Thumbnail photo courtesy of:

I like Colorado native plants and one of my favorites is: Jamesia americana (Cliffbush; Waxflower; Five Petal Cliffbush). I found a really nice small one at one of our local nurseries. The nursery tag said is was native to Colorado so I bought it brought it home. It had nice small light green thick leaves and branches that looked kind of papery with a nice brown color to them. I then found out it has a nice white flower that smelled really nice and also has good fall color. Great I found a really nice tree and it should look pretty cool. This little tree in a one gallon pot had nice nebari and a good trunk on it. I was keeping it on the east side of the house for most of the year and moved it to the west side of the house. It promptly died! Years later I finally found another one and it was even better then the first one. I kept this one for a couple of years in its nursery pot and it was doing really well. No problems with it at all.

I finally decided to do something with it and started to reduce the root ball just like you would do any tree. The next year I moved it into a nice Iker custom pot and gave it an initial design. It has nice nebari and nice trunk. Right now the tree needs be left alone and let the branches/apex grow out for a couple of years. Long term goal is 4-5 years out and I should have a nice little Bonsai tree. This little tree has nice flowers, nice small really cool looking leaves, nice brown papery bark and really good fall color.

Larry Jackel, Denver Botanic Gardens, Bonsai Specialist, says Waxflowers are hard to keep alive in a pot. He has tried a couple of wild yamadori trees from the Colorado Rockies but they did not survive.

Species Information:

Cliff Jamesia (Jamesia americana) by USDA Forest Service Department

Denver Botanic Garden Information  Note: Great photo’s and flower schedule

Fivepetal CliffbushJamesia americana by Naturalist Org.

Jamesia americana  Torrey & A. Gray  var. rosea by Calfora

Jamesia americana by Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center

Jamesia americana Torr. & A. Gray by Seinet

Jamesia americana Torr. & A. Gray fivepetal cliffbush by USDA

I will continue to provide updates on its growth as it progresses from its first design into a finished tree.

Here are some photo’s taken this winter: