The Japanese Andromeda (Pieris Japonica) is a broadleaf evergreen shrub. Meaning, that although it is not coniferous, it will maintain its foliage in the winter when the tree is dormant. Renowned as a landscape feature because of its white bell-shaped flowers, which emerge in the spring, new leaves appear red before turning to dark green. Not a very common species in Bonsai traditionally, it is gaining popularity due to its compact foliage, ability to ramify and stunning flower display.
The Mountain Fire Japanese Pieris features beautiful fire-red foliage and chains of small white bell-shaped flowers hanging below the branches. It is extremely colourful and eye-catching during the spring when in full bloom.
The Valley Valentine Japanese Pieris features breathtaking chains of red bell-shaped flowers hanging below the branches and dark green foliage which emerges to brick-red in the spring.
- Japanese Andromeda prefers acidic soil and does well in a kanuma substrate mixture. It loves the full sun and high temperatures for producing flowers. Can withstand full sun in all but the highest of temperatures. It can also be grown successfully in mid-day shade. This broadleaf evergreen does go dormant in the winter. Follow general winter care instructions for Bonsai in Canada.
- Watering: This Bonsai should be watered whenever the soil gets dried. Avoid constant soil wetness to prevent root rot.
- Training: wiring is best recommended on younger shoots and twigs. Older branches should not be wired as they are very stiff and can snap easily.
- Pruning: Pruning is best recommended to be done in the spring or summer after flowering, but hard pruning can also be done in the fall or winter.
- Repotting: repot once every 2-3 years and older ones once every 3-5 years. Make sure to not repot on years where hard pruning has been done.
YOUNG: 10”-16” high in a 5”/6” grower pot.
These are not seeds - But an Actual Living Bonsai Tree.
Please see our Choosing a Bonsai page for the age and dimensions regarding the different stages of our Bonsai (Baby, Young, & Mature).
It is important for the soil have good water retention while also draining well, along with very good aeration. The quality of the soil directly affects the health, size and growth of your tree. One of the worst things you can do to your tree is plant it in regular garden soil. Garden soil hardens when it drys and can often lead to a disadvantage when growing a Bonsai.
Soil mixtures can be purchased here, but given their weight and cost of shipping, you can also easily make your own.
Depending on the type of Bonsai you're growing, here are the general formulas for successful mixtures.
Deciduous Tree (Leafy and looses leafs in the fall)
10% Potting Compost
Coniferous Tree (Evergreen like Juniper, Cedar)
If you are not able to check on your Bonsai's moisture levels daily, add more Akadama to the mix.
Given how these soils erode over time, repotting every 2-3 years is required.
Here are some suitable replacements if you cannot find the recommended types of soil.
- Akadama - fine fired or baked clays, some even recommend cat litter as a substitute.
- Pumice - fine crushed aggregates, expanded shale and vermiculite.
- Lava Rock - This can be replaced with fine gravel or you can also look into purchasing a larger lava rock at a hardware or gardening centre and crushing it.
One of the best and easiest ways to fertilize your Bonsai, is to add a liquid fertilizer mix when water your Bonsai's once a month during the spring/summer. If your Bonsai looses leaves in the winter there is no need to fertilize it then. If you have a coniferous tree, fertilizing the tree once in the beginning of winter and once in the middle of winter should be sufficient.