Chojubai Notes: Part 2

After the major period of flowering in the cooler months of the year, ‘Chojubai’ Dwarf Flowering Quince will begin to grow. At the end of this period the plant is usually multi-tasking, flowering and growing. What you will see first are whorl growths of several leaves. These do not have an extension. About the time the tree begins slowing down on flowering, the major growth period ramps up and it will create extensions. They start as a pinkish white bud that grows fatter.

chojubai extension 2

Two types of growth on Chojubai: Whorl growth which does not extend, and shoot growth which does. There is only one shoot growth in this photo. All the others are whorls. These may produce flower buds, or might later in the year extend themselves.

chojubai extension

In spring you want to see many extensions on your Chojubai. Not all tips will extend, though, just about 10 percent of them.

What do we do, then, with our Chojubai at this time of year?

  • Let those extensions run freely!
  • No pinching…
  • Then, when they harden off (usually around June), take your bud scissors, the skinny pointy ones, and cut them off, leaving a stub of about 1/2″ (1 cm), which will have as many as three and as few as one leaf on it. That’s on an established tree. A young tree is another story. You may want to leave extensions on for a year to build trunk caliper. Most Chojubai will have a second flush of extensions over the summer, but there won’t be as many.

Why do we let the extensions run?

  • They build energy for the tree, and it will flower better, too
  • You can develop your branching, and create more ramification

What if we’re not seeing these extensions?

  • Be sure the tree is getting enough water and fertilizer. They like both.
  • Make sure your tree is in soil that is not compacted, or too fine
  • Upsize your container
  • Stop complaining! Make those changes, and wait. Chojubai is very responsive to changes in husbandry.

Want more about Chojubai? Take a look at Chojubai Notes: Part 1

Chojubai Test #372

Continuing our tradition of sharing the worst, most abysmal results from Chojubai inspired experiments…here’s Bobby trying out our Chojubai Test #372: Chojubai Chai. Given our multiple brewings and tastings, it’s probably wise not to patent our ingredients: Organic Chojubai petals, cardamom, sugar, organic moss shavings, non-organic nickel tool plating, used organic fertilizer, organic vegan earthworm castings. We tried, but, admittedly, not nearly hard enough-



  1. Manny says:


    Your posts on Chojubai are what made me buy four plants from Chris yesterday. 3 year old plants in 1 gallon containers. What would be your suggestion to develop these trees over the next ten years. Ground? large pot? keep them in smaller pots and upsize every couple of years? I don’t plan to have them in Bonsai pot for at least a decade but any suggestions would help


    • crataegus says:

      Wonderful! I’d put them in Anderson flats or boxes, so that’s about a 5 times larger upscale in pot size. If you want larger trees. Let extensions grow and wire and cut back for angle changes. If you have lots of sun, water, fertilizer, and large soil size, you should be able to do this twice a year. I don’t recommend ground because you won’t easily be able to work on them very often.

      • Louie says:

        Great post & thanks for your time. Its ok to move a 3-4 year chojubai from 1 gallon to an Anderson flat, as I read it?.?.. Took your advice last year and moved a few into a pumice/akadama blend and they grew like crazy little beasts. I know thats not their rep/M.O., but never look a gift horse in the mouth I guess. (100% organic fert and lots of it)

      • crataegus says:

        Well done!
        Chojubai under the right husbandry will put on one foot of growth or even more a year. They don’t thicken up much, but extension, ya, they’re quite good at that!
        Yes, especially if you’re after a larger finished tree, moving from a one gallon to an Anderson (about 4 1/2 gallons) is perfect.
        Lots of fertilizer is great for them.

  2. Manny says:

    Thanks for the reply. That’s really helpful and I’ll plant them in Anderson flats.

    Any suggestion on the soil to use? I have buckets of red lava, pumice and bags of akadama so I can come up with any combination of soil. I was thinking 50% pumice, 25% red lava and 25% akadama….

    • crataegus says:

      Your soil mix will work fine. If you can, add more akadama. Put some rather coarse soil on the bottom as they are like azaleas and pines, they don’t like wet feet (although they like water…) Do put some shredded sphagnum, orchid moss, on top though. They have fine roots near the surface.

  3. dick benbow says:

    I’ve purchased Chojubai (red) from all over this country. What i discovered was one ( i don’t remember from whom I got it) the bloom was a tad smaller then the others and really truely red. My other ones are more orangeish in hue. my trees have been repotted several times so it’s not different soil/PH. Has anyone else noticed besides the difference in bark roughening, that the color varies of the bloom?

    • crataegus says:

      Yes, there are many strains of Chojubai and flower color has a full range. For the reds, blood red to lighter red and then the orange side of things. Sometimes the flower size will range quite a bit on the same plant, from quite small to twice that size. In the same flowering period. There is very little that is not variable for these rascals! Lots of genetics out there under one roof.

  4. Sly says:

    Just ordered a few Chojubais! Very informative blog Mike!

  5. What particle size for soil should one target for these plants?

  6. backcountrydan says:

    Michael, my chojubai is doing well, but there are a few areas that are budding out very weak and small. Is it better to leave the runners on the rest of the tree for energy, or to shorten them and try balancing some energy towards the weak branches?

  7. shay cohen says:

    Hi Michael,
    Love your posts on chojubai, your blog in general and looking forward to reading your book!
    I have a question, The variety and genetics is based on growing from different seeds? They do grow from seeds right? Is there a way to differentiate or know if the seedlings I have are chojubai or not?
    Regards from Israel,

    • crataegus says:

      Hello Shay, I am not sure about the genetic variability from seeds; all the seeds I’ve grown have created something very unlike a red chojubai, more like a white, which is coarser. I think the species likely sports easily, so there are genetic shifts that happen on one branch. Then a cutting is made and that variation continues in a separate plant. There are quite a few strains out there. But I doubt they were created by seed. Just a guess.

  8. Farid Ours says:


    First of all thank you for your good articles…

    What could be the reason(s) if a chojubai doesn’t flowering ?

    In advance thanks for your answer(s)

  9. Corrado Vasquez says:

    OMGH, my chojubai leaves are very light colored like a yellowish instead of green.All the leaves. IS this from lack of Nitrogen or iron or too much watering? Its in shade half the day .

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