Discovering my true roots… a tragic tale of two plants in one container

The weekend I spent a hour untangling the lily’s roots from my Podocarpus latifolius (Geelhout). It was a bit more difficult than I expected as the roots where so infused with each other you could barely separate the lily’s roots from the trees roots. I have put this off for far to long so I just had to jump in and do it.


This was the first step after I removed the tree from the bag. It did not look like there is much roots in the bag. At this point I started to doubt the decision to separate the two plants from each other. As you can see the lily took up most of the space in the bag.
Before touching the tree any further I prepped my growing container and soil. I used the same soil mix that I always use for potting bonsai trees. I use a mixture that I have find works well for me and it is made out of elements that I can find easily in my region.

My soil is made out of:

  1. Six parts soil
  2. Three parts stone 3mm – 5mm
  3. 1 parts river sand
  4. 0,1 parts bonemeal
  5. 5 ml of multicore slow release fertilizer

Here is a post I wrote a while back on repotting a bonsai:
How to repot a bonsai tree.


This is the roots that I saw. In the middle of the root cluster you can see little pieces of white roots that belong to the Lily. At this point I removed the lily from the tree. I had to dig deep into the root mass to remove all the lily’s roots. I know from past ventures that lily’s and some other plants sprout from roots if they are not removed properly. I used a one prong rake to comb through the roots and get the roots untangled.


In the photo above you will see the masses of feeder roots on this tree. This is how a health root system should look . There are lots of feeder roots and not to much long thick roots as they only take up space in the pot or growing container. In the cultivation of bonsai these long thick roots are not needed. In nature trees use these long roots to keep the tree stable and anchored against the harsh elements (wind, rain, floods and landslides). In bonsai containers the trees are wired into the pots. This keeps the trees from falling out of the pots. The space in bonsai pots are limited and therefor we need to only keep the roots that the tree needs to survive. The more feeder roots a tree has the healthier the tree will be and the more growth you will get. This will lead to the development of the tree being much faster.


In the close up above you can see the difference between the two root systems. The thick white roots are the roots of the Lily. As you can see there were in-bedded with the other roots so digging them up was fun.

IMG_5272.jpg IMG_5273.jpg
In the photo above you can see the tree replanted in its new growing container. You can see the tree is nice and wide at the base of the stem where it flares out into the roots. The tree will never be a great tree but I like a challenge. I will keep on training the tree and see if I can’t get it to bud back lower down. It will take time to get the tree fully developed.

That’s it for this blog. Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

PS. I will be trying a thread graft tonight so, stay tuned for more details on that. Here are a few picture of someone garden that I have been watering the past week.





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