05 Mar

How to use Bonsai Plants in Home Interior

Bonsai make excellent ornamental plants – not only because of their unusual size and formation but also because they require less room to fit in to any home interior or outdoor design scheme. Most bonsai are low on maintenance needs. When provided with appropriate spot where it can receive sufficient light, an established bonsai will only require routine hydration and prunning.

Browse these excellent examples of the use of bonsai in home interior.

30 Oct

A beginner’s guide to growing a Gardenia Bonsai: 4 Amazing Tips To Grow One

A lot of people love to grow and cultivate gardenia bonsais because of their elegant appeal, amazingly beautiful flowers and remarkable fragrance. The shrub is known for its delicate white flowers and glossy green leaves and because of that it’s used in many modern homes in order to complete their look. The gardenia bonsai can be grown outdoors in zones seven to nine, but you may also consider it as a houseplant until the summer months. When doing so, you’ll easily be able to protect it from temperatures that are harmful to its health. With that in mind, below we’re going to take a closer look at A beginner’s guide to growing a Gardenia Bonsai.

Temperature and location

To enhance flower growth and foliage, a gardenia bonsai needs to be exposed to diffused light or direct light up to 4 hours per day. During its active growing season you should expose it to temperatures between seventy and eighty five degrees Fahrenheit, which are basically the temperatures between spring and fall. During wintertime though, you’ll need to take greater care of and expose it to temperatures that will never go below forty five degrees Fahrenheit. Also, since gardenia bonsais require extra humidity, you should place yours next to a tray filled with pebbles and water or next to other leafy shrubs.

Watering the Bonsai

You should make it a point to keep the soil moist, but without being soggy. In the warmer seasons though, you’ll need to consider watering the bonsai every day but how will you determine if you’ll need to water it or not? Well, that’s simple and all you need to do is check the color and feel of the soil’s surface. Once it dries up, the soil will tend to have a light color and when touching the surface, it will feel a bit dry.

The gardenia bonsai should be placed in a shallow dish with around two inches of water and remember that it’s important to allow it to soak moisture when the soil starts to look and feel moist or for a minimum of twenty minutes. However, if the soil dries out completely, you’ll just need to immerse the pot in water for maybe five minutes until the soil is thoroughly wet.

Pruning the Gardenia Bonsai

To maintain the bonsai’s bushy appearance in the spring, you may want to cut its unbranched and long growths. It’s important to keep the cut above the leave joint when pruning and since it has flower buds that grow at the end of its branches, be sure you take extra care so you don’t pinch out all of them. After the bonsai has flowered, you may go ahead with enhancing the shape of your plant by pruning these branches.

Fertilizing Your Gardenia Bonsai Tree

From the beginning of spring through fall, it’s recommended you’ll use half strength acid type fertilizer once a month. Some of the leaves may change their color and turn yellow with green veins so if this happens, then you improve their appearance by applying iron chelate. Lastly, you should remember that gardenia flower buds will likely drop off before they even start blooming. There are many factors which can cause this to happen and some of them include:

  1. Premature bud drop
  2. Sudden temperature changes
  3. Night temperatures exceeding seventy degrees
  4. Insufficient amount of light
  5. Under watering

As you can see, by following the tips of A beginner’s guide to growing a Gardenia Bonsai you’ll easily be able to grow a Gardenia Bonsai that will not only look wonderful, but at the same time offer your room or the space in which you’ll place it in a new and refreshing feel.

This guest post is written by Mauricio Greene. He is a bonsai expert and runs the site Bonsai Tree care. Mauricio aims to create a community that cares and cultivates these amazing plants, and importantly, appreciates the beauty and tranquility they provide.

04 Jun

Ixora – flowering bush for gardens and hedges

Ixora is an evergreen flowering bush and belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is one of the most important families of the plant kingdom because of its commercial, medicinal and ornamental use. Two species from this family, Coffea canephor and Coffea Arabica, are used for the production of coffee. The bark of trees of Cinchona is used to extract quinine which is widely used for the cure of malaria. Similarly, Psychotria Ipecacuanha is used to produce Ipecac syrup used for emetic purposes.

Photo © The Lovely Plants

Characteristics of Ixora

As a flowering bush, Ixora grows in to a dense and well branched shrub, commonly reaching 4 to 6 feet in height though some species can grow as tall as 12 feet. The size and color of leaves and flowers vary across 400 species. Plants have glossy leaves of dark green color and large clusters of tiny star shaped flowers of white, red, yellow or orange color that usually bloom in summer. It is also known as West Indian Jasmine, Jungle Geranium, and Flame in the Woods.

ixora flower bunch

Photo © The Lovely Plants

Ixora as a Flowering Bush

Shrubs and bushes can add a strikingly effect to your garden or indoor landscape. However, the requirements and growing habits of flowering bushes can be a little different from most of the flowering or ornamental plants. Like other flowering bushes, Ixora require a little attention, pruning to become a nice flowering bush or container plant for your home.

Though Ixora is not a popular houseplant, it can be a good candidate as a container plant in shaded porches, patios or pool sides for ornamental purpose or as a flowering bush in gardens. IxoraNora Grant‘ and ‘Super King’ are perfect as flowering bush whereas Ixora Coccinea is suitable for hedges and screens. Ixora can also be used in landscapes as annual flowering bush.

start shaped flowers of ixora

Photo © The Lovely Plants

If you are planning a bed of flowering bushes in your landscape, some of the good companions of your Ixora can be: Boxwood Wintergreen, Buddleia Bi-Color- butterfly bush, Golden Forsythia and Hydrangea Nikko.

Tips for Growing Ixora

Soil

Ixora prefers somewhat moist, peat-based acidic soil. Alkaline soils usually causes the leaves to turn dull or yellow.

Fertilizer

During Spring and early summer, feed every two weeks; feed monthly during the winter. Use acidic fertilizer containing minor nutrients and trace elements as these are important to maintain healthy foliage of this flowering bush.

Watering

Water generously during the summer, reduce watering during the winter season. Generally, they prefer regular watering in a well drained soil.

Light

Ixora loves bright light throughout the year but do not like direct sunlight of the summer. If you are growing it indoor, make sure that you place it outdoor for some time especially during the spring season. Ixora do not tolerate freezing temperature. If you plan to bring indoors for the winter, do so gradually so that the plant can adjust to the lower level of light. Once indoors, do not over water.

Propagation

Cuttings taken in the spring can be used to propagate plants, however, it is a bit difficult to root Ixoras.

Other Uses of Ixora

Red Ixora flowers are commonly used in Hindu worship, as well as in Indian folk medicine. Generally Ixoras are grown as ornamental plants in containers, as a flowering bush in landscapes and as a hedge. They make an excellent choice for bonsai as well.

Origin

Topical and sub-tropical regions across the world especially Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and parts of Florida.