The Linden tree
The linden is a stately tree that is easy to train for bonsai. The elegant trunk, its red buds in spring and oval shaped leaves, which turn yellow in autumn, make this tree a popular subject for bonsai.
||Intermediate to advanced.
||Cordata, the small-leaved lime, is the one usually chosen for bonsai purposes.
||In short bunches of 5-10, scented, white with yellow stamens, fruit are small and globose, resembling nuts.
||Shoots are reddish above and brownish beneath. Leaves are nearly round and are heart-shaped, or cordate, deep green on their outer surface and paler green beneath. Leaves are often around 4-5cm in length.
||Young trees have smooth, grey bark with brownish cracks. Older bark is dark grey and broken into shallow plates.
Tip! Do not give this species too much bonsai ‘treatment' at one time, rather phase the training procedures over a period of several months; with time allowed for recuperation, the tree will grow far better.
Moyogi (informal) Shakan (Slanting) Sokan (twin-trunk) Kabudachi (Root connected)
Most nurseries carry a selection of lime trees and there should be a number of small-leaved limes among them. Check for interesting bases. The rest of the tree may be sacrificed if necessary and is re-developed relatively quickly within a few years or so.
Native to much of Europe, the small-leaved lime is often found growing on limestone cliffs in the UK and therefore the collection is reasonably straightforward: but be prepared to split the rock if necessary rather than trying to dig out the roots - it's a different concept in root securement and damages them far less.
The fastest ways of propagation are by division and taking cuttings.
Light shade is the best overall condition for this species when used as bonsai.
Shorten soft shoots in the growing period, retaining a few leaves at the base. Branch pruning can be carried out in the autumn ahead of the cold weather. Always preserve some buds below the cut and seal the cuts.
Transplant before the buds open in early spring. With healthy trees, the roots can be pruned quite heavily. Young plants are repotted annually, older plants every three years or so.
Any time except dormancy.
A mix such as: 4 parts compost, 2 parts fir bark, 4 parts coarse sand. Or: 3 parts Akadama and 2 parts coarse sand.
For the best results, always keep damp and feed regularly every three weeks during the growing season.
Opening buds Leaves of a Tilia
The small-leaved lime will become a desirable addition to the deciduous bonsai collection.