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How to care for Hornbeam -Carpinus - as bonsai

Larry Morton

Posted on February 08 2019

How to care for Hornbeam -Carpinus - as bonsai

Carpinus will grow somewhat slowly in part shade. Provide ample moisture and fertilizer except during winter on all developing hornbeams. Leaves of Carolina Hornbeam may bleach out at margins in full sun during the heat of summer. European Hornbeam tolerates full sun. As in all the Birch family, you may notice some branch dieback on hornbeam for no apparent reason. They take pruning well but not defoliation. Use directional pruning and bud selection. Look for possible deadwood features. 

  • Hornbeam at maturity becomes spherical but picturesque. Flat foliage pads or "clouds" are never seen in nature on a deciduous tree. Just fill in the silhouette form. 
  • Highly irregular to uniform, ascending to horizontal main branching.
  • Weeping ramifications on slender zigzag twigs.
  • Mostly single trunk or groves.
  • Carpinus caroliniana is native. New growth bronze purple. Dark green summer, variable yellow orange fall color. Drops leaves before European Hornbeam. Sculptured, smooth, fluted, slate gray bark. Elongated cone-like fruit clusters summer.
  • Carpinus turczaninowii and Carpinus corona seem to be the same species according to Kew and  the International Dendrology Society. 
  • Propagation is by taking  6" cuttings mid summer. Wounded,  usehigh IBA. Extended photoperiod to root. Allow dormancy period and fertilization after rooting to harden off before transplanting.  

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