What is Cherry Blossom Bonsai & Care GuideLearn all about Cherry Blossom Bonsai Trees and how to take care of them.
|Scientific/Botanical Name||Prunus serrulata|
|Description||This is a spring-blooming, single-trunked, deciduous tree. Dark horizontal lines known as lenticels appear on the trunk. The pink and white blossoms are plentiful, and they make a wonderful carpet on the ground when they fall off the tree.|
|Position||Grow the tree in a location that receives full sun. It needs a three-month period of cold conditions over the winter. When trees are grown in containers, they should be placed in a cold garage during their winter dormancy.|
|Watering||Water the plant on a regular basis to prevent drying-out of the soil.|
|Feeding||Fertilize the tree on a monthly basis to keep it well-nourished.|
|Leaf and Branch Pruning||Prune the plant to maintain a small size, but defer pruning until all of the flowers are spent. Fresh growth may be pruned as needed, but never remove all of the new growth.|
|Re-potting & Growing Medium||Re-pot the tree during the winter period. This allows the introduction of newer soil. Good quality, organic soil should be used for re-potting.|
|Notes||Japanese people enjoy cherry blossom tea. It is not advisable to consume it in great quantities, however. Cherry blossom trees may need to be monitored for pests such as aphids and caterpillars.|
Bonsai is regarded as an art in Japan, where it was first introduced through China around 500 years ago. Bonsai are containerized plants that consist of various species of shrubs, vines, or trees. They provide an aesthetic value and beauty to observers as they mimic the beauty of an ancient tree located in the wild. The shape of the tree can be manipulated drastically to look like any kind of tree depending on the taste of its owner. The plant’s miniature shape is due to regular pruning of its roots and branches.
Cherry blossom bonsai has many names, including Japanese Cherry, Hill Cherry, East Asian Cherry, and Oriental Cherry. It is part of the “prunus” species of plants, which also include fruit trees like peaches, almonds, plums, and apricots. There are almost 430 varieties of this species — prunus serrulata is commonly known as cherry blossom. Cherry blossoms are native to the regions of China, Japan, and Korea.
In Japan, cherry blossoms are known as “sakura” and they are widely used in Japanese festivals for their beauty when they bloom. There are 200 species that are cultivated in Japan alone. One of the most famous species is Somei Yoshino, which has almost white flowers with a hint of pink at the stem. They are named after the village of Somei located in Tokyo. Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms are often depicted in literature, making them a part of the culture and heritage of Japan. Other varieties include yaezakura, shidarezakura, and yamazakura.
In the United States, cherry blossoms can be found in Washington, DC, where they were planted on the shores of the Tidal Basin. They are also present in Sakura Park in Manhattan, as well as in Philadelphia. These trees were gifted to the Unites States at different occasions by the Japanese. However, the largest collection of cherry blossoms can be seen at Newark, New Jersey at the Branch Brook Park, where there are about 4,300 trees present.
Almost all varieties of the plant can be used for bonsai cultivation of cherry blossoms. With proper care and management of the plant, you can achieve beautiful looking miniature trees that flower and mature like regular cherry blossom trees.
In Japan, both the leaves and cherry blossoms are pickled with salted water and eaten or drunk as a tea in place of green tea. Although cherry blossoms are edible, there is a certain level of toxicity present in them. It is advised to only consume them in low quantities.
Cherry blossom are deciduous trees that bloom in the spring with beautiful flowers that cover the tree and fall on its base to give it a natural appeal. The pink and white flowers are beautifully arranged in clusters of two or five. The leaves grow alternately and turn yellow, crimson, or red in the autumn season. The vast green crown of the tree is held by a single trunk, which gives it a spacious look with long branches. The trunk has horizontally placed lenticels and it is colored chestnut-brown. The tree yields a black colored fruit after the blossoming of the flowers in spring.
Where To Find Cherry Blossom Bonsai
Bonsai should be selected from a reputable seller who can guide the owner through his or her first purchase. Bonsai need to be handled with proper care, and leaving them unattended could cause their death. Depending on the region’s climate and temperature, the bonsai tree must be kept indoors or left outside. There are many books and instructional literature available to help owners understand the art of bonsai and cherry blossom bonsai in particular.
Bonsai need to be kept under the appropriate conditions suited for their growth. In winter, the cherry blossom bonsai should be kept in a cold environment. The winter season for bonsai trees lasts for approximately three months, during which they are dormant and do not produce any flowers or fruit. In order to keep them cold and allow them to pass the dormant season naturally, several methods are commonly used:
1. Bury the tree in an area away from the sun and wind up to the level of the pot. The remaining part can be buried with mulch that comes up to the first branches of the tree. Seasonal rains or snow should not be a problem.
2. Place the tree in a cold and dark area, such as a garage or shed. The bonsai tree will need watering at this stage, but no light will be required.
During the spring and summer season, cherry blossom bonsai need exposure to the sun in the morning and afternoon. Locations that are best suited for the tree include a garden, balcony, patio, or terrace. Leaving the bonsai inside during spring and summer will damage the plant due to lack of sun, and so it is important to consider its placement throughout the seasonal changes.
The soil of the cherry blossom bonsai tree must be nourished at all times. Since it is a miniature tree and it is placed in a small pot, it needs a greater supply of nutrients. A quality fertilizer should be used every month to feed the soil.
Bonsai kept directly under the sun need to be watered more often. Water the plant as soon as the soil looks dry. Rain can also provide sufficient water. A good indication of enough water is when its starts leaking from the bottom of the plant though the tiny holes located underneath the pot. A watering meter can also be purchased to properly time the watering.
Late winter is an ideal time to repot cherry blossom bonsai, as the plant will have finished flowering. Repotting will allow your tree to grow roots that are more compact and it will have fresher soil due to the exchange.
Pruning is an essential part of any bonsai plant because it maintains its miniature shape. Cherry blossoms should be pruned after the falling of the flowers. New growth should be pruned accordingly and never removed completely.
Pests & Diseases
Birds usually feed on the flower buds of cherry blossoms. Caterpillars and aphids are also attracted to the tree and can cause it potential damage. In terms of diseases, cherry blossoms are susceptible to blossom wilt, peach leaf curl, silver leaf, and taphrina wiesneri.