If you have a green thumb, you may already have many plants and herbs in your garden or home. However, adding Bonsai can enrich the view in style and is often a head-turner. One such plant to consider is the Gardenia Bonsai tree, not only for its easy maintenance but also for its beauty and calming fragrance.
What Are Gardenia Trees?
Gardenia trees are evergreen braided or single-stem shrubs that grow as trees. They have thin trunks with a round crown of leathery, glossy leaves and beautiful white flowers.
A Bonsai tree Gardenia typically grows to seven feet tall, although some can be as short as two feet. Its width can be two to three feet, and one of the beautiful things about this tree is that it can grow as an indoor plant or a flowering plant in a temperate climate.
The Gardenia genus is a flowering plant within the coffee family Rubiaceae. It is native to the sub-tropical and tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Madagascar.
It is of the sub-family Ixoroideae and the tribe Gardenieae, in the order Gentianales, under the kingdom Plantae. You can classify the Gardenia tree under four clades: asterids, eudicots, angiosperms, and tracheophytes.
Appearance and Characteristics of the Gardenia Tree
A Gardenia tree is easy to identify if you know how it looks. It is not typically a large tree, growing only to about seven feet tall; some species may stay as small as two feet tall. It spreads as wide as three feet in most cases and rarely beyond that point. The reason is that the tree begins as a shrub. Hence, it is only by careful trimming that growers make Bonsai trees out of Gardenia. Also, the right conditions are another key factor.
The Gardenia tree usually has a round crown of glossy, dark green leaves and brilliant-white flowers with a uniquely strong scent. The leaves are leathery to the touch and may appear in whorls of fours. They are, on average, ten inches long and 15 inches wide, which means the leaves may be between 2 to 19 inches long and three to 25 inches broad.
The flowers may be in clusters or appear alone on a tree, and they may be a clear white or a pale yellow. On a mature flower, the corolla or perianth, the non-reproductive part of the flower, is tubular-based. The flower may have between five and twelve broad petals between 2 and 4 inches wide.
Quick Summary of the This Species
- The Gardenia tree is an evergreen shrub that thrives in the tropics
- The shrub can become a tree with the proper growing methods
- It does not grow very tall, typically capping at seven feet
- Native to Asia, Africa, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Madagascar
- It has a round dark green crown with pale yellow or white flowers, typically strongly-scented
How to Care for Bonsai Tree Gardenia
Several factors play a hand when caring for a Bonsai tree Gardenia, and each is equally important.
As much as the Bonsai Gardenia loves light, it does not thrive in direct sunlight. Therefore, keep it in a location where it can also catch a lot of shade. If you are growing it indoors, consider using artificial lights and have a method of exposing it to enough heat from the sun to grow.
If you are growing the Gardenia Bonsai in your house or garden, it is crucial to ensure you regularly water it. The plant loves moist soil and may not thrive if there is a shortage of water. That may mean constant attention, especially if you have more than one of these plants.
The plant also loves acidic water, so you don’t have to shield it from rainwater. However, it also means checking the soil for the correct pH often. Furthermore, keep the leaves as moist as possible to encourage plant growth.
Humidity and Temperature
The temperature must always stay warm because the plant typically thrives in the tropics. So, bring the plant indoors if the weather suddenly turns cool. In the same way, it does not thrive in humid weather; the leaves may wilt, and the flowers will droop if exposed to high humidity.
The area you place the plant must be airy with a temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 23 degrees Celsius). The plant cannot thrive in a temperature below 59 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius. Therefore, keep the windows shut as much as possible in the area where you keep the Gardenia tree to prevent cold draught from reaching it.
Fertilizer and Soil
Since the Gardenia tree loves acidic soil, it is best to use liquid fertilizer. Check the fertilizer label for the application instructions, but it typically requires that you apply it every two weeks from spring through to autumn. In winter, apply the fertilizer once every month.
Check for chlorosis since the plant is prone to have it; you may need something extra to keep it at bay. The soil must be acidic enough without killing the plant, and the moisture level must be sufficient. Add some agricultural sulfur to the soil if it is too acidic. Use enough depth considering the species to accommodate its growth over time.
Cleaning the tree requires removing extended leaves, but you must ensure the flowers blossom before doing so. Do not clean the tree when it is in the blooming season to avoid killing it, and only when there is a threat of excessive growth. Otherwise, refrain from interrupting the natural process.
You must use a three-inch pot for your Gardenia tree. It is vital to repot the plant every two or three years, preferably in springtime. Note that it helps the tree if you prune the roots before repotting it. However, there should be no excessive pruning, so the plant does not die.
Disease and Pest
Scales, aphids, and mealy bugs are some common pests that attack the Gardenia tree. However, planting it in an area with excellent air circulation helps to keep the disease-causing pests at bay. Use fungicides to treat and kill the pests as soon as you notice them.
Tools for Pruning Bonsai Tree Gardenia
You’ll need several tools to prune a Bonsai tree Gardenia. First of all, get a pair of pruning shears or hand shears. They come in handy for taming dense leaves and clearing areas that are hard to reach. Another tool is the root cutter for when you need to prune the root while repotting, and it is suitable for soil-covered thick roots.
The Bonsai shears are also handy if you cannot find hand shears. They are small and easy to handle, even for beginners. The shears are also great for reaching into thick foliage to prune it.
How to Prune Bonsai Tree Gardenia
You can use a pair of Bonsai shears, hand shears, or sharp scissors to prune the tree. However, wait until the plant sprouts around four to six leaves. Then, be careful when pruning to not halt the progress too much.
It helps to prune the tree into three primary stems to keep the classic Bonsai look and encourage growth. However, you must prune it moderately, not when the tree is blooming. Do it only when there is excessive growth and only between spring and fall.
How to Wire Bonsai Tree Gardenia
Use a paper-coated wire or any type specifically made for Bonsai trees. Start from the tree’s base and wrap it upward until you reach the branch that requires trimming. Keep the wire loose to prevent scarring the tree. Then, leave the wire in place for about six months or as long as needed to shape the branches. However, do not wire a plant you recently repotted.
How to Make Cuts to Bonsai Tree Gardenia
When cutting excess branches from the stem, do not make the cuts too close to the trunk. Keep the cuts a few inches away to not remove any of the branches by accident. Cutting it too close to the stem or trunk may damage the tree and cause it to wither. The same applies when cutting excess foliage; leave some parts behind for better growth.
Bonsai Tree Gardenia Styles
A Bonsai tree Gardenia may have a full leaf crown with flowers sparsely scattered in it. There may also be flower clusters, which you can opt to leave or trim per your liking. Some may have only three main stems, while others may sprout more. Also, you can aim to have only one strong stem with many branches.
Bonsai tree Gardenia is a small shrub you can shape into a lovely tree with white flower petals. Follow our detailed planting, growing, and repotting instructions to make proper Bonsai. Also, moderately prune it and wire it as needed. Excessive pruning can kill the plant, and wrong wiring can change its shape or stunt its growth. Therefore, don’t rush when performing these feats for the first few times. Later on, you’ll develop the skills to notice when you need to act and how far you should go.