Jacaranda mimosifolia makes spectacular bonsai with its stunningly beautiful large bell-shaped purple flowers and lacy fern-like leaves. Jacaranda mimosifolia, also known as blue jacaranda or fern tree, is a sub-tropical tree grown in gardens all over the world.
Jacaranda is native to south-central South America, but can happily grow anywhere if there is no risk of frost. Mature trees can tolerate brief periods of temperature around −7 °C (19 °F).
Jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai care is not difficult if you provide conditions similar to its native environment – plenty of light, moist soil, and protection from frost.
Mature blue jacaranda can be trained into a breathtakingly beautiful bonsai.
When mature, its trunk is greyish-brown and scaly, the branches are thin and naturally grow in a zigzag pattern.
The tree blooms profusely in spring and its magnificent large purple-blue drooping flowers last for two months. Most jacarandas drop their leaves before the buds open.
Some jacarandas keep their leaves in the winter, but some lose them and go into partial dormancy.
Jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai care
Jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai care is easy as long as you give it plenty of light or light shade, warm temperature, moist soil, and protection from frost. While blue jacaranda can be kept indoors year-round if provided with plenty of light, it is happiest if you leave it outdoors from May until it starts getting cold. The temperature should never drop below 15° C (59° F.) If kept indoors, the leaves of your jacaranda bonsai will remain pretty large, not what you want on a bonsai tree.
Jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai that lives indoors permanently will probably not bloom. If your tree does not have enough light in winter, it will drop all its leaves. Do not despair, they will grow back in the spring. If you live in a warm area, leave your jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai outdoors year-round, it will bloom at any time.
Jacaranda mimosifolia likes moist soil, but it should be well-draining so that the roots do not sit in water. Use commercial bonsai soil for best results, with its coarse clay and sand particles and plenty of organic matter.
Jacaranda mimosifolia should be watered consistently during its growing period, making sure that the soil is moist but not waterlogged. The tree will tolerate brief dry spells, but it might drop its leaves. It will also drop its leaves if it is overwatered.
Before watering your bonsai, touch the soil with your fingers. If it is still moist, postpone the watering for a few more days. The best way to avoid watering problems is to use good, well-draining bonsai soil. Cut on watering when the blue jacaranda drops its leaves.
Jacaranda mimosifolia loves plenty of light but will enjoy the light shade in the summer. If you can provide it with a lot of light, you can keep it indoors year-round. Unfortunately, your bonsai might not bloom under such conditions.
Blue jacaranda loves bright, warm conditions of a greenhouse, or being left outdoors in warm areas.
Jacaranda mimosifolia is a sub-tropical tree that loves consistently warm temperature. The temperature should never drop below 15° C (59° F.) In warm countries, you can keep your bonsai outdoors year-round but in countries where the temperature drops in the fall, bring your bonsai indoors and keep it in a warm, bright spot but not on top of the heat source.
Fertilize your jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai once a week during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted in half. Stop fertilizing when the tree drops its leaves. You might want to give it some fertilizer in early spring before it starts blooming to give it an extra boost.
Like all bonsai trees, your blue jacaranda bonsai should be planted in a shallow bonsai pot about two-thirds of the length of the tree’s height.
The color of the pot should complement the color of the jacaranda’s grey-brown trunk or its bright purple flowers. Make sure that the color and the beauty of the pot do not compete with the tree!
Repot your jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai every two years. Mature trees do not grow too fasts so you should not expect the roots to fill the pot. Use the repotting to change the old soil and to trim thick old roots.
Leave fine feeder roots, which feed the tree. Never cut off more than two-thirds of the root ball. Trimming of the roots is crucial to keeping your blue jacaranda small and growing happily in a small pot.
The more you trim the roots, the more fine roots you will have that are able to feed your tree. Refill the pot with the fresh bonsai soil and water it thoroughly after repotting.
Leave the tree in the light shade until it recovers from this fairly traumatic operation. If your bonsai tree is large, make sure that its trunk is tied to the bonsai pot, or the feeder roots will break every time the tree moves.
Many jacaranda bonsai do not need wiring because their branches grow in an interesting zigzag pattern. If you want to reposition a branch, wire it when it starts becoming woody.
Remove the wire after three months so that it does not bite into the bark and leave unsightly scars. Use soft aluminum or copper wire.
Jacaranda trees grow very vigorously and you will need to keep pruning them fairly often to keep the desired shape of the tree. Trim the new shoots when the tree grows four or five pairs and leave only one or two leaf pairs.
You should do most pruning in spring, before buds open, but you can keep trimming the new growth year-round, especially if you live in a warm location.
Cut all large leaves when you spot them. The more you prune your jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai, the more branches will grow and the smaller the leaves will be, achieving the look of a mature thee on the small scale.
Seeing a jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai tree in full bloom is a true visual delight. The profusion of clusters of large bell-shaped blue or purple flowers completely covers the tree. You can enjoy this spectacle from late spring to early summer.
If grown in a warm climate and kept outdoors, your blue jacaranda might bloom at any time. Flowers are lightly fragrant, so keep your tree where you can enjoy it most.
You can keep your jacaranda bonsai indoors if you have plenty of light, but it might not bloom. You can keep it inside for a few days while in full bloom to enjoy it, but leave it outside to get as much sun and warmth as possible.
When the flowers fade, they leave behind fruits – brown pods with a seed inside. Once pods dry out, take them off and harvest seeds. They sprout fairly easily into healthy seedlings.
Jacaranda mimosifolia is fairly pest-resistant. The biggest problem is root rot. You can prevent it by using only free draining, coarse bonsai soil. Jacaranda likes moist soil but should never be sitting in soggy soil.
Pests that most frequently affect jacaranda mimosifolia are scales. Treat them with neem oil insecticide as soon as you see them to prevent infestation.
You can propagate jacaranda mimosifolia from cuttings or seeds. It will take a long time to get from the young seedlings to the bonsai, but it is fun to take part in the whole process.
You can also make a new jacaranda bonsai by purchasing a garden center tree with an interesting trunk and trim it slowly until it can fit in a pot. This is a much faster way of achieving a mature-looking bonsai jacaranda.
Growing one bonsai tree can quickly turn into a hobby. In the beginning, while you have only one tree, you will be able to maintain your jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai using simple garden cutters for trimming branches and roots and regular pliers to wire the branches.
The more you get involved, especially if you join a bonsai club, the more specialized tools you will learn about and wish to acquire. It can become quite an expensive hobby – most bonsai tools come from Japan and are fairly expensive.
Jacaranda mimosifolia bonsai care is not too demanding and requires just a few basic rules: keep it warm, give it just enough water, plenty of sun and bright light and keep it from frost.
The beauty of the tree is outstanding and if you provide it with the right conditions, as close as those your jacaranda has in its native sub-tropical home, the profusion of magnificent blooms will be your reward.
As the tree gets covered with lush purple blooms, you can bring it to your home to decorate it for a party but take it out into the sun as soon as you can to let it thrive.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.