huckleberry flowers – a january tradition

Sneak Peek

Huckleberries flower and fruit reliably in a bonsai pot. Because they flower so early, they help brighten up an otherwise drab time of year.

Huckleberry Flowers – a January Tradition

We’re getting closer to the official start of the 2021 growing season. While there’s not much cheer in the bonsai garden right now, one thing you can rely on in January is Huckleberry flowers. I collected this specimen in 2019, and the design is coming along nicely. Better yet, it’s loaded with flower buds.

They’re swelling now, and will start opening in the next one to three days.

Since it’s year three for this specimen, I know I can go ahead and pot it up for spring. First, though, a light pruning to remove some of the more rank growth.

If you decide to collect your own blueberries, you’ll find that it takes a few years to get a decent root system going. Like this. Huckleberries produce a dense mat of fine roots, much like azaleas do. (They are also acid-loving like azaleas, which is important to keep in mind when the inevitable droughts come.)

I did prune away some roots, as I had more than would fit in this bonsai pot. The tree won’t mind, since it also got some above ground pruning to balance things out.

You can see I’ve left the leader long, in order to thicken it and make the tapering transition look right. I may be able to shorten it next year; time will tell.

Another good thing about Huckleberries is that they produce nice ramification without much more than pruning. So once you wire the primaries into place, you can rely on grow and clip to complete your design.

Let me know what you think.