How to Care for a Gardenia Bonsai Plant

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The gardenia produces fragrant scents and colorful blooms. In the garden, its colorful blooms demand attention and are often used as landscape centerpieces. As bonsai, the gardenia is a tender and, at times, finicky tree that requires generous attention and care for ideal results.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer
  • Keep your gardenia bonsai in a warm, sunny location with temperatures that never fall below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose a indoor location with full, bright sunlight or an outdoor location with partial shade. Bring your outdoor bonsai indoors in fall, just before the temperatures begin to cool. Gardenia bonsais thrive in temperatures between 68 F and 74 F.

  • Water your gardenia bonsai regularly to maintain an evenly moist, but not saturated, soil environment. Check the soil’s moisture levels daily, especially during the hot summer months. Gardenia bonsai loves moisture, so irrigate just before the soil begins to dry. Be vigilant during the hot, dry summer months as gardenia may require multiple irrigation in one day.

  • Feed this acid-loving bonsai with a fertilizer especially designed for acid-loving plants. Apply the fertilizer applications once a month from late spring through mid-fall, but never while the gardenia is in bloom.

  • Remove the gardenia bonsai’s dead and dying branches and stems during the dormancy period, after the blooms have finished flowering. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to make flush cuts. Cut back the gardenia’s vigorously growing branches to develop shape. Trim back its vigorously growing branches periodically during the growing season to maintain shape and prevent a leggy appearance.

  • Replenish its soil environment every other year during the early spring, just before the onset of the growing season. Create an acidic loam with a pH that rests between 5.0 and 6.5. Repot the gardenia in the freshly mixed loam without root pruning. Water the gardenia immediately to promote a good establishment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never allow the gardenia bonsai’s soil to dry out completely.

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