Anyone use Fuschia (flower) in thier cages?

KatiLemons

Established Member
I was wondering if anyone uses fuschia in thier cages. I really love the colors of the fuschia flower but I havent really heard anyone say that theyhave used it?
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
I used fuschia in my pygmy cage. I bonsai'd it a year before I put it in. I trained the vines and branches to droop down and cascade. It really was worth the one year wait. Then once the flowers bloomed, it was awesome!
 

KatiLemons

Established Member
I have never Bonsai'd anything before. What are the techniques for this? Do you have any pictures of it? :)
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
I have never Bonsai'd anything before. What are the techniques for this? Do you have any pictures of it? :)

It's easy. Especially since it is only going into your cham cage. You won't need to do alot of fancy stuff. This is what you need:

Materials:
- Wires of different size/thickness. Get some thick wire that is easy to bend from Home Depot (About as thick as a pencil). Then get some thin steel wire from the garden section or at a craft store.
- Wire cutters (For cutting wire and cutting off branches)
- Needle Nose Pliers (For bending wires if needed)
- Scissors (For cutting off leaves)
- Potting Soil
- New temporary pot.

Selecting a plant:
- Get a plant that is safe for your cham
- Measure dimensions of your cage so you can select a plant that will fit in it.
- The key is to find a plant that has a thick trunk. This makes it a believable tree. If the plant has some cool looking giant roots sticking out of the ground it is a bonus.

Preparation:
Step 1) Remove your plant from the old pot and rinse it down.
Step 2) Loosen up the old soil and try to expose the roots. Don't remove all the soil. You want to have a ball of roots to work with.
Step 3) With your scissors, trim some of the root veins to create an even root ball. This promotes more roots to grow later. Don't cut giant roots.
Step 4) Add some soil to the bottom of the new temporary pot.
Step 5) Place the plant inside. (If you want the plant to grow in an angle, place it in an angle)
Step 6) Pack in soil around the plant. Try to fill in the gaps.


Triming Work:
Step 1) Trim off excess branches with the wire cutters. Get rid of anything that will get in the way of your cage. If there are more than 3 branches growing from the same point, cut one off.
Step 2) With the scissors, cut off any excess leaves. Remove all leaves that are growing on the trunk. Also remove leaves that are growing directly out of the main branches. If there are more than 2 leaves growing from the same point, cut one off. (It will start to look like your plant is totally disappearing, but don't worry. Less is more. But don't go overboard and cut off all the leaves. More will grow back.)


Wire Work:
Step 1) Start by shaping the thick branches or trunk. Use the thickest wire to wrap/coil around the thick branches. Start from the trunk then work your way out towards the branches. Avoid wrapping over leaves.
Step 2) Once you get to the end of the branch, loop the end back over and cut off the excess wire.
Step 3) Gently bend the branches in the direction you want it to grow. Be careful not to snap the branch. If the branch is too stubborn, wrap another wire around it.This should add strength to keep it in place.
Step 4) Follow steps 1-4 for the smaller branches. But this time use the smaller wire and start from the connecting main branch.

Shaping:
Shaping depends on your cage layout and style you want.
- If you want it to look like a tree, move the branches around so that when you look at the plant, the top of the tree makes an off centered triangle shape. Trim/Cut down branches in order to make this shape.
- If you want the plant to cascade, bend the branches so they cascade below the ground level of the pot. Next, prop up the plant so it tilts in the direction that it is cascading.
Roots/Ground:
- Try to get some of the big roots to pop out of the ground. It makes it look more like a real tree.

Wait/Care:
Keep your plant outside all year and care for it like you would any other plant. You could add fertilizer to it since it is not directly going into the chams cage. Just make sure you repot and remove the fertilizer before you put it in the cage.

At the end of the year (Before Winter), cut off all the wires and repot the plant. The branches will remain the same shape that you put them in. Trim the leaves like I discussed in the Trimming Work section.


If you want to learn more, pick up this book: The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Bonsai. http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Prac...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300941089&sr=8-1

It is very easy to follow. With tons of pictures. This would be a great book to sell in the chameleonforum bookstore. So Brad, if you see this, I would try to get this selling in there. Plant care is a must for cham keeping. This book will take your skills up a notch.
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
this sounds absolutely beautiful

Yeah, it was awesome. Too bad I did not take a pic when it blossomed. Now I have to replace the plant and start over because I over watered it. This spring I am going to buy 10 fuschia's to bonsai. That way when one dies in my pygmy tank, I will replace it with one that I have outside.

My bonsai ficus is doing great though. They sell these all the time at home depot where I live. There is alot of cool looking roots sticking out of the ground and they have thick trunks. I'll try to take a pic this weekend.
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
I got one for Amy's cage when she was smaller - I thought it would add some colour, but all it did was drop it's flowers and make a mess!:mad:
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
I got one for Amy's cage when she was smaller - I thought it would add some colour, but all it did was drop it's flowers and make a mess!:mad:

Next time just buy 3 hibiscus plants. Keep two outside in the sun and keep one in the cage. Rotate the plants from the cage to outside every month. Keeps color in the cage and keeps plants healthy.
 
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