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How to care for Hophornbeam as bonsai

Larry Morton

Posted on February 08 2019

Hophornbeam (Ostrya) tolerates full sun better than American Hornbeam. Leaf margins may bleach during the heat of summer. Yet they're easily grown with no serious pests. Often they're seen growing on dry gravely soil. In a deep pot, the root system thrives in a cool, moist substrate high in organic matter. Takes pruning well. Defoliation is terrible horticulture due to the excessive unnecessary stresses to any healthy plant. Use directional pruning and bud selection. Excessive infrequent pruning also will devitalize your bonsai. 

  • Hophornbeam at maturity is broadly spherical. Graceful horizontal to descending, twisting branches. Smooth zigzag stems.
  • Dark green foliage changes to golden yellow fall color. Persistent foliage.
  • Hop-like (bladder-like) pod fruit clusters in summer.
  • Elongated golden catkins visible thru winter.  
  • Gray brown bark broken into narrow strips which are free at each end.
  • Native.

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