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Tamarind Bonsai Trees

Despite the delicate looking leaves, Tamarind bonsai trees are very sturdy. They tolerate heavy pruning, extensive root manipulation, wiring and even a little neglect.

Tamarind bonsai tree created from nursery stock by Mary C MillerTamarind
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Tamarind, Tamarindus indica, trees are readily available in the tropics and make wonderful bonsai subjects.

They most often grow as an upright tree (especially from seed or as nursery stock.)

This makes it a very good subject for the formal upright style.

The tree shown here to the right was one I created from a very tall tree in a nursery container.  After literally sawing the tree in half, it took several tries to get the new perfect apex. 

Tamarindus indica is indigenous to Africa, and is widespread throughout the tropics. It is one of the most widely distributed tropical fruit trees in the world.

In some areas, the Tamarind grows wild and artists have the opportunity to collect them from nature.

In nature, it is slow growing and reaches heights of 40 to 60 feet.

The fruit or “pods” are used for seasoning everything from soups to jams.

You may be familiar with one very popular use - Worcestershire sauce.

Tamarind Attributes

tamarind bonsai tree flowers

Tamarind are flowering, fruit trees. (In all the time I had my tree, it never produced flowers.)

When they do, they are beautiful.

Every year Jim Stopfer from Long Island, New York, proudly sends me photos of his Tamarind in full bloom - seen here. 


tamarind bonsai tree rough bark

The deep furrows in the bark of Tamarind bonsai trees appear at an early age, and continue to develop with time.

The "fruit" is a brown somewhat flat, bean or pod. They most often appear on new branches.

The pods are average 3-5 inches long. If you prune your tree frequently it may not bloom or fruit.

tamarind bonsai tree flower looks like small orchid

Flowers are a little less than one inch-wide, cream colored with orange and red streaks. The buds have a vibrant pink color which falls away as it goes into full bloom.

tamarind bonsai trees, bali bonsaiTamarindus indica by Gede Merta - Bali, Indonesia

Pruning Tamarind Bonsai Trees
Leaves, Branches and Roots

Although foliage can be trimmed any time of year, spring is the best time to remove branches for bonsai styling.

New growth will need frequent pruning during summer.

Roots should be pruned during periods of warm nights - 55 degrees F (13 C) or more.


Tamarind Bonsai Tree in Puerto Rico

This yamadori Tamarind bonsai was created by Willis Panell, Puerto Rico.

The tree is 23" tall with a 26" canopy.

It has been in training since 1998 - the year it was collected.

Photo used with permission.

Few Potential Problems

Tamarind Bonsai Tree on Display in the PhilippinesTamarind Bonsai on Display in the Philippines

Aphids on new growth and powdery mildew (especially in humid environments) are possible problems.  Powdery mildew is a type of plant fungus and can easily be treated with a fungicide.  If the mildew is mild, sometimes defoliation will resolve the problem.

Over watering, can cause leaf drop as well as branch die-back.  With a coarse, fast draining bonsai soil, this should not be a problem.

Otherwise, the Tamarind is susceptible to very few pests and/or diseases.

Where to Go From Here

Even beginners have success with Tamarind bonsai trees. Perhaps I should add it to the list of Beginner Bonsai Trees

 ALSO SEE  other Types of Bonsai Trees

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