Gardenia japonica 'Radicans'

brandon7 TN_zone(7)December 23, 2008

I know quite a bit about plants, but very very little about bonsai. I hope you guys can tell me everything I need to know about this plant I received as a gift. It was labeled with "Gardenia japonica 'Radicans'" and "Indoor Gardenia" and planted in a bonsai pot. You all are supposed to know everything about plants potted in bonsai pots, right? (-;

My first concern is the name. I am fairly certain that Gardenia japonica 'Radicans' is not a real name at all. A little poking around has led me to believe that the real name might be Gardenia jasminoides f. radicans. I admit that I didn't try to verify this name by examining characteristics of my plant, but it's the only real valid name I see that is similar to the name on the tag. Maybe the people that printed the tag were just a little careless. Anyone have any other ideas about the name?

My second concern is how to take care of the plant. My climate is just barely 7b and I'm thinking that keeping this plant outdoors year around might be pushing the envelope a little. Also, I can just imagine that up until a few days ago, it has probably been grown in some plant factory and hasn't even thought about hitting the ~20 degree F weather outside.

So besides ideas about the correct name, I'd love to know what I should do with this plant to give it the best possibility of living. Once I figure out a plan for keeping it alive, I'm going to start considering whether or not to train it as a bonsai specimen. So far, the only real bonsai thing about my plant is the neat looking pot.

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Hi, don't fuss about the name because nursery naming is notoriously imaginative (when not outright wrong) and it's not important in your case - won't change care requirements. What's important is to recognize that it can't live outside in your area year round (as you've done), so it will need to have as much very good light for as many hours a day inside as you can give it, along with a cool room in winter (no colder than 50 F. though) especially at night. Not knowing what it's planted in makes it hard to advise about watering, so first of all, if there's a glued on layer of pebbles, pry that off right away from the opening (use a bottle opener thingy to start it). Then if it's just in what looks like potting soil, allow the top layer (1/2"+) to dry between waterings, again it's a "less often" thing in winter. If the mix is not 'soil' but mostly grit, then you need to worry a lot less about things like root rot and fungus, as it'll drain right away and not hold water at the roots. But even if you decide to repot, wait til about April, which is safer even for an indoor plant/tree and just watch the watering. Definitely don't mist it, but definitely do use a wide tray of stones and water under the pot, with the pot always kept above the water. If you can find a bonsai club nearby, it's a great place to learn, so consider joining up and seeing how things are done first hand - just remember there's a lot more to it than small pots and occasional snips, plus it is known to become an obsession!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 10:34PM
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