Gardenia Japonica Radicans – A Bonsai for Christmas

Gardenia Japonica Radicans bonsai: an amazing Christmas gift from my Mom. It arrived from Japan Saturday.

I’ve long been fascinated with bonsai cultivation. I’m not talking about the bogus, glued-at-the-base fake bonsais at Home Depot and low-grade nurseries. A correctly cultivated, true bonsai takes years to develop, is high maintenance, and lives outdoors most if not all of the year. If properly cared for, it lives for generations.

My mom gave me an early Christmas present last weekend: Gardenia Japonica Radicans - a gardenia bonsai from Japan. It is absolutely beautiful, green, glossy, and robust. It has been loved and carefully pruned and shaped for a long time.

But gardenia is tough to keep alive. I’ve tried it many times, and failed many times. I also tried keeping a good quality bonsai years ago, and failed after about 6 months.

So this gorgeous, double-edge sword is going to be a challenge. With the next paycheck, I’ll buy some acidic plant fertilizer for the acid-loving gardenia. I’m also going to buy a small bag of iron supplement. Iron deficiency is a very common problem with gardenia.

My husband and I decided last night to water this bonsai with distilled water. We don’t trust our well water with this delicate tree. So, we’re heading to Costco to stock up. I have a spray bottle filled with about 90 percent water and 10 percent neem oil. I’ll mist the tree daily with this mixture.

I’m always looking for winter gardening projects. This is the mother of them all. My Mom is always challenging me to learn more, work harder, and keep improving. I really appreciate this chance to keep a true Japanese bonsai alive and well in my care. 

Thanks Mom, I love you!

Live in peace.

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