GROUP II - Fairly Hardy

Special Condition Key:

A prefers more acidic soil; try 1 Tablespoon white vinegar in 1 gal. water monthly
B brown leaf tips indicate salt burn/salt build-up
C subject to iron or manganese chlorosis (best iron source is Kerex®)
D subject to random branch die-back (which may be due to wrong-timed pruning)
E when established, you can give less water
F frost-sensitive, so protect if a hard freeze is expected
more adaptable for use as an indoor bonsai than other plants
L may drop some leaves when relocated or repotted
M very attractive to spider mites, so hose-spray and keep in good air-flow
P pinch first set of leaves when opened, the next will be smaller in size
R do not root prune if at all possible; never bare root this kind of plant
S leaves sunburn/windburn easily, so provide shelter/protection
U larger specimens can take full sun most of day here when established
W bark is tender or branches are brittle, so wire carefully, if at all, to avoid scars and damage
can bloom as bonsai

Note: Plants labeled as susceptible to chlorosis when grown in the ground should not have this problem in a container with a quality soil mix and regular fertilizer schedule. “Established” plants are firmly rooted and producing a good growth of new buds which have opened up into leaves.


GROUP II - Fairly Hardy

This Page Last Updated: March 17, 2002

Sweet Acacia / Huisache  (Acacia farnesiana) D,E,F,M,U,W %*
        growth can be leggy; does best in a deeper pot    [Leguminosae; Fabales]

Silk Tree / Mimosa  (Albizia julibrissin) U %
        [Leguminosae; Fabales]

Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) I ^
        needs bright light; shade small specimens from direct sun; use small specimens for a forest planting; is not a true pine    [Pinaceae; Coniferales]

Bottle Tree (Brachychiton populneus E,U %
        [Sterculiaceae; Malvales]
Black Olive (Bucida spinosa) F *
        hard to shape, but does form basic foliage pads by itself; horizontal branches are sent out spoke-like from distinct places on the trunk (like some pines); it is recommended to pinch off new shoots just a few at a time for the sake of the tree's health; likes a lot of water; not a true olive    [Combretaceae; Myrtales]

Weeping Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) B,C,U ^
        [Myrtaceae; Myrtales]

Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa) F,U,W ^ *
        a slow grower; can be very forgiving; keep these plants slightly drier than wetter; wire green branches only; accepts severe pruning; cut large leaves in half to promote re-budding; “Boxwood Beauty” is the smallest-leaved variety available    [Apocynaceae; Gentianales]

Hackberry, Reticulated or Western (Celtis reticulata) U %
        foliage dies off after trimming, so only prune in the spring when growth is vigorous; needs lots of sun    [Ulmaceae; Urticales]

Carob / St. John’s Bread (Ceratonia siliqua) E,U ^
        do not bare-root; young are susceptible to cold-injury; use well-draining soil    [Leguminosae; Fabales]

Blue Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum) D,E,R,U %
         trimming dead branches off could kill part of the trunk around those branches    [Leguminosae; Fabales]

Japanese Contorted Quince (Chaenomeles lagenaria) B,C %*
        a fast grower; lots of water in well-draining soil mix; prune after leaves drop; needs winter cold for best flowering; leaves open after the flowers do    [Rosaceae; Rosales]

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) E,U ^*
        a vigorous grower    [Bignoniaceae; Scrophulariales]

Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri) E,U %
        not a true olive; better branching than on angular small-leafed species, C. parvifolia    [Boraginaceae; Lamiales]

Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica glabra U ^
        [Cupressaceae; Coniferales]

Silver Berry (Eleagnus sp.) P ^*
        give a little shade; when defoliating for leaf pruning or size and not dormancy, allow the petiole and one-quarter of the old leaf to remain on the branch; flowers in the fall    [Elaeagnaceae; Proteales]

Evergreen Euonymus (Euonymus japonica) M,U ^
        [Celastraceae; Celastrales]

Arizona Ash (Fraxinus velutina P,U %
     a vigorous grower; leaves can burn badly by late June    [Oleaceae; Scrophulariales]

Ginkgo / Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)   %
        only repot every 3 to 4 years; during growing season leaves yellow quickly if light inadequate; in autumn leaves turn yellow and pale before dropping; keep on dry side; try making cuttings in October and keep misted    [Ginkgoceae; Ginkgoales]

Silk Oak (Grevillea robusta B,E,I,U,W ^
       G. rosmarinifolia said to be easier foliage type to work with    [Proteaceae; Proteales]

Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) W ^*
        angular branch growth can be challenging; pinch back new growth; too much fertilizer results in large leaves; rose food recommended; nursery specimens often have very attractive flaring roots half an inch below the level of the soil; separate male and female plants needed to produce berries; “Stokes” is smallest-leaved variety available    [Aquifoliaceae; Celastrales]

Juniper, Shore (Juniperus conferta)   ^
       see other junipers below; you'll get even more needle die-back with needles that end up under wiring than you would with other junipers, but this species has longer and softer needles    [Cupressaceae; Coniferales]

Juniper, Procumben (Juniperus procumbens 'Nana') B,M,U ^
       junipers are NOT indoor bonsai; pinch/pull off fat new buds on all junipers with fingers, not scissors (no matter how sharp they are, scissors press/crush the needles, which then turn brown); carefully pull off old brown needles; don’t overwater; wet the foliage fifteen minutes before working on; give all junipers plenty of light and fresh air, but protect smaller specimens from direct afternoon sun as necessary; do not bare-root junipers; grayish foliage could be severe injury from spider mites; foliage normally takes on purplish tinge during cooler winters; wilted or brown foliage will not revive; best pruning time here is February to March, and then again in October; best wiring time is in the autumn; best re-potting time is January to February    [Cupressaceae; Coniferales]

