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House Plants/Jasmine plant to train into bonsai


My plant was healthy but not blooming. I followed your advice to keep the plant in darkness at night. To my surprise after a few nights it started to set buds. I am training the plant to be a bonsai. The plant is 12" high x 16" wide, with many branches. In a 6'wide x 5" high pot for 2 years now. IT WAS TAKEN AS A CUTTING from a very healthy indoor trailing tree. It is about 4-5 years old. In the spring should I repot it or not. And if so do I downsize the pot. I wouldn't mind keeping the plant in the same pot. I like it as a bonsai pot. Thanks in advance for your advice. Antoinette, The Orchid Hobbyist & Hybridizer

Hi Antoinette,

Strictly speaking, bonsai is an art form more than a horticultural exercise. Traditionally, bonais are single stemmed plants with carefully pruned roots and stems and grown in special bonsai pots that are tray-like in shape and rarely more than an inch or two deep. Your Jasmine is already in a pot that is substantially larger and you indicated you would prefer to keep it in its existing pot. You can certainly do that, although you might be stretching the traditional definition of bonsai.

Ultimately, it is about training and keeping your plant in a way that is pleasing to you. It can stay in its existing pot virtually forever. When the roots expand so much that your Jasmine needs to be watered thoroughly more than twice per week, it would be time to prune back the roots by about one-third and fill in the space with fresh potting mix. You can do this repeatedly, as needed.

Of course, it is the visible portion of the plant that is of primary concern. It is best to start with your personal vision as to what you want it to look like. That would include size, proportions, and fullness or compactness. Then, prune it back to get it to match your vision. It will take time and many smaller prunings, as it cannot be accomplished all at once.

I have written detailed articles on Bonsai, pruning and on Jasmine care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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