Author Topic: Violet Pichi  (Read 1001 times)

leechhat

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Violet Pichi
« on: May 02, 2013, 03:09 AM »
Hey! I'm new to both bonsai and this forum, so forgive me any ignorance on my part.

I just acquired a Violet Pichi (fabiana imbricata f. violacea) and was wondering if anyone was familiar with this particular plant? It's not technically a real tree (it's a shrub), but it looks like it has potential. It looks like a conifer until it blooms in summer, and then it explodes in tiny purple flowers. It's similar to heather, apparently. Does anyone have any advice for pruning and cultivating a shrub to be more treelike? I'm a total newbie to this kind of thing, so any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Violet Pichi
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 12:15 PM »
I had never heard of this genus. After checking the web, all I can say is wow. A tomato relative that mimics heaths in appearance. Really interesting. It sure looks like it has potential, but I personally have never seen one live and in person.

From my experience with various houseplants and orchids growing under lights, this one is likely to be tricky to maintain. I have tried to keep other solanaceae going all winter an I imagine this will have simalar issues. I would recomend summer outdoors, it will probably want full sun, though check the books on this. When you bring it in for winter, before the first frost, it will need as much light as possible to stay healthy. Also make sure there is good air movement, or you will have trouble with fungal and insect pests. I keep fans running 24/7 in the room with the orchids and plants all year round. A light breeze just strong enough to keep grassy leaves moving is perfect. Tomatoes, Brungsmania, and other Solanaceae are spider mite magnets, also white fly and mealy bugs are all famous for attacking them. Spray as needed.

As to specific bonsai techniques? I don't know. Experiment, take notes, and post here your progress. Many of us will be interested to see if you have come across a new species for indoor bonsai.
 

leechhat

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Re: Violet Pichi
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2013, 03:51 PM »
I live in a really temperate area (Vancouver, BC) and I believe (from what I've read about it) that it can stay outside during the winter? It's somewhat frost resistant and is technically classified as an "evergreen shrub", even though it's a relative of the tomato. I think it's mainly an outdoor plant from what they said at the garden centre I bought it from. I'll do some more research in to it, though.

I'm trying to find out as much as I can because this particular plant is going to be in memoriam of my Uncle who passed away recently. Once it's at a suitable bonsai stage I'm going to plant it with some of his ashes so that I can keep a living part of him for years to come. I guess that's kind of weird, but I think it's pretty fitting (you'd understand if you knew him).

I'll definitely keep updating here with this project and my other ones! I have a Canadian maple and an apple tree growing from sprouts, and a Japanese maple that I think I may have screwed up with (I trimmed its roots and put it in a bonsai pot way too early. It's alive and well but I don't think it's going to grow any more); I'll also be collecting more over the coming months. I think I'm addicted!

Anyway, thanks for the reply, and especially the heads up about the pests! I'll probably make a spritzer with some chili/neem oil and dish soap in water just in case. Cheers!