When all goes well, satsuki bonsai can produce lots of flowers in spring.
Hakurei-no-hikari – 15″
After 80% of the flowers have bloomed, it’s time to remove all remaining flowers, taking care to remove the seed pods left behind after the petals fall away (see “Removing flowers” for details).
Kinsai just past peak bloom
After removing the flowers
If the tree is healthy and has grown well in spring, the next step is to thin the tree to no more than two shoots per branch tip.
After thinning branches – 15″
This is a good time to repot satsuki that couldn’t be repotted in spring, and it’s a good time to prune and wire trees that need styling. Once the flowers come off, the clock starts ticking for this work because pruning too late into summer can inhibit bud development for the next year’s flowers.
Watering azaleas requires extra care this time of year as underwatering or overwatering azaleas can lead to a decline in health. Although azaleas generally need more water in summer, trees that have been pruned will need less frequent watering than trees that have more foliage.
When it comes to regularly turning bonsai so all sides can receive adequate sunlight, satsuki are no exception. Because azaleas can grow quickly after pruning, turning them frequently – once every 1-2 weeks – will help the trees leaf out evenly.
And if you haven’t started fertilizing your satsuki, now’s a good time as the tree will set buds for next year over summer.
Beyond that, be on the lookout for signs of infestation or fungus as new leaves are attractive to insects and foliar pathogens.
The next step in the satsuki calendar will be fall pruning when the old leaves start to turn color. Until then, enjoy any improvements you’ve made to your trees’ branch structure!
News and Updates
There’s still time to submit trees to the U.S National Bonsai Exhibition in September. The biannual event is hosted by William Valavanis in Rochester, New York and it’s the most fun – and best shopping – bonsai event of the year! Learn more at the official event website.
Although most akadama-based bonsai soils remain out of stock on the Bonsai Tonight online store, I’ve placed several orders that are scheduled to arrive this fall. I’ll provide additional updates in an upcoming post when I know more about the timing and contents of the shipments.
The Bonsai Tonight Online Store now accepts cryptocurrency! You can use Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USD Coin, among other currencies, directly on the site. Give it a try today!
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