How To Take Care Of Your Chinese Lantern Bonsai Tree
Physalis Alkekengi Bonsai Care
About The Chinese Lantern Bonsai Tree
The Chinese lantern is a small, semi-deciduous tree native to Asia and Europe.
It is also known as Strawberry Groundcherry, Winter Cherry, or Japanese Lantern.
It is a popular ornamental plant, widely cultivated in temperate regions of the world, and very hardy to below −4 degrees F and can spread rapidly.
When it grows cold in the winter, your bonsai can die back fully - this is why we recommend your Chinese lantern winters indoors.
The Chinese Lantern is deciduous, and cold hardy, but will die back if left out all winter. When the overnight low temperatures drop to 45 degrees, it's time to bring your bonsai indoors for the winter.
When the low temperatures are consistently above 45 degrees, feel free to bring you r bonsai back outside.
It loves light, and should get plenty of it on a south facing windowsill if possible.
The Chinese lantern, like most bonsai trees, will die if it dries out. It enjoys plenty of water in well draining soil. Never let it dry out completely.
The Chinese lantern enjoys humidity in the drier months, and a suitable humidity drip tray will provide plenty.
Since your Chinese lantern bonsai is in a small pot, and not the ground, it needs nutrients. A slow release (pellet based) fertilizer is perfect for this, and can be added sparingly every 1-2 months during the growing season.
Pruning & Trimming
Trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point that looks good to you — but never remove all of the new growth.
A regular trim will help keep your Chinese lantern bonsai tree short, while helping the trunk grow thicker.
Repotting must be performed periodically on your bonsai, Chinese lantern included, when its root system has filled the pot. If you can clearly see the roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, it’s time to repot your bonsai.
Generally, this means every 2-3 years for a deciduous tree and every 4-5 years for an evergreen. Chinese lantern, being somewhere in between, will need to be repotted around every 3-4 years depending on its environment.
Repotting should be done in mid-summer, when the tree is at it’s least fragile state.
Your Chinese lantern bonsai, along with all of its soil, should be removed from the pot. From there, you can trim away no more than 1/3rd of the root mass (1/4th is preferred.)
Then you can repot the tree in the same pot, or give it a newer / bigger pot to thrive in.
After repotting, your bonsai Chinese lantern should be thoroughly watered.
Diseases, Insects & Other Pests
Your Chinese lantern bonsai can be treated for pests like a normal Chinese lantern plant. Just remember, your tree is miniature and will need a much smaller and more gentile dose of treatment.