gardenia bonsai

How to Grow and Care for Gardenia Bonsai Plant

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A subtropical evergreen shrub, the gardenia is a beautiful plant that is also known as cape jasmine. Native to the tropical regions of South Africa and Asia, it’s a popular houseplant for many people.

Growing gardenia as a bonsai tree is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for a bonsai plant that has lovely white flowers, glossy green leaves, and orange fruits (when pollinated). 

bonsai boy

A dwarf variety of Gardenia jasminoides produces fragrant white flowers and leaves that contain some toxins – make sure your pets can’t get to it! 

Although gardenia bonsai plants don’t like to be moved to new locations and disturbing them too much can cause their buds to fall off, there are plenty of wonderful reasons to consider growing these beauties in your bonsai collection. 

Interesting Facts about Gardenia Bonsai

Height8-12”
Width6-10”
SunlightFull, indirect sunlight
Flowering Time LengthSpring
Lifespan50 years
Scientific NameGardenia jasminoides

Growing Gardenia Bonsai from Seed or by Propagation

Bonsai gardenias are easy to propagate from cuttings. While most bonsai gardeners do this by rooting the cuttings in soil, you can even root them in a glass of water – that’s how easy it is to do this! 

To do this, just cut off a small six-inch piece of stem from a healthy plant. Dip it in a bit of rooting hormone.  Place it in a jar of water and you’ll see roots in a matter of days. Once there are roots, you can repot it in rich soil designed for acid-loving plants. 

How to Care for Gardenia Bonsai Tree

Here are some caring tips you can follow:

Sunlight

Place your bonsai gardenia in a place where it will receive lots of warm air and good air circulation. It should be well lit but make sure you do not place your gardenia bonsai in direct sunlight, keeping it in indirect rays to avoid leaf scorch. Temperatures should be between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, again, with good ventilation and not too many drafts. 

Watering

An acid-loving plant, gardenias are best watered with rainwater which is naturally a bit acidic. However, if you are growing your gardenia bonsai indoors, you can easily get the same effect by avoiding overwatering and using a fertilizer specifically for this purpose. Gardenia bonsai trees like high humidity and can be spritzed often to keep their leaves supple and moist. 

Fertilizing

Use a fertilizer formulated specifically for acid-loving plants about twice a month during the main part of the growing season, from the spring until the fall. You can drop down to fertilizing just once per month in the winter. 

Potting and Repotting

Repot your gardenia bonsai every other year (or at the very least, every three years) in the spring. Gently prune the roots, removing no more than one-third, and then transplant your gardenia bonsai into a container with soil that is designed for acid-loving plants. 

Pruning Gardenia Bonsai

Gardenia bonsai needs only to be pruned after it has flowered. You can remove any dead or dried up flowers if there are no fruits. You can wire twigs and branches in the early spring, during its first period of growth. This is when the plant will be most flexible and amenable to being manipulated with these techniques. 

Pests and Diseases

There are just a few pests and diseases that are known to affect gardenia bonsai trees. These include scale, mealy bugs, and aphids, all of which are common on houseplants. Placing your gardenia bonsai in a place where it receives good air circulation can help to prevent these pests, as can limited overwatering and overfetilizing. 

Watch out for diseases like sooty mold, which thrives on the honeydew produced by the insects listed above. It can be treated with a fungicide but in most cases is far easier to prevent than it is to treat after it has set in.

One problem to which gardenia bonsai plants are prone is bud drop. This usually happens right before blooming and can be caused by various factors, typically improper temperatures, insufficient light, or over or underwatering. 

Where to Buy Gardenia Bonsai

You can purchase gardenia plants for use in bonsai at most nurseries and gardening supply stores. However, you may have more success (and receive healthier plants) if you purchase gardenia plants that are grown specifically for bonsai from a specialty bonsai dealer. 

Up next: How to care for gardenia plant

*image by motyahouse.gmail.com/depositphotos

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