Most commonly used varieties for bonsai are:
Malpighia pendiculata Weeping Malpighia A dwarf variety used for cascade, weeping and small informal uprights. Pale pink flowers.
Malpighia glabra It has larger leaves and fruit, will make a nice larger specimen bonsai for they will have bigger trunks. Pale pink flowers.
Malpighia coccigera Holly Leafed Malpighia Very small leaves make it excellent for mame and shohin. Also good for root over rock plantings. A little darker pink flowers.
PRUNING... Malpighia will tolerate moderate root pruning and heavy top pruning. Always leave a few leaves on each limb when top pruning M. pendiculata to prevent die back. Not a problem with M. glabra and M. coccigera.
TRAINING... Wiring can be used but be careful for the branch is fairly brittle. Clip and grow is very important with this plant. If branches are allowed to grow too long, they will drop leaves at the back and have leggy bare growth. If this occurs, clip back to the last two leaves. It will break back from this, and you can continue to clip back as new growth appears. M pendiculata and M glabra bloom on new wood so let your growth tips grow out some for more flowers. M coccigera blooms on older wood, you can keep their growth tips pruned back.
WATERING... Malpighia pendiculata and glabra do not like to stay wet. M coccigera likes heavy watering.
LIGHT... Full sun is best for small leaves, blooms and fruit.
INSECT/DISEASE... Keep your Malpighia off the ground for they are susceptible to Nematodes. Scales, aphids and mites are rare but can occur.
REPOT... Minimum night temperature low to mid 60's. I have repotted thru September.
FERTILIZE... Heavy feeder during the spring and summer. Alternate between a balanced food and a super phosphate for more blooms. Watch for yellowing leaves. If this occurs, an application of Ironite will take care of it or use a bloom buster fertilizer with chelated iron.
SEASONAL... Protect below 40 degrees.
Courtesy of Doug & JoAnn Good