Rosa Chinensis

Chinese Rose Bonsai

The Chinese rose is popular for its showy flowers that come in a variety of colours and bloom most of the growing season. They are usually found in nature as small deciduous shrubs and develop attractive bonsai with their rough bark, small leaves and flowers. Once the flowers have died, they will leave rosehips.

Chinese Rose Bonsai Care Guide

Chinese Rose Bonsai Care Tips

The Chinese rose is an outdoor bonsai species, and you should choose a location for it which more or less replicates where they have evolved in nature. They do best when they are provided with a lot of sun to help ripen the shoots from which flowers will come but also provide it with some shade, especially during the hottest parts of summer days. 

During winter, your rose bonsai tree will require a dormant period which can be achieved with temperatures around 2-12 °C but it is important to protect from temperatures lower than this and especially frost. This can be done by moving the rose to a cold frame, unheated greenhouse or by using insulation.  

There is no definitive guide to watering and it should be conducted on an observational schedule, not a routine. This means that it is important to keep an eye on the moisture levels of the soil to avoid over and under watering, both which can lead to dropping leaves and/or root death. The amount of water a bonsai requires depends on pot size, climate, airflow, soil and tree type so it is best to use your eyes and fingers to assess whether the soil is damp, wet or dry. 

If the top inch or so of soil has dried, it is ready to be watered. When you water, try to get an even coverage over the roots and soil, allowing water to flow out from the bottom of the pot to ensure a good soaking.

If you are a first-time bonsai owner, another way to water is by submerging the entire pot in water until the bubbles stop. If you choose this method, be aware that your bonsai may not need watering for another two or three days, but this will depend on the factors mentioned above.  

When watering a Chinese rose, it is best to use soft water or rainwater as it doesn’t like tap water that is very calcareous.

Using fertiliser on your Chinese rose will help encourage healthy growth and this should be done periodically from once a week to every two months and only during the growing season. You can start adding Chrysal Liquid Bonsai Feed to your water from March until October and use weekly. Use Naruko Fertiliser Slow Release Bonsai Feed once every one to two months. With Buddhist Pine trees, less is more, and we tend to advise using half the recommended dosage to see how your Buddhist Pine reacts first.

Chinese roses are susceptible to chlorosis (leaves turn yellow with green veins) so consider using extra fertilisers that contain iron if your plant shows symptoms of this.

Pruning your bonsai is important not only to maintain or create an aesthetic style but to also ensure light and airflow can reach inner leaves and the rose tolerates pruning well.

As soon as the flowers have wilted and died, pinch or cut them off. Remove the whole flower, including the dead petals and the whole bud from which it came. This will keep the tree compact and encourage ramification but remove the rosehips. If you would prefer to keep the rosehips, leave the wilted flowers. In early spring, before the new buds swell, begin pruning the branches and leaves too.

Training your bonsai using wiring is possible but take care of the thorns. The older the branches become, the more brittle and harder they get and can break easily. New shoots are easy to train and best wired after summer. We recommend using wires with a thickness that matches the thickness of the branch: If the wire you choose is too thick you will damage the bark. If it is too thin, it won’t be effective.

Repotting your tree is an important way to provide a fresh and suitable soil mix and ensure appropriate root health. Repot in early spring. Generally, your rose will need to be re-potted once every two years if it is young, while older ones can stay in their pots for longer. However, you should always check if it has become root-bound before you change pots. You can do this by lifting the tree gently out of the pot by the main trunk and examining the root system. You will know it is ready if you can see that the roots are circling around each other and the pot. If, however, they still appear contained in the soil, you should place it back and wait until the following spring to check again.  

Trees that are ready for repotting will require root pruning, a suitable new pot and appropriate soil mix.

When repotting, do not cut back the root mass by a large amount, and choose a well-draining soil mix that has a neutral or slightly higher PH value of 5-6 but not over 7. We tend to use a mixture of different speciality bonsai soils on our trees. Every species is different so please contact us for free soil-mix advice or to take advantage of our repotting service.

Bonsai trees aren’t only magnificent additions to an indoor oasis, they are more than capable of standing out in any garden. Many Bonsai species are incredibly hardy and withstand nature’s colder and damper turns with aplomb making them worthwhile outdoor plants. We have an extensive library of care guides for outdoor bonsai trees. It’s not about selecting the perfect bonsai, it’s about selecting the perfect bonsai for you. 

Chinese Rose Bonsai - Typical Queries

A Chinese Rose Bonsai can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, or grafting. Seeds can be sown in a moist and sterile potting mix and kept in a warm and humid environment until they germinate. Cuttings can be taken from healthy and mature branches and dipped in a rooting hormone before planting in a moist and sterile potting mix. Grafting can be done by attaching a scion (a branch with a flower bud) from a desired variety to a rootstock (a plant with a strong root system) of the same species. Grafting should be done in the spring or summer, and the graft should be wrapped with a grafting tape until it heals.

A Chinese Rose Bonsai can be affected by various pests and diseases, such as aphids, spider mites, scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies, leaf spot, powdery mildew, rust, and anthracnose. To prevent these problems, a Chinese Rose Bonsai should be kept in a clean and well-ventilated environment, and inspected regularly for any signs of infestation or infection. To treat these problems, a Chinese Rose Bonsai should be sprayed with a suitable insecticide or fungicide, or treated with a natural remedy, such as neem oil, soap spray, or baking soda spray. Any infected or infested parts should be removed and disposed of properly.