Gardenia bonsai is an evergreen shrub that is preferred for planting in small gardens and patios. The shrub generally grows to an average height of 2-3 feet and makes an excellent bonsai plant. This bonsai stays in full bloom throughout the year and would fill your living room with vibrant colors.
Caring for a Gardenia Bonsai
If you are planning an outdoor Gardenia bonsai it would necessitate a well aerated and well drained loamy soil for healthy growth. In US gardenia is known to grow well in hardy zones 7-10. It is best to prepare the soil with a blend of various soils to get the ideal mix required for growing the bonsai. Dig a hole in the soil in which you plan to plant your bonsai. Mix 1/3 coarse sand, builders sand would also suffice, 1/3 moisture-dried cow manure and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss and fill the hole with this mixture.
Take care to note that the manure you use should only be dehydrated and not in the form of a compost. Preferably it should have the numbers 2-1-2 on it. After you have filled your hole with the mixture you should build a sort of a dam around the plant with the remaining mixture. For the next 6 weeks regularly fill this dam with water. After the six weeks are up you should mulch the area around the plant but not up to the trunk of the Gardenia bonsai.
For an indoor Gardenia bonsai the soil preparation is slightly different. The hole should be filled with a mixture of ½ parts of peat moss and ½ parts of coarse sand. For indoor gardenia do not use cow manure and utilize an indoor plant fertilizer instead. The bonsai grows very well in partial and full sun. Keep the soil moist at all times. A dry soil is not recommended for the bonsai. Zone 7-9 temperature is ideal for this bonsai.
Gardenia bonsai requires regular feeding for every 2-3 weeks during spring and autumn. The bonsai need not be fed when in bloom. Use fertilizers that are formulated for acid-loving plants and use it in ½ of its strength. You may also administer chelated iron about 2-3 times annually. Summer is the best time to take cuttings from the bonsai for propagation. Midsection cuttings or tip cuttings with wood of 6 to 8 weeks old plant is ideal. Keep the cutting around 5 inches long preferably with some leaves on it. Propagation can also be done by seeds or grafting.
For protecting the delicate branches from damage you should prune the Gardenia bonsai during end of spring to autumn. If the bonsai is budding avoid wiring at that time and keep the wiring restricted to the lignified shoots only. For younger plants, wait till the young shoot has grown a few leaves before you prune it. It is best to prune your bonsai after flowering for augmenting the growth of new shoots and buds.
Protect your Gardenia bonsai from stem canker, aphids, sooty mold, spider mites, scales, whiteflies, mealy bugs, nematodes and cotony cushions. Repot the bonsai every 2 years post blooming and maintain the pH of the soil to 5-6.5. Prune about 10% of the roots and trim the branches for shaping and designing the bonsai.