Back to Back Issues Page
A Bad, Bad Bug and Other Undiscovered Pages
April 18, 2017

Thank You for Subscribing

If someone sent you this issue of Bonsai Banter, it's a monthly newsletter. If you like what you see, please sign up!

Subscription Form in Right Column of Home Page

If you wish to remove your name, please see the link at the bottom of this page.

A Bad, Bad Bug and
Other Undiscovered Pages

There are over 100 pages on the BonsaiMary site. A few rarely get visited. They are at least interesting, and one happens to be very important.

I've included an introduction to a few of them in this issue.

The Bad Bug

This is an important page you may have missed. Seems like I always knew what mealybugs were, but at some point I also discovered the horrible Root Mealy Bugs
I must admit, it was the hard way to discover any pest ... I had them in a bonsai.

They look similar to the common mealybug, but are different in many ways. The scary part is they are in the soil and you may not see them, unless you know to look!

Or, as in a worst case scenario ... they continue to develop on your wooden benches! Although considered primarily a "tropical pest," they can travel with a tree when it is shipped! One year, I discovered them in a Cypress bonsai in Massachusetts!
It is often ignored as insignificant or misidentified as mycorrhiza. Don't discount this serious pest!

More About Ficus Bonsai

Another page, infrequently visited is
Ficus Bonsai Trees and Desirable Characteristics

We know that sticking any plant in a bonsai pot does not make it a bonsai. Which Ficus features can make it a good bonsai?

These are roots of a huge banyan tree at the Florida winter home of Thomas Edison.

Similar roots are often attempted in bonsai. However, aerial roots are not the only distinguishing feature of Ficus bonsai.

Ficus benjamina is unlikely to throw aerial roots, however they create beautiful nebari and very attractive smooth trunks.

Below is Bradley Barlow's amazing Ficus benjamina bonsai in Australia.

Bonsai Art

The Bonsai Art page also seems to be a little overlooked on the site. It lists several bonsai artists and their "other art."

John Yoshio Naka (August 16, 1914 - May 19, 2004) was not only a bonsai artist but a fine painter.

On the Bonsai Art page there is a link to the Cheryl Manning site.

Cheryl was a close friend of John and has many photos and stories included in a slide program about him. If you knew John, you will especially enjoy it.

If you never met him, this link will give you some additional insight to his talent.

Bonsai Convention - Orlando, Florida

May 25 – 29, 2017

Florida Hotel in Orlando, Florida

Presented jointly by the American Bonsai Society and the Bonsai Societies of Florida.

Presented by the American Bonsai Society and the Bonsai Societies of Florida Click on this link for more details. 'Moving American Bonsai Forward'

A Phenomenal Japanese Garden

If photos tell anything, this recently renovated garden is just that, phenomenal.

The Portland Japanese Garden is one of the most stunning and iconic gardens outside of Japan, with its setting in a hillside forest of Doug Fir and a view of Mt. Hood." - Michael Hagedorn

The small, but exquisite, bonsai display is a rotating exhibit on loan from local bonsai artists.

BonsaiMary Gets Mail

Tom F. - Rochester, New York
I am co-editor of our bonsai society newsletter, 'Billboard' for the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York... I would like to use all or parts of the articles from your website and blog as articles for the newsletter. I love the '10 Steps to good bonsai', and 'Bonsai magic cloth'. Proper attribution, and a link to the site will be included with whatever is used in our newsletter.

Response: Anyone may reprint articles from the BonsaiMary site for educational purposes. As Tom did, please contact me and agree to proper attribution. A good place for ideas is the List of Bonsai Tree Articles

Robin - Florida, USA
" you have any experience/thoughts on jacaranda and/or tabebuia as bonsai trees "


1. Jacaranda - There are several reasons why it is not commonly used for bonsai. The leaves are large. Like many compound leaves, they look small because the leaflets are small. Another reason, many folks want to see the flowers! Jacaranda trees grown from seed can take as long as 12- 15 years to bloom. Grafted ones bloom in 2-3 years. From a bonsai viewpoint, it is also difficult to develop branches. All of this is not to say it can't be done, however finding the right pre-bonsai may be a challenge.

2. Tabebuia - There are several varieties of "Tabs." They flower pink, lavender-pink, and golden yellow. The flowers are actually larger than they may seem. Again, sorry but not easy for bonsai. Similar problems as Jacaranda developing branches. One, common in Puerto Rico, is a dwarf variety, but not as showy.
If you're looking for a great bloomer try Bougainvillea!

My advice, start with the heaviest trunk you can find (they grow new branches quickly and are easy to maintain.) Check out landscape nurseries.

Rebecca H. - Winchester, Hampshire, UK

... I have a question about making bonsai and I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.
Once my new bonsai has a good distribution of nebari (either naturally or after using a tourniquet) when can I expose them to the air and plant the tree at its final level? Will the nebari keep growing and thickening once they above the surface of the soil?

Response: Rebecca, fair question. As long as any fine roots (sometimes called feeder roots) are kept in the soil, exposing nebari is not a problem. With age, the nebari will continue to develop. Although once in the confines of a bonsai pot, it will not grow as quickly as in the ground or even a large grow pot. My advice, don't rush it!

Last month's BonsaiBanter also received lots of comments, these are just a few.
Todd from his Ipad "I loved the article about Chinese Penjing!"
- Belfast, UK Really enjoyed March issue!
Solita R.- PA, USA Thank you, always full of great tips and a fabulous read, thanks and gracias!!!!
Judy said Good blog! Enjoyed it.

Lots of folks seemed to like the headline. If you missed it, here it is again 'Breaking Bonsai Rules!'

Until Next Month

Next month I will be sharing "bonsai backyards".

If you have something special or unique about your yard or personal bonsai display, Contact Me

Before the next issue, many of you will be celebrating World Bonsai Day at your club or organization. Please send photos!

In the meantime, enjoy spring!


Mary Miller

Leave this issue of BonsaiBanter and go to Home Page

Back to Back Issues Page