How to care for Serissa phoetida bonsai

The serissa foetida is a shrub with white flowers

Image – Wikimedia / Aqiao HQ

One of the most used species in the world of bonsai is the serissa phoetida. An evergreen tree whose white flowers are very decorative, but nevertheless when we want to grow it in latitudes with cool climates, it can be quite complicated.

Without a doubt, we are facing one of the most difficult bonsai to maintain. But do not worry: Follow the advice that we offer below, and you will be able to enjoy your Serissa for many years.

Origin and characteristics of serissa phoetida

The serissa is an evergreen shrubThe serissa is a perennial shrub

Image – Wikimedia / Jonathan Zander (Digon3)

Before talking about the serissa as bonsai, it is important to know a little about the species, since in this way we will better understand its behavior and we will know how to take better care of it when we work it as bonsai. Well, here we go:

The serissa phoetida o serissa japonicaalso known as the Tree of a thousand stars, It is an evergreen shrub native to Southeast Asia that reaches a maximum height of 60 centimeters. Its small dark green or variegated leaves (with yellowish edges), and its easily controllable growth, have made many of us want to start in the art of bonsai with a specimen of this species, since also, in summer it is you can enjoy its beautiful flowers.

But it turns out that it is a species that lives in tropical or subtropical climatesand if we live in an area with harsh winters, we will have to protect it indoors or in a heated greenhouse during those months. Indeed, the rest of the year must be abroad, otherwise it would not have a good development, and most likely we will end up losing it before next spring.

What are the bonsai cares for serissa phoetida?

Although of course, there are more things we can do to make our bonsai look splendid all year round. Namely:


to the Serissa it must be placed in an exhibition with partial shade. If we have to have it indoors, we have to choose a very bright room.

How to water a serissa bonsai?

Keep the substrate slightly dampespecially in summer, but avoiding waterlogging as it is sensitive to overwatering. We will water with rain water or with that which has a low pH (between 4 and 6).


Serissa phoetida bonsai is easy to care forSerissa phoetida bonsai is easy to care for

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Ragesoss

The substrate must drain the water well; that is, it has to absorb and filter it, keeping the roots properly oxygenated. When this does not happen, it is easy for problems to arise. Therefore, it is highly recommended to mix 80% akadama with 20% kiryuzuna, or with kanuma.


We will use a specific fertilizer for bonsai (for sale here!), following the recommendations indicated on the packaging, from spring to late summer. This way we will ensure that it grows well, and that it is healthy.


Pinching can be done throughout the year, as it is mostly done in order to maintain style. To do this, it will be enough to let 4 to 8 pairs of leaves grow, and then cut 2-4 pairs.

However, both formation and root pruning should be done at the end of winterwhen the minimum temperature is higher than 15º. We will also have to remove the shoots that come out at the base of the trunk, unless we want to include them in the design.


Its growth is slow in general, so it will have to be transplanted every 3 years. This is done in spring, when the minimum temperature is at least 18 degrees Celsius.

Likewise, it is important to say that if you have bought your bonsai in a non-specialized place (such as a supermarket), it is possible that the substrate it contains is of very poor quality.

If you see that when watering it is difficult to absorb the water, or if you find that it is a heavy and compact soil, it is best to remove it and put a new one, like this mixture: 70% akadama + 30% kiryuzuna. Do it in spring, so that it goes through the transplant without problems.

Common bonsai problems by serissa

There are a series of problems that are quite common when you have this bonsai, so we are going to explain their causes, and we will also tell you what the solution is:

Yellow sheets

When a plant, whatever it is, has yellow leaves, it can be due to one of these causes:

  • Lack of irrigation: If the leaves that are turning yellow are the young ones, it may be that it is lacking in water.
  • Excess irrigation: if the leaves start to turn black from the tips, and if the soil also looks very wet, it is because there is plenty of water.
  • Excess compost or fertilizer: when the indications for the use of fertilizers or fertilizers are not followed, you can make the mistake of adding more quantity than the bonsai needs. If this happens, you have to water a lot so that the excess compost seeps out.
  • Natural death of leaves: the leaves have a limited life expectancy. Therefore, if your Serissa has some yellow leaves, but is otherwise fine, you don’t have to worry as they will soon appear new.
  • Change of location: It is normal that some leaves turn yellow and even fall when you move them. Sometimes it takes a little getting used to.

Dry leaves

If your serissa has dry leaves, it may be due to one of these factors:

  • Air currents: if you have it indoors, it is important that it is away from the fan, air conditioning, and passageways.
  • It is burning: if it is near a window, the ideal is to move it a bit away from it so that its leaves do not “burn”.
  • Low ambient humidity: it needs high humidity, since its leaves dry out in dry places. To do this, simply place containers with water around it, or spray / spray its leaves with lime-free water in spring and summer.
  • Leaf renewal: as we mentioned before, the leaves are renewed over the months. If you see that it has a few dry ones, you should not give it more importance.

Where to buy a bonsai from serissa phoetida?

Serissa's bonsai is prettySerissa's bonsai is beautiful

Image – Wikimedia Commons / David J. Stang

If you want to get one, you can do it by clicking here!. Enjoy your plant.

How to care for Serissa phoetida bonsai

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: