How to Grow Serissa - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Bush Category   /   2023

Serissa, also known as tree of a thousand stars, is a small evergreen tree native to Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia. It is a popular houseplant due to its resilience and ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions. Serissa is an easy plant to care for, and with a little patience, it can be a rewarding addition to your indoor garden.

How to Grow Serissa - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Serissa plant? known as the tree of a thousand stars, the Serissa is a beautiful evergreen shrub that is easy to grow with little difficulty. The Serissa does best in bright indirect sunlight but can also tolerate lower light levels. It is important to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Allow the topsoil to dry out slightly between watering. The Serissa can be fertilized monthly with a well balanced fertilizer.

Plant Size

How big can it be? Unless trimmed, Serissa can grow quite large, up to 25 cm or more in height. It is often grown in bonsai form, however, which involves trimming the roots and branches to keep the plant small.

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? While Serissa can vary somewhat in growth rate, they typically grow by 5-10 cm annually. This makes them a relatively slow-growing plant, which is something to keep in mind if you're looking for a plant that will quickly fill up a space. However, their relatively slow growth rate also means that they are relatively low-maintenance, since they won't need to be trimmed or shaped as often as faster-growing plants.

Serissa Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Bush
Family Rubiaceae
Origin India, China, Japan

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? Eventually, most plants will come to the end of their lifespan. This is especially true for fast-growing, flowering annuals and tender perennials. But even the sturdiest, longest-lived shrubs and trees have a limited time on this earth. The age at which a plant expires depends on many factors, including genetics, growing conditions, and disease. Some plants live for only a few years, while others may persist for decades or longer.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? While this plant is tropical, it does not like excessive heat. The ideal temperature range for a Serissa is 64.4-86 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 57.2-59 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. It is important to keep the temperature within this range, as anything below 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit will damage the plant.


What about the humidity? When growing Serissa, it's important to maintain high humidity around the plant. The minimum relative humidity for Serissa should be 50%. It's best to mist the plant twice a day, in the morning and evening. Another way to increase the humidity around Serissa is to set the pot on a tray filled with wet pebbles. Just be sure that the bottom of the pot doesn't touch the water.

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? known as the tree of a thousand stars, the Serissa is a beautiful evergreen that produces delicate white flowers. It's a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts. When it comes to lighting, the Serissa does best in bright indirect light but can tolerate some direct sun. If the light is too low, the leaves will yellow.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Serissa? The best type of soil for a Serissa plant is one with an acidity level of pH 4.5-5.5. If you're preparing the soil yourself, you can mix equal parts of peat, leaf, humus, turf, and sand. It's also important to use drainage to ensure the plant doesn't become waterlogged.

Watering Time

How much I must water Serissa? Unless you’re growing Serissa in a very hot, dry climate, you’ll probably need to water your plant every 3-4 days during the summer. The soil should be allowed to dry up to a depth of 1.5 cm between watering. Use only soft water. In winter, watering should be moderate, no more than 1 time per week. It’s important not to overwater the plant, but at the same time, the soil should never be allowed to dry completely, even in winter. For serissa grown as bonsai, bottom irrigation from a saucer is useful. After such watering, be sure to drain the water.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. Common ly, Serissa is fertilized from spring to autumn every month using liquid fertilizer. It is better to use organic top dressing, however if using mineral fertilizers, they should be diluted by half with respect to the recommended dose. In winter, do not feed the plant.


How to reproduce Serissa? Eventually, the plant will need to be propagated in order to keep it healthy and growing. The best way to propagate a Serissa is through cuttings. Cuttings should be taken from the apical, or top part of the plant. They should be about 10 cm long and have 2-3 nodes. The nodes are the small, slightly swollen places on the stem where leaves are attached. The cuttings should be placed in a greenhouse that is covered with polyethylene. The greenhouse should have lower heating, and the cuttings should be placed in a mixture of peat and perlite. Heteroauxin should also be used. Heteroauxin is a plant hormone that helps promote root growth. After rooting (which should take about a month), the plant can be transplanted into a pot.


Why Serissa won't bloom? Because they are small, Serissa flowers may go unnoticed. They are usually white or pink and can be found blooming from May to September.

Transfer or Repotting

How much I must water Serissa? Because it's a bonsai, the Serissa plant should be transplanted every 2 years in March or April. You can partially cut the roots when you transplant. Be sure to keep the plant in the shade for a bit afterwards.

Caring The Serissa

How to care the plant? Eventually, your plant will become root-bound and will need to be transplanted into a larger pot. The plant is negatively affected by stagnant air, so the room should be periodically ventilated. Lower temperatures in winter make it possible to achieve fruit formation. It is useful to cut weak shoots in spring and pinch the tops of branches for better branching. The dried side branches are cut with scissors. Cropping the lower branches, it is possible to provide fomiation of the plant in the form of a tree.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Serissa plant? When growing it, you need to be careful, as it is affected by spider mites, chervets, aphids, scutes. Also, the plant is quite often decaying roots with excessive watering. Serissa does not bloom most often because of a lack of light. However, in case of excessive illumination, a leaf burn is possible. If contain serissa day in the heat, and at night in the cold, it can cause fungal infections. When growing in a heavy substrate, rotting of the root system is possible. The leaves turn yellow, rot and fall off when the soil is waterlogged. In winter, the leaves fall due to lack of light.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Serissa poisonous? Sometimes, the Serissa plant can be toxic to people and animals if ingested. The main toxin in the plant is called saponin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues. In severe cases, it can even lead to death. If you think your pet or child has ingested any part of the Serissa plant, it's important to seek medical attention immediately.