General information: These small shrubs are much loved as bonsai for their tiny flowers which may occur 2-3 times yearly, gnarled trunks, and naturally miniature leaves. 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 the grower doesn’t panic (and many Serissa are inadvertently killed by panicking beginners who respond by drastically over/underwatering the plant) the plant will soon regrow its leaves.
Lighting: Partial sun for S. foetida. If kept indoors, keep by a windowsill. Too little light will result in leggy growth.
Temperature: Hardy to zone 9. Some growers bring them in when temps drop to 50F, others leave them outside until temps are in the 20s! Ideal winter temperatures range from 50-68F. More important than the actual temperature seems to be two factors: the plant dislikes a sudden change in lighting (many die from lack of light when brought indoors) and individual plants may be show different hardinesses (a Serissa grown outdoors from youth will withstand a greater variation in temperature than a Serissa purchased from a greenhouse). If brought indoors, do not position this plant near a heat source, or it will lose leaves. If kept outdoors year round, will drop leaves as the temperatures become colder.
Watering: Keep evenly moist. It generally needs lots of water during warm weather, so much that some authorities recommend placing the Serissa in a tray of water. Others warn against this, as it encourages root rot. Serissa is not a natural water-lover like bald cypress, so a water tray should not be necessary if you faithfully water at the first sign of dryness. However, if Serissa dries out, it will soon drop its leaves. If this occurs, remember to reduce watering until the leaves return, or root rot may ensue. Some recommend misting in dry weather. Some recommend daily misting, but do not mist while in bloom as this causes the flowers to rot. Placing the Serissa on a moisture tray is another option.
Visit the Care page for more information.