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Snow Rose, The Tree of a Thousand Stars

The small shrubs of Snow Rose (Serissa) are much loved as bonsai for their tiny flowers which may occur 2-3 times yearly, gnarled trunks, and naturally miniature leaves. Most bonsai are S. foetida, of which many cultivars are available.
Probably the two most common bonsai purchased by the casual bonsai buyer in America are Juniperus and Serissa. Judging from the number of junked junipers and shriveled Serissas, beginners would be far happier with elm and Ficus. Serissa is a notoriously fussy bonsai. The good news is that they aren't that hard to keep alive. But considering that most people buy Serissa on impulse because the plant is so spectacular at the store, the bad news is bad indeed. The plant will generally drop its flowers within a day or two. Then the plant will drop its leaves. If the grower doesn't panic (and many Serissas are inadvertantly killed by panicing beginners who respond by drastically over/underwatering the plant) the plant will soon regrow its leaves. A power struggle then ensues. The grower soon discovers that the Serissa drops its leaves if it has too much water. Too little water. If it's too hot or too cold. If it's moved, or there is a shift in lighting or temperature. If you cough near it or use a vulgarity in its presence. If it doesn't like your looks.
Until someone develops Serissa subliminal motivation tapes, (the calming sound of waves upon the shore as voices whisper, "You are lush; you are green; you want to keep your leaves...") the ugly truth is that some growers develop a knack for the foibles of the Serissa, while others are doomed to wait hand and foot upon a plant which looks like it's auditioning for a role in "Les Miserables." However, because the plant is so lovely, widely available, and popular as a traditional bonsai, most of us try our hands at it at one time or another. So for the masochist in all of us, here is the care information for Serissa! Learn more about snow rose...

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