Tamarind bonsai trees give the appearance of age, even as young trees. They're especially noted for the delicate leaves and deep, rough, furrowed bark. Despite the delicate looking leaves, the Tamarind is very sturdy. They tolerate heavy pruning, extensive root manipulation, wiring and even a little neglect.
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 was created from a tall tree in a nursery container. After literally sawing the tree in half, it took several tries to get the new perfect apex.
are readily available as fruit trees in the tropics. In some areas,
the Tamarind grows wild and artists have the opportunity to collect them.
It most often grows as an upright tree (especially from seed or as nursery stock.) This makes it a very good subject for the formal upright style. However, as you can see from other photos on this page, some are perfect for other styles.
Although it grows in many areas of the tropical world, Tamarindus indica is indigenous to Africa. It is one of the most widely distributed tropical fruit trees in the world.
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.
Every year Jim Stopfer from Long Island, New York, proudly sends me photos of his Tamarind in full bloom. Amazing!
The fragrant flowers resemble small orchids!
The new buds have a vibrant pink color which falls away as it goes into full bloom. They are about one inch-wide, cream colored with orange and red streaks.
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, (plump when ripe) bean or pod. They most often appear on new branches. The pods are average 5 inches long.
If you prune your tree too frequently, it may not bloom or fruit.
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.
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.
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.
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