In the beginning, I called the tropical mimosa bonsai "little toys." I knew they were fast bonsai from seeds (and fun to play with.) However, I didn’t really see much future in them as traditional bonsai. Over time, as some of these “little toys” developed, I realized that indeed they did have a future.
After The Bonsai Bench nursery closed, we found there were way too many mimosa bonsai. From time to time, we would put one in the local club auction. This is a story of what happened next to just one of them.
Ben Liss, a member of the Gold Coast Bonsai Society of Ft. Lauderdale, FL took one of those auctioned mimosa bonsai home.
When I saw what he had accomplished, I asked him to share his story and photos with us.
I first acquired this tree at the Miami Bonsai Society Auction,
No major cutting, just some trimming/cut back has been done in this early photo.
I knew it had some problems and I continued to study it.
I thought maybe a change of pot would help.
I repotted the bonsai into this dragon pot in the spring of 2008.
(The leaves are closed-up in this picture ... photo taken at night.)
The rock almost concealed the reverse taper and poor rootage.
But I decided to remove the rock and address the actual problems.
The best answer seemed to be to create an air layer.
I cut a ring around the trunk at the fattest part of the reverse taper and removed the bark with a sharp grafting knife.
After cutting the ring and scraping the cambium, I used wire and a sheet of plastic to wrap around the tree.
I filled the plastic with a good amount of sphagnum moss and then tied another wire around the top above the cut mark. I left it a little loose on top so water could seep down into the moss.
I started to see some roots poking through the moss in about 6 to 8 weeks. This is a close-up of how they looked.
I wanted to be sure so, I waited another few weeks before I took the plastic off, and made the cut just below the mass of sphagnum and roots.
When I removed the air layer, I also trimmed some branches and foliage.
I potted the newly shaped bonsai in a mica training pot and let the roots continue to develop.
Here it is exhibited in February 2014. True to his word, Ben kept it as a shohin.