The cherry blossom tree is admired throughout the world for the spectacular and fleeting display it puts on in spring, and it has special significance to Japan.
There’s a centuries-old traditional celebration of the cherry blossom where people gather beneath the trees to admire them and socialize, and the trees themselves have been widely grown as bonsai trees.
Caring for bonsai trees that bloom is a really rewarding hobby, and the displays these plants can put on are unique.
Caring for these plants is fairly easy once you’ve mastered the basics – here’s what you need to know.
Things You Should Know About A Cherry Blossom Bonsai
Cherry blossom bonsai trees can live for up to 40 years, and they’re among the most popular flowering bonsai trees available.
Usually, a mature cherry blossom bonsai will be trained to reach around 15 inches tall, though some can be taller than others.
If you provide the right conditions for it, once this plant reaches maturity, it will flower through spring.
It’s worth remembering that bonsai plants are not like other plants, that you can sometimes immediately tell if they like their conditions or not.
It can take up to three weeks for a bonsai to adapt, and it’s around then that you’ll see signs of wilting or leaf loss if the plant is unhappy.
Types of Cherry Blossom
There are over 420 types of cherry blossom trees that are grown as bonsai trees in the prunus genus, and prunus serrulata is one of the most popular.
You’ll find that the prunus genus of plants encompasses a wide range of fruiting trees, such as almonds, peaches, apricots, and plums.
Some of these are also grown as bonsai trees. Just don’t expect these bonsai trees to produce much fruit!
An ornamental blossom bonsai is widely grown for the beauty of the flowers, a herald of spring that you can have in your own home.
These bonsai trees are known by different names depending on the type of tree, including the Japanese cherry blossom bonsai, the east Asian cherry blossom bonsai, and the oriental cherry blossom bonsai.
How to Grow A Cherry Blossom Bonsai from Seed or By Propagation
You can grow cherry blossom bonsai by propagation as well as growing them from seeds.
Propagating a Cherry Blossom Bonsai
The less time-consuming method of growing a cherry blossom bonsai is through propagation.
Taking cuttings from an existing tree is much easier, as the plant is already established, and they tend to be easier to grow than the soft shoots of a new tree.
Growing a Cherry Blossom Bonsai from Seed
To grow bonsai from seed, you don’t need a bonsai-specific type. There is a myth that ‘bonsai’ are a particular species of tree, but this is just the practice of growing a tree in a container, and some species are more suited to it than others.
Any ornamental cherry blossom tree seeds will do, though they will take quite a bit of time to germinate. Some may even need a stratification period, but this depends on the type of tree – instructions will be on the seed packet if it is needed.
How To Care for Cherry Blossom Bonsai
It’s worth noting that most bonsai trees need to be grown outside in order for them to thrive, though there are some exceptions.
A cherry blossom bonsai tree ideally needs to be outdoors, where it can gauge the seasons, and when it’s supposed to go dormant.
You can replicate the dormancy inside, if you prefer, by keeping your bonsai somewhere like a cold garage for at least three months to give the tree a chance to rest.
A cherry blossom bonsai needs partial sun, around 5 to 7 hours of it if they can get it, as without enough light they will wilt.
To start with, make sure your bonsai tree is in bonsai soil, which ensures that the tree will have enough drainage, and get the nutrients they need, as this will affect how often you have to water the plant.
Cherry blossom bonsai trees need to be watered quite often, and should never be left to dry out completely. You can check if the soil needs watering with your finger – test the soil at the bottom of the drainage hole, if it’s dry, it’s time to water.
You’ll need to feed a bonsai tree fairly often. The general rule is one every four weeks, and using a bonsai feed will ensure that the nutritional balance is right.
Never feed your plant during its dormant stage.
Potting and Repotting
Like any bonsai, these trees can be repotted every 2 to 3 years. Replant it into the same container with fresh soil. Make sure to prune the roots, so it doesn’t get too big for the pot.
How to Prune a Cherry Blossom Bonsai
Unlike other bonsai trees, (see also Bonsai Tree Meaning and Symbolism) you only need to cut back a cherry once in a while to maintain the size, but only after the flowers have finished.
Pests and Diseases
Caterpillars and aphids are really the only pests you need to worry about.
Disease on a cherry blossom bonsai is rare, but they are vulnerable to blossom wilt, taphrina wiesneri, and peach leaf curl.
Where to Buy Cherry Blossom Bonsai
You can buy a cherry blossom bonsai at any local garden center, or online if you prefer. You can also grow them from seed, which allows you to shape the plant into any curve you wish