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Crape Myrtle   |   Rosmarinus officinalis L.


Crape Myrtle    (Lagerstroemia indica)

Genus: Lagerstroemia
Species: indica
Family: Lythraceae
Zone: 7-10 Temperature range 45F ñ 100F

The crape myrtle is a small tree or large shrub with deciduous leaves. Originally from China and Korea, crepe myrtle is grown for its short-lived but showy display of flowers which can range in color from deep lilac, through pinks to almost white.

For the bonsai collector, crepe myrtle has more to offer than just its flowers. It sheds outer layers of bark from time to time and, depending on the season, the color of the underlying bark can vary from pale gray through rusty brown to almost pink. The result is an extremely attractive mottled appearance of subtle color that is particularly spectacular in fall and winter when there are no leaves to obscure the bark.

Crape myrtle's flower on short shoots of the current year's growth, so to encourage prolific blossoming be fairly careful how and when you prune. Heavy branches can be pruned in fall, and the wounds should be well sealed. In spring, allow the new shoots to grow untouched for several weeks, until the leaves begin to harden and the rate of extension slows down. This should take you up to late spring or early summer, at which time you can cut all these new shoots back to two or three leaves. The buds at the axils of these leaves will produce a fresh crop of lateral, flower-bearing shoots. Do not prune away lateral growth in midsummer unless you are prepared to miss out on the flowering period for a year. Wire trunk and branches from spring to autumn and protect the bark.

Feed every 20-30 days from spring to autumn. Use low nitrogen feed throughout the growing season to encourage flowering. Nitrogen free in the fall.

Crape myrtle must have a sufficient dormant period. Maintain winter temperatures between 45-50F, and allow light levels to fall while bare of leaves. Reinstate good light as soon as buds start to swell in spring.

Repot every 1-2 years from early spring to summer. Always leave a strong root structure.

Water freely during growing season, without allowing the soil to become waterlogged. Other times let the soil become partially dry. During flowering, too much water will make the blossoms fall prematurely. It does reasonably well indoors provided you give it bright light. Outside it can be exposed to full sun. However, like any tree, move to full sun gradually to prevent sunburn.

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Rosmarinus officinalis L.

Rosmarinus officinalis L. bonsai treeGenus: Rosmarinus
Species: officinalis
Family: Labiatae

An evergreen aromatic herb. This shrub can be found through out the Mediterranean region. The trunk is light brown and scaly, the leaves are sessile, (stalkless and attached directly at the base) lanceolate, (tapering from a rounded base toward an apex; lance-shaped) and slightly revolute, (rolled backward from the tip or margins to the undersurface) rough on the upper side, whitish and downy on the underside. The flowers are usually pale blue, and arranged in axillary racemes.

Repotting
Early spring or the end of summer. Quick drain soil is recommended

Pruning and Wiring
Position the root system while repotting, at the same time getting rid of any branches unnecessary to the final design. To thicken the foliage, pinch out new shoots with your nails throughout the growing season or cut them back in the autumn. Position the trunk and branches with wire from spring to summer.

Feeding
Once a month in spring and autumn.

Notes
Rosemary is especially popular for its trunk and long flowering period. It responds well to pruning but may encounter some difficulties in the initial repotting. To encourage rooting, keep in a bright but indirect light after covering it with a plastic sheet, or keep in a bright greenhouse, watering plentifully and spraying the foliage several times a day. Normally water only when the soil partially dries out. Protect in winter.

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