After blooming care of a Satsuki azalea, ‘Kinsai’

The show was spectacular this year. Here are a few shots in full bloom.

As the flowers begin to fade, it is time to remove them. Before they’re removed, it is important to identify shoots that produce the wider petal flowers. They can become dominant and take over the tree. The appeal of Kinsai is the thin petal flowers, so they need to be protected. Shoots with wide petals won’t revert back to thin petals, so now is the time to find them and remove them:

Fat flowers
After removing fat flowers, and before starting to remove the rest.
Obligatory halfway done shot
Last of the flowers removed.
The tree is fed heavily with fertilizer cakes, and drenched with fish emulsion.

This work was completed on May 21. It will be fed heavily, and left to rest for 10 days, and then pruned back.

So, on May 31, here is the tree, beginning to grow again:

And here it is, pruned back pretty hard. The goal is to keep the tree “young”, always replacing some aging branches with new shoots. To do this, it requires some aggressive pruning, which makes the tree look rough for a while:

But, azaleas grow fast, and by the end of July, it was nearly full again. Here is the result, and how the tree will spend the rest of the year:


Last night, in the midst of a heat wave, our neighborhood was hit with “all the things” as my daughter put it. 95 degrees, high winds, rain, dime-sized hail, sultry sunshine, all with a rainbow in the Southeast sky. We had numerous trees down, including two blocking the entrance to our neighborhood, and several others that knocked out power to parts of our area. We were spared, but still suffered a little tree damage. Koyo fans, avert your eyes.

The next morning, I brought it in to replace the pot. Bear in mind, here is our forecast.

I removed the pot, incidentally, the first Koyo pot I bought, first nice shohin pot, and the first pot I bought from Ryan Bell the first time I met the man back around 2011. not to mention, I really liked the pot.

Clearly no way of repairing the pot, I will keep the big pieces and try to think of something clever to make from it one day. For now, on to new pots. I tried this Bunzan pot, a Tofukuji tribute.

It was slightly too small, and I wanted to give it plenty of opportunity to survive in the heat wave, so into another Koyo it goes.

And the money shot…

Ficus Nerifolia

My lone tropical specimen, this ficus nerifolia was slow to wake up this year, and part of the reason could be that it was pot-bound. I think it had been in this pot for 3 years. These trees are nearly epiphytes, but still it seemed it was time to repot.

A couple options

Yamafusa, slightly large.
Koyo, maybe too small.

It took some effort to free the tree from the pot…

Roots combed out
A little root pruning
I went with this Yamafusa, 17.5” wide, significantly more room than the previous pot. The fat trunk and broad canopy can carry the size, even though the tree is short. This was my first Tokoname pot, and also was used with my Japanese maple in the 3rd US National Bonsai Exhibition in 2012.
Settled in

Now that it’s repotted and settled in, it’s time for a little wire to orient the tree to its more inclined potting position.

A few outer shoots removed, and the lower left branch wired…good to go.