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Download Care Guide Lonicera - MiKo Bonsai Leicester
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Bonsai Care Guide Honeysuckle Lonicera Species MiKo Bonsai Lonicera is a genus of about 180 species, many of which are climbers unsuitable for bonsai use. However, there are a number of shrubby honeysuckles that make excellent subjects for bonsai. Shrubby Lonicera species include L. pileata and L. nitida which are both evergreen shrubs often used for hedging. Their ability to regenerate from old wood and the minute size of their leaves that make these two honeysuckles such good species for use as bonsai. With sufficient growth in the ground both species develop heavy, thick trunks and have light, fawn coloured bark that peels off in strips revealing a smooth, light-coloured underbark. Both species produce insignificant flowers and purple berries. Lonicera nitida is a bushy, evergreen shrub with paired ovate leaves about 1 cm long, they are glossy, dark-green above, lighter beneath. Originally native to China where they reach around 3-4 metres height with a 3 metre spread. L.nitida has a number of varieties which carry differing coloured leaves including the widely available 'Baggesen's Gold' which has yellow and purple hues to its green leaves. Lonicera pileata is of a similar appearance though it carries slightly larger leaves which grow to 3 cm. Originally native to China, L. pileata is less vigorous and has a more spreading habit, reaching heights of only around 50 cm. Position Lonicera are not suitable for indoor growing! Place in a sunny position or in dappled shade. Frosts below -5°C can cause lose of foliage though this is quickly replaced in Spring. Some frost protection is advised for trees in very small pots. Watering Keep soil evenly moist. Feeding Balanced feed every two weeks during the growing season. Being evergreen, the trees will benefit from an application of bone meal in late autumn, which will help to support growth in very early spring. Repotting In Spring as new leaf-buds appear and growth starts to extend. Use basic soil mix. Pruning Constant clipping is essential to keep foliage pads tidy and to encourage dense growth. Foliage should be thinned out in Spring to allow light to reach inner leaves. Carving or hard pruning can be carried out during late-Autumn and Winter. Wiring Branches become stiff and brittle as they harden off, so any wiring should be done while the branches are still green. The main styling of foliage pads will be achieved through clip and grow methods. Mature branches and trunks cannot successfully shaped by wiring. Try to obtain a specimen that has plenty of trunk movement. Pests and Diseases Lonicera are relatively trouble free, but trees weakened by lack of water or root damage may be subject to infestation by aphids and scale insects. Treat infestations with a proprietary insecticide as soon as detected.