Tamarindus Indica, the common tamarind tree is a perennial tropical tree, growing up to a maximum height of about 25 metres. The tree needs bright sunlight, and will be adapted to almost all soil types. The tamarind is very common in tropical African countries , and also it can be found in many South Asian countries, cultivated for shade, food and for making traditional medicines.The brown coloured pulp, with a combined sour and sweet taste, extracted from mature pods are used for adding flavour to cuisines in many countries.It is a common sight in some parts of southern India , the tamarind tree planted on both sides of the road, for shade.The beautiful dome shaped tree with weeping branches bearing ever green small foliages and pod like fruits, make it the favourite of Bonsai enthusiasts. According to ‘vastu’, it is auspicious to have a tamarind tree in the south – west side of the house .
Better way for propagation is through germination of mature seeds. Stem cuttings and grafting can also be tried , but the former is the best. Soak the well dried mature seeds in warm water overnight before sowing, so as to soften the seed coats which helps speedy germination. Sow the seeds in a pot containing loamy soil , and gently water regularly . The seeds will germinate within ten to fifteen days. Keep the seedling in the same pot for about two or three months with regular watering and adding moderate quantity of diluted liquid fertiliser.
Tamarind pods and seeds.
Transfer the seedling carefully to a training pot. Keep it in shade for a few days to adapt with the new environment. Once the roots are fixed, and new foliages begin to appear, shift the pot gradually from diffused to direct sunlight . From here begins the transformation of your tamarind to a bonsai. As the plant grows, remove carefully unnecessary branches and buds, and leave only the ones required for your bonsai. By wiring the branches, according to your imagination , your bonsai can be given an artistic look. Do periodic pruning and pinching for retaining the shape. Check the potting medium regularly , by removing extra roots and replacing the soil with added fertiliser.
Tamarind bonsai under training – wind swept.
A few year’s careful training can change your tamarind to a beautiful piece of art, and the plant can be transferred to an original, well drained bonsai pot. Remember, caring is a must to keep your bonsai healthy and beautiful .