Juniper, Prostrate (Juniperus prostrata 'Foemina') M,U ^
       see above    [Cupressaceae; Coniferales]

Juniper, San Jose (Juniperus squamata M,U ^
       see above; this one has wonderfully small needles; best to get a specimen at the nursery right off the truck from California, you can then trim back the outer branches before the important inside growth gets fried by our heat and sun and dies off    [Cupressaceae; Coniferales]

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) A,B,C,U,W %*
        don’t keep soil too moist; can be heavily pruned just before leaf buds open    [Lythraceae; Myrtales]

Texas Sage / Texas Ranger  (Leucophyllum frutescens) E,M,U ^*
        do not overwater; buds back easily with spring pruning; can be slow recovering from repotting; keeping new growth trimmed back to a few leaves is said to prevent new growth from falling off entirely; "Green Cloud" is best variety    [Scrophulariaceae; Scrophulariales]

Japanese Privet / Wax-Leaf Privet (Ligustrum japonicum) F,S ^
        [Oleaceae; Scrophulariales]

Desert Fern / Feather Bush (Lysiloma thornberi) E,U %*
        [Fabaceae; Fabales]

Pink Melaleuca (Melaleuca nesophila) B,E,U ^
        requires lots of water; buds back on old wood    [Myrtaceae; Myrtales]

White Mulberry (Morus alba) P,U %
        a fast grower; takes heavy top pruning, especially if in a growing bed    [Moraceae; Urticales]

Orange Jasmine (Murraya exotica) F ^*
        likes the heat; water generously during the growing seasons, not so much in winter; can prune all year, but flower buds begin to appear in early summer    [Rutaceae; Sapindales]

Twisted Myrtle (Myrtus communis "Boetica")   ^*
        when new growth begins in spring, clip all leaves off or in half with scissors; sunlight on dormant buds will bring an abundance of growth; sun or partial shade; hardy down to 28 F    [Myrtaceae; Myrtales]

Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) B,R ^
        yellow needle tips probably indicate that soil is too wet; NEVER bare-root ANY pine; pull off longer mature needles to maintain size and shape; Aleppo is different than most other pines in that this produces both juvenile and mature needles; February and September are best pruning months; NOT an indoor bonsai candidate    [Pinaceae; Coniferales]

Texas Ebony (Pithecolobium flexicuale) E,U %*
        can be a slow grower; reduce roots gradually; prune vigorous light green young shoots back when internodal distance lengthens; heavy top growth compared to girth increase    [Leguminosae; Fabales]

Pittosporum / Mock Orange (Pittosporum sp.)   ^
        [Pittosporaceae; Rosales]

Arborvitae, Oriental (Platycladus/Thuja orientalis) M ^
        needs partial shade; after wiring, curve each branch to improve appearance; buds plentifully back on old wood    [Cupressaceae; Coniferales]

Mesquite (Prosopis sp.) D,E,U %
        cuttings easily propagated; allow a small stump to remain when a branch is cut off, the stump will dieback    [Leguminosae; Fabales]

Pomegranate, Dwarf (Punica granatum 'Nana') D,S,W %*
        needs very good drainage; fast grower; lots of light; don’t style and repot all at once; let the plant set fruit only every other year; low Nitrogen fertilizer after the first set of leaves, high Nitrogen a month later; high Phosphorus fertilizer in the spring and summer; old specimens tend to dieback and throw shoots at the base, which then can be shaped for your "new" tree    [Punicaceae; Myrtales]

Schefflera, Hawaiian Elf (Schefflera arboricola) B,F,I,M,W ^
        cuttings easily propagated; if growth becomes leggy, cut back freely; remove largest leaves but let petiole (leaf stalk) remain; wiring is seldom used with; don't overwater    [Araliaceae; Apiales]

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) A %
        a fast grower; keep very moist in a good draining soil mix; can even sit in tray of non-tap water if it is changed every other to every few days -- no problem in the quickly evaporative summer, just be sure to keep the tray filled then; if it goes a day or two without water and the green feathery branches wilt, fill tray with non-tap water and care for as usual, new growth should pop out within a week from the base of old leaf which has turned black and dead; can be kept a little drier in winter; prefers a deeper pot; unlike with most other plants, to develop branches on these do not allow long growth on them; continually pinch new growth with fingertips before it hardens; immediately remove any buds breaking at the base of branches; buds back on old wood    [Taxodiaceae; Coniferales]

Viburnum (Viburnum sp.)   %*
        give afternoon shade or all day filtered sun    [Caprifoliaceae; Dipsacales]

Vitex / Chaste Tree / Monk's Pepper (Vitex agnus-castus) U %*
        buds back on old wood; needs lots of light and fresh air; leaf fall may occur if not enough light; water less during dormant period with leaf shed   [Verbenaceae; Lamiales]

European Grape (Vitis vinifera) U %
        must have good drainage; allow surface drying between waterings; give lots of sun; large old specimens from a vineyard are best; fruits out of new wood; "Thompson Seedless" said to be hardiest variety    [Vitaceae; Euphorbiales]

Plant List
Group I
Group III
Group IV

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