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The Gardenia comes from South Africa and enchants here with its white flowers, which appear from June to September. Since gardenias are well tolerated by pruning, they are suitable for breeding as bonsai. However, maintenance is not easy.

The gardenia makes an impressive bonsai

Gardenia tolerates pruning well

The gardenia is characterized by a good cutting tolerance. It tolerates frequent pruning and recovers quickly.

Design forms of the gardenia as bonsai

Gardenia can be grown as a bonsai in very different forms:

  • single stem
  • multi-stemmed
  • cascade shape
  • semi-cascade
  • freely upright

When is the gardenia cut as a bonsai?

While the gardenia is still young, prune it continuously. As soon as five or more leaves have formed on one shoot, shorten the branches so that only two to three leaves remain.

Only cut older bonsai until August. Otherwise, remove the shoots that will form next year's flowers.

Always cut directly above an eye that is pointing outwards.

What should be considered when wiring?

Gardenias that are grown as bonsai can be shaped quite well with wires. Do not wire until the shoots are half lignified. Start wiring in October and remove the wires in February before the growth phase begins. This will prevent the wire from growing in.

Wiring flowering shoots can cause the gardenia to shed its flowers.

The right location for gardenias

Gardenias like it very bright, but do not tolerate direct sun well. If you grow the bonsai in the flower window, you should protect it from direct midday sun.

In summer you can also put the gardenia outside in the garden. You just have to get them indoors in time, before the temperatures outside drop too low.

How to care for gardenia as a bonsai

In order for the gardenia to thrive as a bonsai, it needs a lot of care:

  • pour properly
  • fertilize sufficiently
  • repot regularly
  • watch out for pest infestation
  • winter frost-free

Pouring with finesse

The gardenia tolerates neither waterlogging nor complete drought. Water whenever the top layer of the substrate has dried slightly. Do not leave water in the planter.

To encourage flowering, you should occasionally spray the gardenia with water.

Only use lime-free water for watering and spraying. The gardenia does not get lime at all. It is best to water with rainwater that should be at room temperature. Alternatively, you can also use still mineral water for watering.

Properly fertilize gardenia as bonsai

From March, fertilize the gardenia at fortnightly intervals. Special rhododendron fertilizers or bonsai fertilizers are suitable. Make sure that the fertilizer is lime-free.

When is repotting necessary?

The bonsai is repotted in spring. It is sufficient if the plant is placed in a new planter every two to three years. You should always repot the gardenia only when the pot is fully rooted.

Carefully remove the gardenia from the old pot. Shake off the old substrate. Prune the roots to limit growth.

Plant the gardenia in a new planter that is slightly larger than the previous one. Use slightly acidic rhododendron soil for the new pot. Loosen the substrate with some sand or gravel to make it permeable to water.

Prevent brown leaves and falling inflorescences

Brown leaves on gardenias indicate iron deficiency. Prevent by occasionally adding some iron to the irrigation water. Make sure that the plant is not too damp. Wet soil promotes iron deficiency.

Gardenias are very sensitive to drafts and relocation. They react to this with falling inflorescences.

Place the pot in a place where it is protected from drafts. Avoid moving the bonsai to another place more often.

Check regularly for pest infestations

Gardenias are also not easy to keep because they are quickly attacked by pests. Often occur:

  • scale insects
  • aphids
  • thrips
  • Vine weevil (when located outdoors)

Therefore, examine the bonsai regularly and combat any pest infestation immediately.

Overwinter gardenia frost-free as bonsai

Gardenias that are not hardy do not rest in winter. Nevertheless, you should keep the plant a little cooler from autumn. Winter temperatures of 15 to 17 degrees are ideal. Under no circumstances should the gardenia get frost.

Water a little more sparingly in winter. You should also fertilize the bonsai during this time. It is sufficient if you fertilize the gardenia at monthly intervals from September to February.


Despite its name Gardenia jasminoides, the gardenia has nothing to do with jasmine. It owes this name to the flowers, which exude a very pleasant scent. The warmer the location during flowering, the stronger the scent of the gardenia.

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