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Japanese snowbell bonsai care guide Styrax japonica bonsai care guide styrax japonicus bonsai care guide

Japanese snowbell bonsai care

Japanese snowbell bonsai tree Styrax Japonica bonsai tree styrax japonicus bonsai tree

Japanese snowbell

( Styrax Japonica / Styrax Japonicus )

Country of Origin : Japan & Korea
Bonsai Styles : Informal upright, group, slanting, broom, semi-cascade
Zone : 5 – 8

The Japanese snowbell plant is a dense, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub. It is the most heat and drought tolerant among other Styrax species.

When grown as a bonsai, it is considered a tender temperate tree. It can be also grown as an indoor bonsai tree.

This plant has an upright growth habit, and its pointed oval leaves are dark green and strongly veined.

During the fall months, the foliage turns an attractive shade of burgundy and red, which is an attractive addition to the snowbell bonsai.

The bark of the tree is smooth and is brown in color.

A small, round, popcorn-like cluster of white flowers covers the bush from mid to late spring.

Read more about other bonsai trees species in : Types of bonsai trees

Japanese snowbell bonsai tree flower Styrax japonica bonsai tree flower styrax japonicus bonsai tree flower

Resembling the shape of a bell, these cluster of bell shaped flowers grow in spring. This flower cluster is abundant in April and May.

Best location to keep Japanese snowbell Bonsai

Even though Styrax japonica is normally hardy when grown in the ground, it is advisable to protect it during periods of heavy frost when grown in a bonsai container.

When keeping the tree indoors, keep it in a bright location and make sure that it is also placed in a cool place. 6 hours of sunlight exposure is good.

In the winter, styrax japonica bonsai prefers a temperature of 39°F to 46°F (4°C to 8°C).

As soon as the spring season begins, you should place your bonsai trees outdoors, and only bring them inside occasionally during the summer, in case you wish to admire the flowers indoors.

Keep the tree in south or west facing window.

IMP: Refer to do bonsai trees need sunlight for more indoor and outdoor bonsai location ideas. Also, refer sunlight requirements for indoor plants for more indoor gardening ideas.

Propagation of Japanese snowbell

Japanese snowbell can be propagated by sowing seeds or by cuttings.

In case using cuttings, take softwood cuttings with leaves (6 -8 inch length is good). Plant them in a potting mix. You can make some potting mix by mixing fine sand and peat.

Application of rooting hormone is not necessary. Water the pot. There is no need to cover the pot with plastic.

Place the pot in a shaded location. Spray some mist on the cuttings every other day. The cuttings will develop roots with in a month.

You can also propagate the tree using seeds. However, growing Japanese snowbell tree from seeds is not as straight forward as growing it from cuttings.

Soak seed in water for 24 hours.

In order to break the dormancy of the seeds, keep the seeds in a bag containing moist peat.

Keep the bag in a temperature of 64°F (18°C) for almost a month. This will help in warm stratification of the seeds. It is likely that you will see some early sprouting seeds in this stage.

Now, place the bag in fridge for about 3 months. This is done for cold stratification of the seeds.

Sow the seeds in a growing medium (preferably acidic). Germination of seeds should occur in about 2-3 weeks.

Watering Japanese snowbell Bonsai

It is recommended to provide moderate amounts of water to Styrax japonicus during the summer, Keeping the soil just moist. Shriveling of leaves is the sign of lack of water.

However, keep it on the dry side during the winter.

This tree has fleshy roots that can easily rot if they are left too wet, and thus the tree will be killed as a result.

You can also apply some mulch. This will help in retaining moisture in the soil.

Try and keep the leaves of the tree as dry as possible. Avoid overhead watering. (to prevent the tree from disease)

Read watering bonsai tree for more details.

Wiring Japanese snowbell Bonsai

Wiring can be done at any time of the growing season after the flowering of the tree has finished. It is best done in winter or early spring.

Do not leave the wire on the tree for more than one year.

Read : Detailed guide on How to wire a bonsai. This guide will also tell you what precautions to take while wiring.

Pruning Japanese snowbell Bonsai

When to prune Japanese snowbell bonsai?

How to prune Japanese snowbell bonsai?

It is possible to perform general branch pruning at any time of the year. A light mid summer pruning should be done.

As the flowers are borne on the current season’s shoots, there is no danger of the flowers being lost if the plants are pruned in the spring season.

In order to keep the tree’s appearance neat, you can pinch out the growing tips of new shoots or remove two or three leaves that emerge, but you should take care not to remove the flower buds.

If needed, you can pinch some of the flowers to encourage new growth of the tree.

This tree also takes well hard pruning.

The tree will defoliate in winter. This will allow you to have a clear view of the ramification. This is a good time to branch prune the tree and achieve your desired bonsai shape.

Read how to prune a bonsai to know about the right technique of pruning and more about defoliating a bonsai tree.

Repotting Japanese snowbell Bonsai

When to repot Japanese snowbell bonsai?

Young Japanese snowbell bonsai can be repotted every 2 years, in early spring. (before the new buds have opened). Repot older trees every 3-4 years.

You can also prune the roots at the time of repotting.

You can use a basic free-draining, moisture retentive bonsai soil mix as a potting soil. Neutral to acidic soil is ideal.

Please check out how to repot a bonsai to know everything about repotting and root pruning a bonsai.

Must Read: Bonsai Soil Recipes

Must read : Choosing the right bonsai container

Feeding Japanese snowbell Bonsai

Apply feed to the tree every 2 weeks when the tree is in active growth.

Avoid feeding high nitrogen feed at all times as this will promote growth of the tree at the cost of flowers. Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer after flowering. After that apply low nitrogen fertilizer till late summer.

Do not feed the tree when the tree is dormant.

Read more about bonsai fertilizer and its application.

Diseases and pest of Japanese snowbell Bonsai

Styrax japonicus bonsai tree can be attacked by scales and aphids.

Use a systemic insecticide or remove them manually or by a gentle water jet. You can also use some insecticidal soap, soap solution or Neem oil solution.

Algae leaf spot and fungal leaf spots can occur on the plant if the leaves are consistently wet or if the bonsai is kept in moist conditions for a long time.

Provide good amount of air circulation to avoid powdery mildew. Remove the affected leaves. Apply a suitable fungicide in case of severe occurrence.

Our comprehensive guide: How to identify and treat bonsai pests and diseases is a great resource for you to see all the organic and inorganic remedies you can use.

Japanese snowbell bonsai care

Excessive yellowing of leaves is caused by lack of nutrients. Apply some fertilizer in case you face such issues with your bonsai.

In case you don’t see much of flowering happening on your tree, placing this tree along with other snowbell trees might help. As these plants need cross pollination to flower.

At the time of flowering, give the tree good amount of sunlight. Or else the your tree will have less flowers.

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