Hawaiian Umbrella Tree make a pretty bonsai

The Hawaiian Umbrella Tree is a favorite of all bonsai lovers on account of its thick umbrella-like miniature leaves which form a dense, green canopy. It looks even more glorious during late winter and early spring when it blooms with pretty, red flowers. Sometimes, the flowering takes place in early May.

It is one of the easiest bonsais to maintain because of its sturdy nature and easy adaptability. However, it is prone to insects and disease, and should be regularly checked for pest attacks. It prefers natural light and when taken indoors starts shedding leaves. This is not a signal of sickness but an indication that the tree is acclimatizing itself to the change. The leaves sprout once the tree gets adjusted to its new surroundings.

The Umbrella Tree is easy to propagate as it can sprout through seeds, softwood cuttings or even air-layering. During its growth period, it requires the full sun to develop thick foliage. Later, it can be shifted indoors and kept in bright light. The plant demands regular attention, and needs regularly pruning because the shoots sprout briskly. The tree requires no special pinching or trained; mere pruning is enough to give it the right shape.

The plant needs a mix of acidic and mildly alkaline soil, occasional misting and watering every two to three days. The soil should never be allowed to go dry as it affects the health of the tree. What is required is properly soaked soil with water drained out. Excessive or deficient watering invariably produces a negative response. The leaves turn black and droop if the soil is too wet; their tips screw up if the soil is dry.

The tree needs to be sprayed lightly with pesticides to keep it healthy and clean. It should be kept out of the reach of children and pets because all parts are poisonous. They should never be ingested.

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