Stewartia: Graceful, Elegant & Not Very Common 11/16/10


This slender delight is showing off its inner charm. It’s late winter and the new buds are swelling. Without the leaves you can better see the subtle beauty of the bark and the delicate fine branching. The nebari is quite strong (but still in keeping with the delicacy of the tree). Much of its size and strength comes from having two trunks. This provides a good tip for creating nebari: leave smaller second and third trunks, at least for a while, if a strong nebari and lower trunk is your objective.  Photo is from Bonsai Today issue 6.

George Buehler on Stewartias
There’s an excellent Stewartia article by George Buehler on the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society site. Rather than me paraphrasing (plagiarizing?), I think it’s better to just let George do the talking.
Here’s a small piece of what George has to say: “During summer, it is not very showy tree and, in fact, has dark green leaves that are slightly large for bonsai use. There does not seem to be any leaf size reduction benefit with defoliation, even with repeated attempts. Flowers are very unobtrusive, often going unnoticed in the dense foliage. Flowering is irregular, sometimes skipping several years in a row. However, when it does flower during June, it normally is followed by small very hard seed pods. Each pod contains three to five seeds that I have yet to get to germinate. Fall leaf color is an orange to dull red that rapidly dries up, but usually hangs on the tree until it is exposed to a freezing temperature for several nights in a row….”
Here for the whole article.


This one isn’t quite as developed, but is still an excellent bonsai. From Bonsai Today issue 3.