I’ve commented before that our native yaupon, Ilex vomitoria, makes an excellent bonsai subject. The only problem I’ve encountered through the years is that very, very few specimens in the wild grow with any natural taper. This obviously limits the material that can be collected and developed into bonsai in a short time.
This specimen caught my eye back in January of 2014 because it had a nice old gnarly trunk base with some interesting deadwood. True to form, the existing trunks were arrow-straight. I chopped the trunks and figured I’d grow the tree more or less from scratch. Yapon buds well on old wood, even if you don’t leave any foliage on it. So I was able to take this one through a few rounds of grow and clip, and this is where I was with it this past August. As you can see, it’s starting to take shape.
Four months later, I’m getting a nice primary branch structure on each of my trunks. Also, the tapering transition for each of the original four is looking very smooth. A little carving will help the process along. So I can go ahead and pot this yaupon without concern.
Here’s the tree in its “training pot,” a nice rectangle I got from Chuck Iker three years ago. The reason this pot has been relegated to the training category is simple though odd: in Winter 2014, during our big snow and ice storm, this pot literally froze to the bench. When I went to move it and its tree to a safer location, a couple of the feet stayed on the bench! Super glue put them back on, but the pot remains imperfect as a result.
And here’s the final result, after some wiring and shaping. This yaupon will fill in fast in 2016. I think it’s got fantastic potential.
If you’d like a nice multi-trunk yaupon for your bench, this tree is available at our Miscellaneous Bonsai sale page.