hippowarrior
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complete novice, needs help with Zanthoxylum - pepper tree

Hi there

I'm sure the experienced amongst you see this kind of post frequently, I've looked through some of the others and not found any of the info I'm looking for, so I'm at your mercy in my cry for help.

I was given a Zanthoxylum - pepper tree as a gift for Christmas. Apparently it's around 15 years old, it came with a very small amount of info regarding care, some pruners and a bag of small rocks (food?) I understand that it requires lots of light and will survive well in very cool tempratures, which is a good job considering our weather at the moment!
I've placed it in my kitchen window.
The tree is about 1foot high and is a vague "S" shape. it has 4 branches that are about 1cm thick, coming straight from the trunk and around 5 or 6 branches that are approx 1/2cm tick then numerous twigs.
I can see it's been worked on over the years as there are a few nothches on the trunk where branches have clearly been pruned.

The info that came with the tree advises completely submersing the pot in water around once a week during winter or "as & when required" however on reading some of the other info on here, that doesn't appear to be right.

I'm scared to death of pruning it, although I have been, by snipping off new shoots and trying to keep some shape to it, although it seems to be quite sparse, I've read some items talking about "pairs" and allowing certain ones to grow & pruning others. I'm at a loss what to do to be honest.

I'd appreciate tips on watering, feeding & pruning, and would love some photo's of pepper tree's to give me an idea of what they should look like.

This morning upon attempting to water & prune, a lot of the leaves have fallen off, although the new shoots are in good order, so I don't think I've killed it!!
Thanks in advance

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

hippowarrior,

Welcome to the forum and to bonsai. Unfortunately I have not found much information or specific advice regarding your Chinese Pepper, I can offer some general tips though. I have noted several inquires coming from the UK so they are apparently more popular there than here.
I'm scared to death of pruning it, although I have been, by snipping off new shoots and trying to keep some shape to it, although it seems to be quite sparse, I've read some items talking about "pairs" and allowing certain ones to grow & pruning others. I'm at a loss what to do to be honest.
Don't feel the need to prune constantly. There is an ebb and flow to bonsai, particularly younger specimens. Your tree is not static, it must be allowed to put on new growth in order to stay healthy, there will be time to prune later.
The info that came with the tree advises completely submersing the pot in water around once a week during winter or "as & when required" however on reading some of the other info on here, that doesn't appear to be right.
There is nothing wrong with an occasional submersion but I don't like to do so on a regular basis. Have you seen the thread concerning general care? The tip about using a chopstick or skewer really is useful while you are learning your new trees requirements.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479

As far as feeding goes, it is required but it is doubtful that a delay of a few weeks will be detrimental. Until you get a handle on the basic care a short lapse in feeding won't be a problem. Deal with one thing at a time. Would you consider some supplemental lighting? One, or preferably two, fluorescent bulbs placed fairly close to the plant can only help.

Norm

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Gnome
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hippowarrior,

This is by far the best example of a Chinese Pepper bonsai that I have ever seen.

[url=https://img27.imageshack.us/i/pepperto.jpg/][img]https://img27.imageshack.us/img27/2455/pepperto.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Norm

maveriiick
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https://mybonsai.biz/guide/bonsailink.asp?quicklink=5006&name=Zanthoxylum_beecheyanum

hippowarrior
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Staffordshire UK

Thank you so much for the tips, picture & links.

How do I use the food? Do I bury it into the soil?

I keep reading that I should allow 5 to 7 leaf pairs grow then prune back two? Does this pertain to individual leaves? and should it be the leaves on the end?
Thanks in advance

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Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
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hippowarrior,
Thank you so much for the tips, picture & links.
You're welcome.
a bag of small rocks (food?)...How do I use the food? Do I bury it into the soil?
I'm afraid that without knowing what product you might have we can't give any advice. Is there a brand name or any other kind of description? If not, it might be safer to purchase a known product and follow the directions. The rocks might even be top-dressing, simply a decorative layer for the top of the soil.
I keep reading that I should allow 5 to 7 leaf pairs grow then prune back two? Does this pertain to individual leaves? and should it be the leaves on the end?
This is for keeping trees that are pretty well refined from getting out of hand. Would you say your tree is styled to the point where you want to maintain it or does it need some more time to grow? If the latter is true then very little pruning is required.

If you do want to prune it the advice you cite is pretty common. Just wait for the shoot to elongate then prune the shoot back close to the old growth, leaving at least one, or possibly two, pairs of leaves of the new growth in place. Other trees grow in an alternating pattern so perhaps that is what is confusing.

Norm

hippowarrior
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Staffordshire UK

The food/rocks have nothing on them at all just in a cellophane wrapper, however there aren't many so I would presume they're not for decoration.
My tree doesn't really have any form, so I guess I'll be leaving it to grow.

I'm going to invest in a couple of hand books, Amazon to the rescue!!

Thanks again
Thanks in advance

Marsman
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Location: Coventry, CT

I think I found your Pepper tree: [url=https://www.makebonsai.com/shop/item.asp?itemid=8&iname=Chinese-Pepper-Medium-Indoor-Bonsai-Starter-Pack-]LINK[/url]

The bag contains rocks for the humidity tray.

[url=https://s956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Various%20Hosting%20Pics/?action=view&current=Zanthoxylum_beecheyanum_bonsai.jpg][img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Various%20Hosting%20Pics/th_Zanthoxylum_beecheyanum_bonsai.jpg[/img][/url]

[quote]The Gift Pack comes with a nice imported little Bonsai, a Bottle of Liquid feed, and Pair of Bonsai Pruning Scissors. The Specially formulated Bonsai Feed will help you keep you Bonsai Looking Healthy and Look Well. Since this is a Bonsai and not just a house plant you will need to occasionally prune shoots and keep the shape of the Bonsai Under control. The Gift Pack also comes with an Instruction Leaflet on how to look after and care for your Bonsai.

Gift Pack Contents

1 x Chinese Pepper Bonsai Tree approximately 20-25 cm (8-10â€

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