Hawaiian - Keeping a Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai compact - Question

Posted on 13 May 04:28

Nancy:
Quick question. The Umbrella Bonsai has sprouted some new, light green, rather delicate new growth. Should I remove this growth if my intention is to keep the plant compact? Also, is it safe to remove other branches and/or leaves to "shape" the tree if desired?
Thanks
Pruning:
Yes you can remove new growth to maintain the compact shape.
HOWEVER keep in mind you need to leave about 1/3 of the new growth or buds to maintain a healthy tree. If you want to encourage branching, then pinch off the end tips of the stems.
One technique to maintain small leaves and compact growth is to remove all the leaves, each spring; new growth will be smaller.
Another technique is to pruning off the larger leaves; then keeping the tree bright light.  Bright Light stunts leaf growth in this type of shade loving plant.
Since your tree is a root over rock style, you also want to trim any small root-lets which emerge above soil level; this will enable the larger roots to develop.
Pruning Cautions:
An important point to be mentioned in pruning Hawaiian Umbrella is the leaf oil; the sap and vegetation is poisonous if ingested.
It is not enough just to say this... I know you are not going to lick your fingers while pruning, or rub your hands on the table then put them in your mouth or eyes, but do you have children, or a dog or cat?
I know you will throw away the trimmings and wash after pruning, but does your dog raid the garbage.
Please keep this in mind when pinching and pruning. A small pinched off piece, or sap licked off the table, will not kill your pet, but it will make a pet sick; caution in disposal is very important.
Over Watering Signs:
If you see any black on the leaves you are over watering! Stop ASAP. Over watering and/or cold drafts will kill a Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai. Keep a close eye on water uptake as the seasons change, adjust watering accordingly.
Hope this helps
Regards
Nancy