Though technically related to the milkweed plant, jasmine, also known as star jasmine or confederate jasmine, is the perfect plant for bonsai. Native to Asia, including places like Korea, Vietnam, China, and Japan, this plant has a delicate flowering habit and shiny dark leaves.
The plant is often grown for its valuable oil, which can be extracted and used for perfume. As you might expect, this plant has a heavenly fragrance that makes it the perfect plant for indoor or outdoor growing alike.
Of course, its roots are also interesting to look at and to train. Because of this, it’s a plant you’ll want to add to your bonsai collection as soon as possible – and growing jasmine bonsai is likely easier than you think.
Interesting Facts about Jasmine Bonsai
|Flowering Time Length||Continuously when grown indoors|
|Scientific Name||Trachelospermum jasminoides|
Growing Jasmine Bonsai from Seed or by Propagation
Jasmine bonsai can be grown from seed but it’s best to start your plant by purchasing one that has already been trained to a bonsai container. This will ensure your plant can handle the unique conditions of bonsai growing.
How to Care for Jasmine Bonsai
Jasmine bonsai performs best when grown in high light conditions. If you grow it outdoors (something that is possible in most climates in the late spring and summer), just be sure to bring it indoors when temperatures drop below 45 degrees. Inside, your bonsai jasmine will thrive in front of a sunny window.
During the winter, it’s best to place your plant on a window that has southern exposure. Four to six hours of sunlight per day is ideal.
Jasmine plants do not like to be dried out. Water them before the soil looks dry and never let it get completely dry. Until you get used to watering your bonsai, you may need to use a moisture meter to get used to how much water the plant requires. Water liberally, until water starts to run out of the holes in the bottom of the container.
Humidity is also essential for this plant. You may want to place your plant on a shallow tray filled with gravel and water, which will provide moisture to the tree (without saturating its roots) as the water evaporates.
Fertilize your jasmine bonsai plant regularly. A general-purpose liquid fertilizer is perfect, but you may want to dilute it to half strength. Fertilize once a month when the plant is actively growing during the spring, summer, and fall months, but hold off on fertilizing during the dormant winter period. You may also choose to apply a foliar feeding to your plant, ideally by using a water-soluble fertilizer that you can apply every other month.
Potting and Repotting
You will need to repot your bonsai whenever the root system fills the pot in which it is currently growing. If you can see the roots poking out from the bottom of the pot, it’s time to consider repotting. Usually, this will mean about once every two to four years, although sometimes jasmine plants can go up to five.
Repot the plant in the midsummer, when the tree is least fragile. Remove the plant from the pot, including all of its soil. Trim about a third of the plant’s root mass and repot it in a new, larger pot. Make sure you thoroughly water afterward.
Pruning Jasmine Bonsai
Jasmine plants can be trimmed and pinched to control their growth. In most cases, it is best to pinch and trim new growth to the farthest point on the jasmine plant that you consider safe – never remove all of the new growth or more than a third of the plant at a time. You can pinch and trim throughout the year but you probably don’t need to worry about more formal pruning.
It’s difficult to give recommendations on how often you should pinch and trim, as these plants grow at different rates depending on the strength and vigor of the plant as well as the care provided to it. You will just want to keep an eye on each tree’s growth in order to get an idea of when it’s time to do some trimming.
Pests and Diseases
There aren’t many pests and diseases to which jasmine bonsai is prone besides those which are commonplace for indoor grown plants. Watch out for root rot and prevent it by providing proper watering and consider inspecting the plant regularly for pests like spider mites, aphids, and scale.
Where to Buy Jasmine Bonsai
It is best to purchase a jasmine bonsai tree that has been grown exclusively for that purpose. A common trap that many gardeners fall into when growing this plant is in purchasing regular star jasmine plants.
Although this can work, jasmine trees can be sensitive to heavy pruning and training and therefore, it’s best to purchase a jasmine bonsai from a specialty bonsai dealer who has already trained the jasmine plant to grow in a smaller container.
*image by pstedrak/depositphotos