In May of 2002,  Shailesh Pranlal Kapadia of India sent a packet of seed of Water Jasmine and this is what he wrote:

         Hello David, here is some information about the WRIGHTIA RELIGIOSA seeds that I sent to you. 

            It is extensively used in bonsai in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines & other southeast Asia. Propagation by cutting, airlayering, and seeds.  It loves full sun, water, bright light, but also grows in semi-shade. Normally grows in any kind of soil with organic matter.

            SEEDS: Any well-drained soil mixture is good. I use 50-50 coconut peat and sand. Sprinkle seeds, cover with a thin layer of peat. Give water from below and also spray with some fungicide in water.   Cover with glass or polyethelene film. Here it germinates in 10 to 15 days.

             Regards,   Shailesh Pranlal Kapadia (India) May 18, 2002                ____________________________________________

            Shailesh's seeding technique is very sophisticated and we use it only on seeds that are difficult to germinate.  Since I needed only a few seedlings for this non-commercial "new specie" trial, I used our standard germinating procedures and there was excellent germination.  At four-leaf stage, seedlings were taken from the germinating flats, the tap root trimmed, potted into 5" square pots, and placed in the full sun. 

                During this period, I was very busy.  But from time to time, I checked the seedlings and began to do a modest amount of experimental training on a very casual basis.  In the past, I conducted hundreds of such trials as I researched new bonsai plants.  Although I kept informal notes and records, I had never formally documented the process. In sharing with you and making updates from time to time, we'll have a "development record" of training Water Jasmine. 

                Different plants requires different techniques. Pines grown from seeds can be soft-pinched early to develop new growth closer to the roots, but it's necessary to keep green foliage on at all times. Massive total reduction will kill the seedling.  Although great skill is required, it has been written that it is possible to develop outstanding pine root systems but cutting off and rootting the tops of newly germinated pine seedlings!   There are a huge number of techniques that are simple or extremely sophisticated.   This section will focus on simple techniques that most enthusiasts can duplicate.

                There are no magical bonsai plants.  The concepts have universal application and the most important factor is the tree being able to grow strongly for YOU!  Trees that are not growing well are difficult or impossible to train.  I hope this educational series will inspire readers to create similar parallel trials with seeds of plants available in their area and that you'll share those experiments too!

WaterJasmine 1 flowers.jpg (32094 bytes)          Water Jasmine is a beautiful plant with delicate flowers that hang in bunches.  Ours began to bloom after the plant was about a year old.  This photo was taken in September from a plant growing in full sun.

         Leaves are about 1 1/2" long x 3/4" wide and opposite.  This type of growth is similar to Jaboticaba, Pyracantha, Surinam Cherry, Australian Bush Cherry, and many other plants.

WaterJasmine 2 variegated.jpg (36415 bytes)         Out of the entire seed batch, one plant developed variegated leaves and seemed to have dwarf characteristics.  Some leaves are 100% clean slightly bluish white and only 3/8" long.  Others have an attractive mottling pattern with none being pure green. 

        We have just begun to root cuttings.   If they root and retain their dwarf characteristics, the dwarf compact plants would make very attractive saikei-type landscapes.

                To learn more, I contacted Jerry Meislik of Montana who is amongst the most enthusiastic bonsai traveller to southeast Asia. I needed to get a better idea of how the tree grows and his photos and thoughts are posted at:  DEVELOPING GOALS as the next page of this Training Seedling section.

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