The Brush Cherry, which is native to Florida, is an evergreen shrub that thrives in warm climates. It has small glossy leaves that develop red highlights if given sufficient light, puffy white flowers and lovely, round berries. It can grow to a height of 35 feet in the wild though as a bonsai it grows to an ideal 14 inches in 10 years.
Brush Cherries grow best in natural light though they can also be grown indoors. They can withstand hot weather easily, and in winters need a temperature ranging from 46 to 68 degrees.
Their water needs are quite high in summer, but come down in winter. Ideally, the soil should be kept slightly moist by soaking and then drying out. Occasionally, you can use a humidity tray and mist the plant. The bonsai should be placed on top of the humidity tray so that it collects water that drains from the freshly watered bonsai.
The Brush Cherry should be fed every two weeks during peak growing season and every four to five months in winter. The soil should be a little on the acidic side, and can be fertilized by an organic liquid fertilizer such as a fish emulsion or an organic seaweed fertilizer. Chemical fertilizers can also be used but they should be diluted to approximately one half the strength.
The leaves should be pruned in summers, and the bonsai should be wired during the active growing season. You can also aggressively prune the roots since it survives loss of two-thirds of its roots. Sometimes there is a negative reaction to extreme root pruning so take care not to prune roots back too far when repotting.
It should be repotted every two years, from early to mid spring. After repotting, it should be watered thoroughly and kept in a shady location for several weeks so that new roots may grow.
The Brush Cherry keeps robust health but is prone to insects like Caribbean fruit fly, aphids, red spider mites, meal bugs, and scales. Check for these several times a week and treat with organic insecticides or pesticides.
Moss is not essential to grow bonsai, but when added enhances its beauty and improves moisture retention. Growing Moss helps to keep it alive if misted regularly. Looks great in any style so let your creativity take flight!