Callistemon Citrinus Bending

Testing the limits on some of my Australian natives. This Callistemon Citrinus was picked up as nursery stock.

I chose it because of the nice bend in the first part of the trunk, however, it quickly straightened out to a really ugly vertical section with no bends as all.

This left me with two choices, cut the straight section off or try to bend it. I haven’t tested the limits on bending Australian natives, I guess there is only one way to learn.


  • This was going to be a fairly significant bend that could result is snapping
  • Australian natives are notorious for dropping a branch so I needed an exit strategy in case it went pear shaped.
  • This tree has beautiful soft bark similar to a Melaleuca so I wanted to protect that as much as possible.


To prevent snapping I did wrap the section to be bent in raffia. I always soak my raffia in water for about 30 minutes before using it for this technique. Result was I heard no cracking at all. Winning.

My exit strategy in case it all went pear shape was to start the raffia and bending above two small branches low on the trunk.

If the tree decides to drop the section I have bent hopefully the lower branches have survived and I can start again. This was one of my original options so nothing ventured nothing gained.

To protect the bark I wrapped the wire in Coban. I have wrapped wire in paper for Azalea wiring, however, this is the first time I have used Coban. Coban is used a lot by Physiotherapists and around the lower legs of horses.


I first saw it used on bonsai as an alternative to raffia by Craig Cousins at a BSS workshop demonstration in September 2005. I have never seen it used for this purpose.

To be honest this seems to have worked really well. It has given the wire a really nice soft coat that has protected the bark on the bonsai. The results of its effectiveness will be seen when I remove it.

To hold the bends I also used two opposing guy wires.


The final shape has lovely small bends and twists all the way up the trunk. I will re pot this tree slightly more vertical but keep it as a coastal weathered literati / slightly wind swept design. I have also left myself with a few branch options for the top of the tree.

Fingers crossed we see some new growth in September.

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