Newbie with bonsai gardenia

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Newbie with bonsai gardenia

Post  DaleCleary on Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:12 am

Hi, Bonsai experts,

I really need help. I received a bonsai gardenia as a gift in June. No directions other than watering, sun, etc. I have followed the directions I got and have been amazed because I haven't killed it. Although I'm generally good with plants, I have a terrible history with gardenias. I was so intimidated when I got this. It would be particularly sad to kill a bonsai gardenia! However, it has (of course) dropped the few buds it had.

Anyway, it is now green and apparently healthy. It has grown over the past two months. As I imagine you might have guessed, the new leaves are bigger than the others and the branches are losing their nice, compact shape. I know nothing about bonsai. Should I be pruning? There are no wires on it... What do I do to try to encourage it to bud again (dream world?!) Is there a not-too-expensive beginner's book you recommend? I thought about just going to a book but I think I need some help with this particular kind of bonsai so I figured I would come to you.

I really appreciate your help! Dale


Last edited by DaleCleary on Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:18 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Misspelling)

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Re: Newbie with bonsai gardenia

Post  FrankP999 on Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:20 am

Gardenia only bloom once a year so too much pruning now will eliminate next year's flowers.

It is helpful to let us know where you live so climate can be considered.

And by the way, its spelled bonsai with an S not with a Z

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Newbie with bonsai gardenia

Post  DaleCleary on Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:29 am

I noticed the spelling error and corrected it- I hoped I had done it before anyone noticed! Guess not!

I live outside of Philadelphia PA. I have the plant in an E/SE facing window.

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Re: Newbie with bonsai gardenia

Post  fiona on Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:40 am

Hi Dale. I notice you have just recently joined us here at IBC. Welcome to you - I hope you get a good response to your initial query and of course to all the others you will ask now that have been bitten by the bonsai bug.

I wonder if you would be kind enough to put the location details you gave us in that last post into your Profile. Just click where it says Profile at the top of the page and update as per the on screen instructions. Many thanks in advance for doing that.

Once again, welcome to the forum.

regards

Fiona

(PS: I do the hello and welcomes - I leave the answering of the question to those who know the plant Smile )

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Newbie with Bonsai Gardenia

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:23 am

I am sorry to inform you that, contrary to all logic, the most successful gardenia I know of sits in front of my sister-in-law's window in an adobe house in New Mexico. Surprised
Go figure. Rolling Eyes
Your gardenia should have been outdoors in the shade all summer. The two methods to keep the leaves small and the growth compact are adequate light and frequently pinching off the ends of the branches. When fall comes, you will have to figure out a way to give it enough light and humidity for the winter.
The nearest bonsai society will help you with the details.
PHILADELPHIA Area- Pennsylvania Bonsai Society
Contact: Linda Brant
E-mail - lbrant@comcast.net
http://pabonsai.org

Gardenia is acid loving. Feed it Miracid. Don't keep it too warm.
The best beginners' book I know of is the Sunset Bonsai book. It should be available in your local library or book store.
Iris

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Re: Newbie with bonsai gardenia

Post  JimLewis on Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:32 am

The best beginners' book I know of is the Sunset Bonsai book. It should be available in your local library or book store

That's very true, but unfortunately Sunset appears to have allowed it go go out of print after 20+ years and 4 or 5 editions. There are plenty of used copies available, though.

Ortho has "All About Bonsai" which is pretty good, too.

On Gardenia. As Iris says, you need to have it outside as much as possible. I grew mine in full sun in Florida; I'd think they'd need it in Pa., too. In the winter, a sunny enclosed porch or a south-facing window should be OK. But keep an eye out for whiteflies; they love Gardenia.

Good luck, and welcome to the IBC.

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