Powder Puff bonsai is one of the showiest of tropicals. They bloom frequently and are often used for indoor bonsai!
Calliandra consists of 150 plus species of shrubs and trees which can be found throughout tropical regions of the Americas, Asia and Madagascar.
In the landscape they are primarily grown for their showy inflorescence.
The actual "flowers" are very small, however the brightly colored stamen make them appear larger.
(Long stamens and pistils shoot out from a tiny calyx). The length of the stamens varies from species to species.
|The Calliandra flower "buds" look like a cluster of small berries.||You will often find bees attracted to your powder puff bonsai.||Seeds in the Leguminosae family are bean-like pods.|
As young trees, the trunk can be bent and shaped easily. Older trees are more difficult to bend and are usually styled as upright bonsai. Most species have flexible branches and take well to wiring.
New foliage breaks on old wood, therefore severe pruning responds nicely. Frequent foliage trimming, any time of year, encourages more compact foliage
A full canopy style may display the flowers to their best advantage.
(This is a 1980 photo of Joe Samuels and his amazing powder puff bonsai.)
Calliandra trunk sizes vary from species to species as do the flowers.
Start with a flexible enough branches and a cascading shower of pink (or red) is possible.
Flat, brown seed pods form after the blooms are spent.
The major bonsai 'fault' of the haematocephala variety is the trunk rarely attains great thickness. Even many of the aged Calliandra specimens in the landscape have relatively small trunks.
C. schultzei is an exception to the slow growing trunk notation!
This variety grows so quickly, it is likely to become root bound
in a season. It will need additional water as the roots begin to fill
This Calliandra bonsai (aka Rose Cascade) was growing in the ground at my nursery in Miami.
It was one of those things I kept planning to dig up. When I offered it to Erik Wigert, he didn't hesitate!
He has created a masterpiece from a rangy wild plant.
To read about powder puff bonsai care, propagation, pests and diseases go to the More about Powder Puff (including care) page.
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