How to do NEBUSE for Crape Myrtle

サルスベリの根の選別 Crepe Myrtle

I sowed a lot of Crape Myrtle (Sarusuberi) last spring. As they are growing well, it is time to do NEBUSE. Nebuse is a technique to cultivate certain kind of trees (not all kind).

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Roots has nice and natural shape comparing with the trunk shaped with wire. “Nebuse” is an easy technique to reproduce such shapes.


Crape myrtle for the material; first ones are below. I sowed the seeds to plastic bottle in order to grow long roots.

ペットボトルのサルスベリIt looks like this.

ペットボトルのサルスベリの芽の状態This is the situation of buds at this moment. They have not started to open yet.

The other one in plastic pot.鉢植えのサルスベリ
This one grew so fat only after one year. I grew both of them for Nebuse material, so I did nothing like wiring.

How to Nebuse

Remove from plastic bottle

Remove the Crape Myrtles from the plastic bottle. Roots are growing so firmly, I even see a lot of them, so it might be not easy.

ペットボトルのサルスベリI tried to soften them but in vain; too much roots, too hard.

ペットボトルのサルスベリの根Looking the bottle from the bottom… so many roots inside. So, I decided to cut the bottle and take it off.

サルスベリのペットボトルを切るMake a nick with nipper…

サルスベリのペットボトルを切るAnd tear the bottle by hands..

サルスベリのペットボトルを切るEven though the bottle was removed, the soil is so hard because of the roots.

Massage the soil to remove it.

After removing the soil to a certain extent, make trees apart. Just give up thin roots to be cut off.

サルスベリの根をほぐすSeparate the trees one by one. You have to be patient!

サルスベリの根をほぐすRinse the roots in the water; now you see the shape of each root. Repeat this procedure, separate all the trees and soak them in the water so that they won’t get dried.

Remove from plastic pot

Let’s remove the other tree from the plastic pot. Only one Crape Myrtle is in the pot, so it must be much easier..

サルスベリの根をほぐすIt was quite easy.. but has so much amount of roots. Same as other ones, massage it softly and remove the soil.

サルスベリの根をほぐすNow unravel the roots like you comb your hair. Small thin roots may be cut, but don’t mind.

サルスベリの根をほぐすThen, cut THICK roots from the base and make them apart.

サルスベリの根をほぐすAs you cut the root off, you see the shape.

サルスベリの根をほぐすThis one is thickest. It has nice, unique shape. I really like it!

サルスベリの根On the other side there’s a root with rolling shape.. it is also unique, but looks unbalanced..

After the consideration, I cut it off.

Cut off the thick roots which has unique shape like this. The roots will be trunk in the future, so choose not strait, the ones with good and unique bends.

サルスベリの根を分解Soak the cut roots in the water.

Choosing roots and preparation for planting

After separating the roots, look and find the roots with nice looking. Cut off thin roots so that you can see the shape of the roots. Just leave the thin roots in the end.

サルスベリの根の選別For example, this. I’ve cut the thin roots off, but I left them in the end. This will be trunk and will have branches at the top. Actually this is the best one this time.

サルスベリの根の選別This one also looks nice.Do you see the thin roots at the end? I believe these thin roots help to absorb water. Many of books and websites of Bonsai say to cut them off as well, but I always do like this. It may not necessary though.

サルスベリの根の選別Something like this…

サルスベリの根の選別Cut off and…

サルスベリの根の選別I made it like this. Cut thin roots and the part you feel unnecessary.

I cut a lot of roots and chose nice parts only. In case the roots are not as thick as in the photos, they may not have buds.


Put soil a little bit in the plastic pot first and put the roots.

サルスベリの根伏せの植え付けThis is the one I like. It is necessary to expose the head (5mm~1cm), so adjust the position.

サルスベリの根伏せの植え付けLike this.

サルスベリの根伏せの植え付けPut the roots in the pot. The height should fit the pot.

サルスベリの根伏せの植え付けAdd soil gradually as adjusting position of the roots. Put short roots at this moment.

サルスベリの根伏せの植え付けAdd soil, adjust the position, then add soil again…

サルスベリの根伏せの植え付けDone. Try to put the soil among the roots as well.

水苔Sphagnum Moss..

水苔を水に浸すGrab it in your hand, soak it in the water like sponge. In the beginning it doesn’t absorb the water, but do it few times so that it will be wet and keep water inside.

サルスベリの根伏せPut the wet Sphagnum Moss on the pot. Try not to make space. I put a lot of them.

Now, the other ones. I prepared 500ml plastic bottle. I cut off upper part of it and made small holes to drain the water.

For some roots, I used wire to shape a little bit.


サルスベリの根伏せThis root has nice shape, doesn’t it?

サルスベリの根伏せSame as the plastic pot, put a little bit of soil first, and put roots and soil as adjusting position.


View from the side. You need to expose the head above the soil. It looks good. Then, put the Sphagnum Moss soared in the water on it without any space.

サルスベリの根伏せLike this.


Watering and care

After doing this, I gave A LOT OF water until the water comes out from the bottom gets clean and transparent. Leave the pots in bright place without direct sunshine. Watch the Sphagnum Moss and water them when it looks dried.

One more tip is that do not touch the Sphagnum Moss. I well understand that you want to see that is happening under Sphagnum Moss. But the new buts are very fragile, so moving Sphagnum Moss may harm them. Be patient!!

I hope new buds will appear in few months. Let’s wait and see!!


Crepe Myrtle