The Powder Puff (Calliandra) is a species native to Tropical & Sub-Tropical Americas.
The Powder Puff is called that way because of its showy cotton ball-like puffy blooms, which have a long growing season. It is definitely an indoor variety in Canada as the Powder Puff enjoys the heat. In fact, the hotter, the better. As well as full sun, indoors, it often needs additional growing lights unless it gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day. The Powder Puff's growth will be sparse when not getting enough light, so it is easy to tell when more light is needed.
When in bloom, this is a stunning species and adds a pop of colour and uniqueness to any and every Bonsai collection.
The Powder Puff does not enjoy temperatures under 18° celsius, so a warm environment is needed. During summer heat spells, it is excellent to give the Powder Puff some outdoor time. But keep in mind the nights have to be above 18° to keep it safe. Otherwise, we would suggest growing it indoors year-round. Along with a growing light, a heating light that is turned on during the day and turned off at night is a great way to ensure the Powder Puff is happy, blooming and thriving.
Watering: Powder Puffs like moist soil, and the soil should never be allowed to dry out. Once the top of the soil dries out, water it until it starts draining. Then repeat when the soil dries out.
Fertilizing: Powder Puffs are voracious and enjoy lots of fertilizer when healthy and growing. During the growing season (Spring to Fall), fertilize with a liquid fertilizer every week or once a month with a solid fertilizer. Never fertilize a weak or unhealthy Bonsai.
Pruning: The Powder Puff withstands aggressive pruning, and the pruning can be done year-round when the tree is healthy and growing. The Powder Puff's trunk needs to be trained and shaped very young; otherwise is becomes hard quickly. Heavier pruning will encourage denser growth and more flowering.
Repotting: it is recommended to be repotted every year in the Spring or early summer for younger plants. When older it can be done every two years.
YOUNG: 6" - 12" tall, comes in a 4" grower's pot.
MATURE SHOHIN: 8" - 16" tall, comes in ceramic 6"Bonsai pot.
MATURE: 10"-18" tall, comes in an 8" ceramic Bonsai pot.
These are not seeds - But an Actual Living Bonsai Tree.
Please see our Choosing a Bonsai page for the age and dimensions regarding the different stages of our Bonsai (Baby, Young, & Mature).
It is important for the soil have good water retention while also draining well, along with very good aeration. The quality of the soil directly affects the health, size and growth of your tree. One of the worst things you can do to your tree is plant it in regular garden soil. Garden soil hardens when it drys and can often lead to a disadvantage when growing a Bonsai.
Soil mixtures can be purchased here, but given their weight and cost of shipping, you can also easily make your own.
Depending on the type of Bonsai you're growing, here are the general formulas for successful mixtures.
Deciduous Tree (Leafy and looses leafs in the fall)
10% Potting Compost
Coniferous Tree (Evergreen like Juniper, Cedar)
If you are not able to check on your Bonsai's moisture levels daily, add more Akadama to the mix.
Given how these soils erode over time, repotting every 2-3 years is required.
Here are some suitable replacements if you cannot find the recommended types of soil.
- Akadama - fine fired or baked clays, some even recommend cat litter as a substitute.
- Pumice - fine crushed aggregates, expanded shale and vermiculite.
- Lava Rock - This can be replaced with fine gravel or you can also look into purchasing a larger lava rock at a hardware or gardening centre and crushing it.
One of the best and easiest ways to fertilize your Bonsai, is to add a liquid fertilizer mix when water your Bonsai's once a month during the spring/summer. If your Bonsai looses leaves in the winter there is no need to fertilize it then. If you have a coniferous tree, fertilizing the tree once in the beginning of winter and once in the middle of winter should be sufficient.