Had a nursery crawl with the Bonsai club at Valleyview Gardens the past weekend, and picked up a Cotoneaster with good potential. Having 10% off the purchase price as a Bonsai club member was a good treat. Not only did I ended up with a decent tree, but I also learned quite a lot from the senior members. The club only advertised the event through Facebook and didn’t send out a mass email to all members. I imagine that’s why it netted a sub-optimal turnout. To my advantage, that meant I get more personal time and can ask more questions.

Cotoneaster Nursery Stock


The plant looks very bushy. There are a lot of low branches to work with, and this species also readily back buds, which is always a good attribute in terms of providing more options down the road.

Trunk of Cotoneaster

A closer look at the trunk among all the branches shows a nicely tapering trunk. The tapering trunk was by part contributed by the many branches which spawned directly from the nebari of the tree. I don’t really like water retaining medium, I often get the feeling it’ll either limit my ability to fertilize heavily, or lead to root rot. Since I’ve had great success with the two Maples in the colanders, I decided to re-pot this into a colander as well.

Cotoneaster After Re-pot

Originally, I wasn’t planning to remove so much of the original soil, but in my frenzy to find the roots, I realized that the roots only developed nicely on one side of the plant. The roots on the backside of the above picture was non-existent. So I’ve been left with little options for front selection. The saving grace is that I do have a lot of branches to work with, so this can still turn out to be a worthwhile project.

Trunk of Cotoneaster After Re-pot

The wide trunk is especially prominent with the two large roots reaching to either side of the plant. My theory that I’m not seeing any roots on the backside is perhaps because this plant was developed through a cutting, and therefore all the roots grew from the angle at which the cutting took. I’ve removed a few branches which I believe must go. Tonight, I’ll be bringing the tree to the club to solicit some opinions.

As I cut out low branches, they also came out with some roots. I potted them up into pots, hoping they’ll survive and eventually develop into bonsais themselves. I’ve also took cuttings to see if I can get them to root as well.

Leggy Cotoneaster with Split Trunk

A separate tree with its own root system derived from the mother plant.

Small Cotoneaster

A plant with a modest amount of roots. I further reduced the foliage to reduce the stress on the plant. Tonight’s club meeting will be fun when I turn the nursery stock into a bonsai. More Cotoneaster development later this week.


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