In our latitudes, the gold larch is a real exotic and is mostly cultivated as a bonsai. We'll show you what to consider when planting.© Schwoab - Fotolia.com
In the botanical sense, the gold larch is not to be counted among the larches, but with the genus Pseudolarix it forms its own kind of pine family. The name gold larch suggests the attractive autumn colors. In common with the larch, the pine family has a needle fall in winter. Gold larches are a real rarity in our latitudes and are almost exclusively found in botanical gardens. Even in their home country of China, the gold larch (Pseudolarix amabilis) is on the list of endangered conifers. Cultivation of plants as outdoor bonsai is far more common, which is why we will focus on this in the text.
Small plant description
The gold larch is a deciduous plant that can grow up to 40 meters in height and often reaches a trunk diameter of almost two meters. The gray-brown bark that separates from the trunk in small plates catches the eye of old trunks. At up to four millimeters, the needles are significantly wider than those of the domestic larches. The shoot is lush green. Bloom begins in May. When they ripen in autumn, the cones disintegrate and the egg-shaped winged seeds are released. The soft, bushy needles turn bright yellow at first, later appear reddish and fall off before the golden larch goes into hibernation.
The original home of the gold larch is in the provinces of Jiangxi and Zhejiang, in eastern China. There the gold larch grows on moist, lime-poor soils at altitudes up to 1,500 meters. The plants were only introduced to Europe and North America in the middle of the 19th century and have remained a rarity there until today. Some specimens, which can be estimated to be more than 100 years old, are owned by Harvard University. While growth heights of 40 meters are not uncommon in China, cultivated specimens in Europe rarely reach heights of 10 meters. Gold larch has been on the Red List of Threatened Species since 2008.
Find the right location
Gold larches need a sunny and protected location. This also applies to bonsai cultivation. As an outdoor bonsai, the plant can be kept outdoors all year round. In a sunny location, the crop can produce an excess of oxygen and sugar. This ensures a growth spurt. The trunk forms and rain and wind ensure that the needles are solidified. This makes the plants more resistant to diseases and pests.
The plants love a sunny location, but should be protected from the blazing midday sun in hot summers. A wind-protected location is to be chosen in every season.
- no hot midday sun on hot days
Choose the ideal substrate
The plant's natural requirements are a fresh, loose and nutrient-rich soil. A conventional bonsai soil can be used for bonsai cultivation. In any case, it should be a neutral to slightly acidic substrate.
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" Tip: Gold larches cannot tolerate calcareous soil.
- neutral to slightly acidic
Planting gold larch
When is the ideal time to plant?
The best time to plant a larch is in October and November. There should be no frost on the planting day.
Step by step instructions1. Select location
2. Loosen the soil
3. Water the plant
4. Upgrade the floor
Dig out the planting hole 6. Insert the plant
7. Fill up the substrate
8. Close the planting hole
9. Press the floor lightly
10. Water the plant
If you are lucky enough to have a golden larch, you should do everything right when planting so that you can cultivate this rarity among the plants in a species-appropriate manner and make them an eye-catcher in the garden. The best results can be achieved with pre-grown young trees. These should have a size of about half a meter. Once the right location has been found, the soil should be loosened up. The trees need a loose, fresh substrate. The tree should be watered while the soil is being prepared. Place the gold larch in a container with water and only take out the plant when there are no more air bubbles.
" Tip: The substrate can be made more nutritious by adding humus and compost.
The planting hole must be excavated at least twice the size of the root ball. Then the tree is placed in the center of the planting hole. After filling the substrate, the earth is carefully trodden on.
The plants should be placed in a protected place from the wind. Nevertheless, it cannot hurt to provide the young plant with a support. To do this, strike a wooden pole into the ground at a suitable distance from the root ball and attach the tree to it with the help of cord or soft wire. After planting, the gold larch is easy to water.
Planting as a bonsai
Planting as a bonsai is easier. The first step is to choose the right planter. This should not be chosen too small and have water drainage holes in the floor. If you do not have a typical bonsai planter, a flat planter can also be used. The planter is filled with bonsai soil and the plant is placed in the center of the planter. Here, too, it is important to lightly press the soil and then to provide the plant with sufficient moisture.
The most important tips for planting at a glance
|Select location||Choose a sunny and sheltered location. Bonsai should be protected from the blazing midday sun in summer.|
|Prepare the substrate||The substrate should be loose and permeable. The gold larch needs a nutrient-rich substrate and thrives preferentially on lime-poor soils.|
|Make planting||When planting outdoors, careful soil preparation is essential. The soil should be loosened well and can be enriched with compost or humus. When planting the bonsai, choosing the right planter is crucial for growth and development.|
Repotting the gold larch - what should be considered?
If the gold larch is cultivated as a bonsai, transplanting is recommended every two years. The best time for this is spring. A larger planter must be chosen if the bowl is less than 2/3 of the height of the plant. Around two thirds of the used potting soil is replaced by new bonsai soil during transplanting.
" Tip: Bonsai soil is composed of lava chippings, akadama and pumice.
When transplanting gold larch, the substrate should never be completely replaced. With the mycorrhiza, the trees have a symbiotic fungus that promotes the growth of the plant. Transplanting offers the opportunity to check and prune the roots for their nature. This encourages the formation of a well-branched and therefore stable root system.