The Horse chestnut , Aesculus hippocastanum. is not one of the most common bonsai subjects that we come across but does attract a certain popularity due to the fact that it is so familiar in our landscape.It is not in fact a native species and originates in the region between Greece and Albania.
It is not in fact a native species and originates in the region between Greece and Albania. It was introduced into the UK early in the 17th century and has found favour as a tree planted very often in prominent positions such as village greens and large park settings.
It is the tree that produces the conkers so beloved of children, the seeds having been produced from the spectacular ” candles ” of white flowers produced by the tree in May. It is easily cultivated, hardy and tolerates a wide variety of conditions. The growth characteristics do not lend themselves to bonsai however, being slow to ramify and develop complex branches. Also, the leaves are large although normal bonsai pruning techniques can bring about significant reductions over not too long a period.
This part trained bonsai example is 36cm. in height with branching spreading to 46cm. At the base the trunk is 5cm. in diam. The slanting trunk design produces quite a pleasing effect with further progress required to develop more complex branching to improve the image. This is an exercise in growing and pruning. To maintain and improve the leaf size reduction early and regular pruning is the order of the day. The species is easy to grow and can be persuaded to produce regular leaf renewal which enables the steady removal of larger leaves as they develop. It is potted in a rectangular plastic trainer that is 29x20x8cm.