Origin: Argentina, Bolivia
Growth season: Spring to early summer
Flowers: Blue and violet
Location: Indoors and outdoors (full sun, semi-shade)
Minimum temperature: 15° C
Every year, Australia is transformed by the blossoming of beautiful blue blooms in our streets. Whether it’s a single tree in your front yard or vistas lined with the gorgeous canopy, jacaranda season is synonymous with spring for many of us.
Jacarandas are a semi-evergreen tree that hails from South America. Perfectly suited to the warm Australian climate, they have supple complex leaves and stunning trumpet-shaped flowers that are admired across the world. Typically, the tree will drop its leaves before blooming.
It may take ten years for the tree to fully mature and flower for the first time, but growing your own jacaranda is well worth the effort.
What Jacaranda do I Have?
Although we tend to think of the beautiful blue flowers we’ve become accustomed to when discussing the jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai, there is actually a range of different types that can be cultivated as bonsai. Below are some of the more common variations:
‘Alba’ (‘White Christmas’)
The Alba is the same in most respects, apart from the fact that it boasts white trumpet-shaped flowers. It may have lusher foliage and may begin to flower earlier in spring than its blue counterpart.
This is a new dwarf version of the jacaranda that is perfectly suited for bonsai cultivation. Created by Japanese grower Kiyoshi Sakai, this tree only grows to approximately 1.5–2 metres tall while maintaining the beautiful foliage and flowers its larger relative is known for.
The care guide compiled here can be used for jacaranda bonsais of all kinds. If you have any specific questions about your tree in particular, feel free to reach out to our team.
Caring for a Jacaranda Mimosifolia
To thrive, the jacaranda needs lots and lots of light. As your bonsai is a smaller tree, it can get away with being in light shade if needed, but full sun is usually best. In winter, if the tree does not receive enough heat and light, it may drop its leaves; however, these will grow back in the spring.
Typically, jacarandas will not flower indoors. This means it is best to keep your bonsai outdoors or in an alfresco area unless you are bringing it inside during the winter or autumn months.
Jacarandas are pretty drought-resistant; however, they will require attentive watering in the first stages of their lives and during the warmer months. Once established, you will need to water less and will develop a good sense for when your plant needs a top-up.
As a general rule, check the soil by touch. If the first few centimetres are completely dry, then this is an indicator your tree is in need of a good drink.
The key to keeping this plant happy is in the root ball. Too much water and the leaves will turn yellow and fall off, with the roots at risk of rot; too little and the leaves will wither and brown before, again, falling off. Keep the root ball moist, but not wet, and you will see the best results.
Jacarandas require plenty of feeding to stay healthy. During their growth period, fertilise once a week; this reduces to once a fortnight for other times of the year. Alternatively, using a long-term slow-release fertiliser will ensure that your bonsai has all the nutrients they need without having to regularly feed it.
Organic mulch is an effective way to retain soil moisture during the hot Australian summer, but make sure that you apply it over moist ground; otherwise, you prevent rain and your water from reaching the roots. It is best to mulch after you have watered, using a thickness of no more than 50 mm.
This bonsai requires very little pruning; you should limit yourself to only removing broken or diseased branches.
Pruning can force the tree to grow new vertical sprouts that interfere with the overall aesthetic. Once these start, they can be difficult to discourage and will ruin the shape of your foliage for a long time — if not forever. Pruning can also put additional stress on the tree, damaging it and causing it to die.
Basically? Less is more when it comes to pruning your jacaranda. Only prune if your tree really needs it.
It is possible to wire your jacaranda; however, you must be extremely careful as the branches are slender and can easily break. Wire young shoots when they start lignifying and ensure that you keep the wiring on the tree for no longer than three months.
You should repot your jacaranda every other year during the spring using a well-draining soil mix and pot. Prune the roots; be careful with the root ball and make sure to keep it moist during the transition.
Water generously when putting the jacaranda in the new pot to help settle the soil before mulching to protect the roots. In the weeks that follow the replanting, make sure to keep the soil adequately moist.
If you wish to propagate your jacaranda, this is best done by using the seeds. The jacaranda develops small brown pods in late summer; harvest the seeds from those that have completely dried and fallen off the tree. Soak the seeds for a full day before placing them on a bed of soil in containers or pots. Only cover them with a thin layer of soil and make sure to keep them moist.
It only takes approximately two weeks for the seed to start growing. The seedlings can be transplanted to a new pot after eight months have passed and voila — a new jacaranda bonsai to enjoy!
In general, jacarandas are pretty hardy plants. Keep them watered and well-lit and you’ll be good to go!
When indoors, they may attract whiteflies, aphids, or scale. A suitable insecticide should do the trick nicely to protect your bonsai.
Want to bring the beauty of jacaranda season into your own home? What better way than a beautiful bonsai? Get in touch with us today to find out more about caring for your jacaranda.