This Spiraea started out as a cutting I took for my garden, around 1995. During the Winter of 2002 I lifted the plant to make room for some new bonsai benches and found it had an interesting base and a naturally shallow rootball with a good spread of lateral roots.
The tree was rootpruned and potted up into a shallow terracotta pot. The tangle of shoots were reduced to just 3 new 'trunks'
By June 2003 the tree had recovered well from its collection. Much of 2003 was spent repeatedly removing the many suckers that kept appearing at the base of the three trunks.
Thin spindly 'trunks' are typical of Spiraea, they are more of a shrub than a tree and don't normally produce thick trunks at all. During the Winter of 2003, as the Spiraea the tree had obviously recovered from its severe pruning of the previous Winter, it was planted back into the ground to try and thicken the 3 trunks
August 2005. Two years later and the tree has to be lifted again to make room in the garden! Not the best time to repot however, given the compact rootball this tree had previously, I knew I could get away with it!
August 2005. A few hours later and the tree is potted up into a shallow terracotta saucer having been bare-rooted. Though the tree was fine and continued to grow into the Autumn, this timing is not recommended!
As can be seen in the image above, with all suckers repeatedly removed (there were less and less each year), the remaining three trunks have thickened quite well over the past 2 years.
June 2006 and the tree is in flower. The tree was potted into a freeform-oval pot by Vic Harris of Erin Pottery in the spring, the red-brown colour of the pot matching that of the bark perfectly. The tree has been planted quite low in the pot this year to help the nebari/surface roots develop, hopefully these will grow well enough to reveal next year.
Current height of tree 12"/30cm
In order for the tree to flower it has been allowed to grow freely since leaf break in Spring, when flowering finishes it will be pruned back hard and the foliage developed until the end of the year.
Update November 2006: Spiraea often show good Autumn leaf colour.
Update April 2007: the tree continually surprises you with its different appearance through the seasons!
Autumn 2007: Video showing this bonsai with autumn colours>