Mt. Fuji Serissa - Raised Roots - Information & Care Instructions

Posted on 2 Oct 18:01

MOUNT FUJI SERISSA (serissa‘foetida’)


The Mount Fuji Serissa is a species of small, evergreen shrubs native to Southeast Asia. Serissa is also known as Snowrose or Tree of a Thousand Stars.

The tiny evergreen leaves, gnarled trunk and frequent blooming make it a favorite among bonsai hobbyists, especially in Japan.

Serissa is native to open sub-tropical woodlands and wet meadows in Southeast Asia; the Mount Fuji variety originating in Japan.  The Mount Fuji has very small, deep green leaves with white margins and streaks. An interesting fact; regarding the folige; this Snowrose gets its name “serissa ‘foetida’ (Latin for “stinking”) from the fetid smell the leaves give off if they are crushed or bruised. 
Serissa blooms prolifically from early spring through autumn. The blooms are delicate white star-shaped miniature flowers, which open from pinkish buds.
Easy indoor maintenance: This sub-tropical variegated evergreen, is not difficult to maintain as bonsai, but is easily impacted by its environment. Serissa does not respond well to change. It will drop leaves if: over-watered; under-watered; if it's too cold; too hot; even just moving it to a new location can cause leaf drop. It will drop some leaves after shipping. Fortunately it will begin to re-leafs quickly and grows back to health once it has adjusted to its new location.
Do not move a Serissa around your home trying to get the “right location”; it will never have a chance to adjust. Keeping its environment constant is the best way to prevent leaves from dropping.
In an air conditioned home, keep it away from the direct air flow of a vent; it will not deal well with cold drafts.

How To Take Proper Care Of Your Indoor Bonsai Tree

Bonsai is the reproduction of natural tree forms in miniature. This art form has its origin in Japan and China where it has been practiced for centuries. Bonsai are grown in pots and are totally dependent on you for their care.
With proper care, your bonsai will remain healthy, beautiful and miniature for many years to come. Since your bonsai is a living miniature tree, it will increase in beauty as it matures through the years. The instructions below are just the basics and, therefore, we recommend that you purchase one of the many fine books available on the subject.

The Mount Fuji Serissa will thrive indoors in high light. Keeping in mind earlier comments regarding moving your Serissa from location to location; a Serissa will appreciates outdoor time during the spring and summer. It is safest to wait until outdoor temperatures are close, to the indoor temperatures, to which the plant is accustomed. Resist moving your serissa around it once it is placed outside.

When night time temperatures drop below 45 degrees; when day into night temperature changes start to be large and sudden; we suggest that you bring the tree indoors. Place the tree on a windowsill or on a table facing one. Indoors, Serissa need bright but indirect lighting. If you keep it near a window, I would still think about supplementing lighting.(indirect light) If near a window, I would make sure the window is Not in Full Sun. The ideal indoor location is on a window facing south. An east or west exposure is second best. A northern exposure will work, but it will need supplemental light, in the form of plant "grow lights", to provide sufficient light to keep your bonsai healthy. Four to six hours of sunlight per day should suffice; if you can provide more, even better.


The watering of your bonsai must never be neglected. Apply water before the soil appears dry; never allow the soil to become completely dry. Allowing the soil to dry out completely will cause shock and the plant will die. Keep the soil moist but not wet or soggy.
If you are inexperienced, it may be a good idea to use a moisture meter until you get to know the requirements of your bonsai tree. You can also check the soil frequently with your fingers, until you can associate the Look of the soil to the Feel, and so judge your plants water requirements
Water should be applied until it begins running out of the holes in the bottom of your pot. It doesn’t really matter “how” you water your tree, but rather that when you are finished the tree has been well watered.
Water in the Mornings! Do not re-water in the evenings; wait until the next mornings watering.(it will depend on the environment / humidity of your home and how fast the soil dries). .
Should your Serissa drop its leaves; Never fully water a Serissa when it is totally without leaves; cut back on the water BUT do not allow the soil to get bone dry. Wait until the leaves begin to re-grow before resuming normal full watering. Too much water when the plant is without leaves may cause root rot. Monitor closely

Serissa likes a humid environment. Remember that it is a woodlands and wet meadow plant.
When your bonsai is inside or when the air is dry, we recommend placing it in a shallow tray filled with a layer of gravel with water added. This creates a humid micro environment around the tree; providing extra atmospheric moisture as the water evaporates. This helps to reduce the amount of moisture the plant looses to dry air and modern heating systems.
Misting the leaves, when not in bloom, is also recommended.


Periodic fertilizing is necessary if your bonsai is to remain healthy and beautiful. Since your bonsai is growing in such a small amount of soil it is necessary to replenish the soil's supply of nutrients. Any general-purpose liquid fertilizer will do fine and is available at most garden centers.
We suggest that fertilizers be used at half their recommended strength. Fertilizer should be applied at least once a month except during winter. Your bonsai will also respond well to foliar feeding, with a water-soluble fertilizer applied every other month as a misting spray.


This brief explanation of basic care does not cover training. Training deals with the art of bonsai and should be thoroughly understood before it is undertaken or can be left to a professional. However, most of the true bonsai trees you find have already been through their training period, thus requiring only periodic trimming and pinching to remain miniature.


Trimming and pinching keep your tree miniature. Pinch and trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point. Never should all of the new growth be removed. A little should be left to sustain the health of the tree. Tropical and sub-tropical trees used for bonsai will require periodic pinching and trimming throughout the year. Since different trees grow at different rates, it is necessary to evaluate each tree’s rate of growth and adjust your trimming and pinching to accommodate it.


Repotting must be performed periodically on all bonsai when their root system has filled the pot. The reasons for repotting are to supply your tree with fresh soil, and to encourage a more compact root system. As a rule, most deciduous trees require repotting every two or three years, while evergreens only need to be repotted every four or five years. Since trees grow at different rates, this schedule will not always hold true, therefore, you should examine your tree's root system each year to determine if it has become pot-bound.
In most cases, the potting process is easy and safe if performed properly and at the right time of the year. Repotting should be done in mid-summer. The tree, along with all of its soil, should be removed from the pot. The outer and bottom most fourth of the tree's root mass should be removed. This is done by raking the soil away, then pruning back the roots. In most cases, it is not good to prune back more than one fourth of the tree's root mass. After this, the tree can be placed back in its original pot or into another. The pot should have screen placed over the drainage holes. Then a thin layer of small gravel is placed in the bottom of the pot for drainage purposes. On top of this gravel is placed the new fresh soil. Place a layer of well-draining soil which is sufficient enough to elevate the tree to its previous height in the pot. After placing the tree back in the pot, the area left vacant by the pruned root mass should be filled in with fresh soil. This fresh soil should be worked in around and under the root mass in such a manner as to avoid leaving any air pockets. After repotting, your bonsai should be thoroughly watered. This can be achieved by submerging the entire pot in a tub of water. Moss or other ground covers can be used to cover the surface of the pot to help prevent soil erosion when watering.

Since your bonsai is a tree in miniature, it can be treated for insects and diseases the same as any other tree. If you discover any insects or diseases, visit our website where you will be able to obtain the necessary products to eliminate the problem.