The pomegranate bonsai: red flowers and rigid branches
Belonging to the Punicaceae family, the pomegranate bonsai appears as a plant with solitary flowers or clusters of three, present at the ends of the youngest branches. These are hermaphrodite flowers, red or orange. The branches are, instead, thorny and rigid, with deciduous, opposite leaves, with a smooth edge and a bright and intense green color. The resulting fruit is called balausta, and is a large and spherical berry. The grains that are found inside it are made up of a juicy, transparent pulp, and of a semi-rigid, white seed. The bonsaists appreciate the pomegranate in a particular way, not only for the pleasant aesthetic aspect of fruiting and flowering, but above all for the remarkable aptitude to easily receive the bonsai techniques of repotting, pruning and use of tutors. Considering the size of the bonsai branch and the size of the pomegranate fruit, it is advisable to avoid leaving more than two fruits per branch. Not to be confused with the dwarf pomegranate, characterized by non-edible fruits, the pomegranate bonsai, which reproduces by layering, seed and cutting, prefers to stay in direct exposure to the rays of the sun, in temperate and warm positions, regardless of the season; instead, it fears extreme cold, and for this reason it needs special protection with respect to frosts.
How to do watering
Like all bonsai, it must be wet at any time of the year, although of course the hottest days require more frequent watering: the plant, however, needs water whenever the substrate is dry. Given, therefore, that defining the scope and periodicity of the intervention is quite complicated, as variables depending on the climatic zone, the season, the vessel's size, the draining power and the amount of soil, however, the necessity applies as a universal rule. to water gradually and very slowly, so as to allow the soil to remain moist for as long as possible, retaining more water. In summer it is better to water the pomegranate bonsai early in the morning or in the evening hours; in winter, on the other hand, the water must be supplied during the hottest hours, however postponing the administration in case frosts are foreseen. As far as fertilization is concerned, useful to constantly integrate the nutrients that are consumed quickly, it must be done every twenty days from March to September, during the vegetative season, but not during flowering. Furthermore, interventions should be suspended in July and early August, in correspondence with the hottest days of summer.
Naturally, the plant must be protected from potential attacks by parasites: an effective preventive action is carried out by fungicides and insecticides, useful in particular to avoid damage caused by fungi, aphids and red spider. The treatments against parasites, however, must be concentrated during the winter season, at the time of vegetative rest, when the bonsai has no leaves, while they must be avoided in the flowering period.
Threads and tie-rods to manage plant growth
During growth, the formation of the plant can be helped by the use of tie rods and wires, to be applied on young branches (more sensitive and therefore more elastic: they can be corrected more easily, but care must be taken because they are also more delicate) . Using copper wires two or three millimeters in diameter, the branches can be lowered, anchoring them to the vase. Furthermore, the action of the braces, preferably usable in the vegetative period, should not be underestimated. The root system produced by pomegranate bonsai it is quite large: for this reason, there is a need for quite frequent repotting, at most every three years, both for the young specimens and for the old specimens. The operation must be carried out in spring, when the buds begin to be activated. To avoid stagnation of water, the substratum, strictly non-acidic, must be sufficiently draining: the recommended composition provides for fifteen per cent of universal soil, possibly filtered, fifteen per cent of coarse sand and seventy per cent of akadama; alternatively, a fifteen percent leaf mold and eighty-five percent akadama can be used. When repotting is done, it must be ensured that the root system does not present asphyxia, and that rootlets exist upstream of the primary root that allow it to survive at the root and the branch connected to it. It is good to know that the pomegranate bonsai does not digest the transplants, as it has the tendency to originate the capillaries at the apex of the root apparatus: this is why the cutting of the roots requires moderation and attention.
Pomegranate bonsai: Styles and fertilizer
Speaking of styles, the pomegranate bonsai welcomes the inclined trunk, the cascading trunk, the multritronchus, the casual erect or the raft-shaped trunk. The fertilizer to be administered must have a low nitrogen content, and high amounts of potassium and phosphorus: the ideal solution is represented by fish meal, rapeseed and bone meal based tablets.