
The trunk acquires an almost fluted, old looking appearance very quickly. Rootage at ground level is consistently abundant and adds to the aged appearance.
It does not develop a trunk very quickly in a small container. For best results grow it in a larger container for girth development first.
The fast growing angular development is ideal for training in the "clip-and-grow" manner. Wire can be used to add movement to the otherwise linear branches.
The mature plant has very hard wood. When removing an unwanted branch, consider breaking it and cautiously tearing a shari (lightning strike) rather than using a concave cutter. The result is very natural looking.
During the growing season development is rampant; sprouts appear
on the trunk as well as on branches. To keep an established Bahama
Berry bonsai looking good ... prune, prune, prune.
Nashia is a true tropical, not a sub-tropical plant. It demands sun, heat, humidity, water and good air circulation.
Meeting these bonsai tree care needs can paradoxically create a bit of a problem. Full sun and good air circulation, where it is most happy, can also cause this plant to dry out very quickly; primarily because the roots are so prolific. In the tropics, these roots often fill a bonsai container in less than one growing season.
This plant does not recover well (if at all) from drying out. If you see the beginnings of wilt, drench it immediately. Do not keep it sitting in water.
Nashia does not like to be soaking wet all of the time either!
Although the Bahama Berry insists on being consistently moist, drainage is very important.
It seems to grow easily in most soil mixes, but prefers some organic. Whichever soil you use, watch the watering! Remember ... “I Dry, I Die”.
Use an all purpose soluble fertilizer weekly (spring through
fall). During cooler seasons, once a month will be ample. If you use
time release, let the tree rest in winter.
When given proper bonsai tree care for this plant (in the sun or high light), Nashia rarely has pests.
Another peculiar pest called pit scale (Asterolecanium) also shows up from time to time.
A sucking insect, this scale attaches itself and literally sucks a 'pit' in the stem.
In serious infestations, Asterolecanium can weaken a branch to the point it may break off when touched.
Damage from this ‘pit scale’ can be extensive.
Catch it early!
Fortunately, unlike mealybugs and mites, it is doubtful this
scale will spread to your other plants. It has very selective taste.
A routine check under the leaves and branches is critical for both pests.
Insecticidal sprays with pyrethrins have been used on Nashia
for both problems with good results. Always test any chemical on a
small area first as part of your bonsai tree care maintenance.
As the bark ages on this plant, it can become black from accumulated dirt and algae. Pressure from the spray of a garden hose will easily remove it; or use a soft toothbrush with soap and water.
Although frequently used to clean plants, DO NOT use vinegar on the Bahama Berry.
In South Florida, Nashia is root pruned mid-April through mid-August.
(In cooler areas wait until the nights are warm.) During this period of warm nights severe root pruning is possible with no harmful consequences.
Because of the intense root system, it is common to slice the roots with a small saw or an old kitchen knife rather than comb them out in the traditional manner.
Root pruning too late, too early or during winter is likely to cause its demise. This same timing is reliable for propagation.
Air layers and cuttings taken in the spring and early summer are much more likely to survive. As part of your regular bonsai tree care, inspect the eager roots of this plant at least once a year.
The size and proportion of Nashia leaves, flowers and fruit make it ideal for shohin (small bonsai). As a taller plant the trunk often lends itself exquisitely to literati.
Because of its stiffness, cascade and windswept are unlikely styles.
First time Nashia growers should consider a deeper than usual pot. Once you have experienced the growth rate and its watering needs, you may reconsider your choice of a container.
Bahama Berry is not the best of indoor bonsai subjects.
However, if you are not in a tropical climate, it will need to go indoors in winter. See more about bonsai tree care indoors.
If the Bahama Berry does not receive the light it needs, the leaves do not increase greatly. The big problem will be etiolation (leggy growth). Once the new growth has stretched, you will lose the denseness which makes the plant so appealing.
High light will help keep this bonsai growth compact and attractive.
Want to tell us about your Bahama Berry or see other visitor's Nashia inaguensis trees? Go to the "bragging" page,
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