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Serissa bonsai


A Serissa is often cared for as an indoor bonsai. On a snow rose bonsai, the many small white flowers (June-July) are very decorative and beautiful to look at. This bonsai can be kept in the apartment all year round.

The care of Serissa bonsai is sometimes described as not too easy. We can not confirm that from our work in our bonsai nursery. When taking care of a Serissa bonsai, the following must be kept in mind: Very light and cool in winter, in summer outside with plenty of fertilizer, repotting at the beginning of March.

This tree species is a popular bonsai due to its vigor, the great flowers and the naturally small, shiny green leaves. If a snow rose is kept very light, it is suitable as a bonsai for beginners.


A Serissa foetida bonsai needs a lot of bonsai fertilizer in the growing season from April to October because of the intensive growth and abundant flowers. During this time you can fertilize with an organic liquid fertilizer in the amount recommended on the packaging. In the rest of the year only fertilize when your Serissa bonsai is placed on a very bright and relatively warm place.

The Biogold bonsai fertilizer and the Hanagokoro bonsai fertilizer offered in the shop are also well suited for the fertilization of a Serissa bonsai and are easy to use.


Serissa bonsai do not like too much or too little water. The Serissa is sensitive to the drying of the substrate. On the other hand, it does not tolerate waterlogging. Good you take a substrate with good drainage effect which is poured regularly. It should be allowed to dry off the soil surface slightly between the individual waterings.

In our experience, a ball shower is well suited to pour indoor bonsai. Diving of the entire root balling is also very good. Unfortunately the water dripping afterwards through the drainage holes on the windowsill and make this dirty. By a bonsai pot drip tray (is supplied in many cases with the indoor bonsai equal) this can be easily avoided.

Even in winter the Serissa sholud be evenly moist.


A very bright location is important. Direct sun is well tolerated. During the summer months (June to early September), a Serissa bonsai can be outdoors, preferably half-shady. Even in winter, the location should be very bright (the warmer the place is the brighter the place must be).


As a typical indoor tree the Serissa is not frost-resistant but can be outdoors from June to September. In winter, the plant should be allowed a break in growth by a stand at about 10-12°C. For a short time even temperatures below 6°C are well tolerated. If a Serissa is overwintered at temperatures higher than 16-18°C, a nighttime lowering of the temperature is necessary. If there is no break in growth, this plant is susceptible to disease.


Young Serissa plants are replanted every 2-3 years, older 3-5 years. The best potting time is in early March. It is a slight root incision to make (occurring odor led to the name foetida = stinking). Dead roots are completely removed. Often a Serissa bonsai must be repotted after purchase, as many of the imported plants are in a very loamy substrate, which is not well suited for home maintenance.

The best is a well-drained substrate that is rich in nutrients. From the shop offer we can recommend the japanese bonsai soils. The combination of Akadama soil with the Biogold bonsai fertilizer is appropriate.

Diseases, Pests

Sometimes the Serissa bonsai is attacked by spider mites, now and then by aphids. If it comes to mass infestation can be treated with the usual means against spider mites and aphids.


Cuttings stuck in water or directly in soil gets new roots very well. Slightly lignified cuttings from early summer are particularly suitable. If they are put directly into soil - higher soil temperature and watering with Superthrive seems to promote rooting. But it seems to be not necessary.



The Serissa tree is a very often held as a bonsai and can be styled only by pruning and not necessarily be wired.

If you want to wire a bonsai make sure that the bonsai wire does not grow into the branch. It often has to be removed after 2-3 months. Only the already slightly woody branches should be wired. Be careful - the branches break easily. The best time to wire is the growing season from May to September.

When the bonsai wire starts to press in, you have to unwire the Serissa bonsai. If the unwired branch does not yet hold the position securely, it is best to rewire immediately.


Usually, a Serissa bonsai is brought into the desired shape only by pruning with a sharp bonsai shear. Branches can be cut throughout the year. A pruning into the old wood is possible and mostly every 2-3 years also necessary (more compact growth). Serissa willingly sprouts out of the old wood. Shoots are cut from 3-4 pairs of leaves to 1-2 pairs of leaves.


Often this plant is designed in broom form (Hokidachi) or free upright (Moyogi). The Serissa is well suited for the root over rock form due to its beautiful roots.

Matching bonsai pots

Glazed bonsai pots are best suited for Snow rose bonsai. Since the Serissa is not a hardy outdoor bonsai you do not necessarily need to take a frost-proof, handmade bonsai pots. The inexpensive bonsai pots for indoor bonsai are often suitable. Although it should be pointed out here the quality of these cheap pots cannot keep up with the handmade bonsai pots.

Unglazed bonsai pots are less suitable. If an unglazed pot is being considered then it is best to choose one from the handmade pots. Here the range of different clay colors is much larger. For large bonsai, you can find suitable trays under Large Bonsai Trays.

Serissa bonsai with its rounded crown fits quite well in an oval bonsai pot. Rectangular bonsai pots are usually less suitable. For rectangular pots, we would choose a potl that has slightly rounded corners or possibly playful pot feet.

Plastic bonsai pots are suitable pots for prebonsai in the growing phase. The dark brown color of these pots does not go very well with the light gray trunk of the Serissa. These plastic pots are impact-resistant and UV-stable and unbeatably cheap. For 2-3 year old young plants in the nursery, it is best to use plastic plant pots.

Flowers, Fruits

Serissa bonsai have white, funnel-shaped, terminal flowers mainly in June, sometimes much longer. Serissa bonsai thanks optimal care with abundant flowers. Change of location can lead to the dropping of the flowers. Fruits are not found under normal indoor conditions on a Serissa bonsai.

Bark, Roots

The Serissa usually has interesting surface roots which can be well incorporated into the design as bonsai. Strong cutting of the roots when repotting is not well tolerated.


From Serissa a number of varieties are available. Also variegated varieties (Serissa foetida variegata) and varieties with filled flowers (Mt. Fuji or Kyoto) were bred.


The genus Serissa (Japanese Boxthorn) includes only 1 species - Serissa foetida. The vigorous plant is suitable in northern part of europe only as an indoor bonsai. The plant is not hardy.

The natural occurrence of Serissa is found in subtropical China, South Asia and Japan. In their home country China, the Serissa tree grows shrubby on damp forest edges and is often no larger than 1m. The Junischnee is used as a medicinal plant.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

My Serissa bonsai gets yellow leaves - What can I do ?

The Serissa is evergreen and needs a lot of light. If location changes, Serissa bonsai (like most other room bonsai) sometimes respond with leaf shedding, but quickly recover. When a Serissa bonsai gets yellow leaves this is almost always due to a lack of light. Then the Serissa throws a few leaves inside the crown.

Lack of light occurs especially after the purchase (the bonsai comes from the bright greenhouse in a much darker apartment) and in winter, when the days are short and dark. The important thing is: light, light, light. Find the brightest place in the apartment and place your bonsai there. Best south side, directly in front of the window. Especially in winter the location should be very bright (the warmer the plant the brighter the place has to be).

Sometimes, especially in winter, it can take a few weeks or months for the tree to get new leaves. Do not be alarmed. Simply set brightly, pour moderately (without allowing to dry out) and do not fertilize or repot until the leaves sprout again.

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