Carissa Macrocarpa as bonsai

By September 17, 2020 No Comments

Carissa macrocarpa is a native shrub to Southern Africa. It is commonly known as the Dwarf Natal plum and, in South Africa, the large num-num. 


Since the carissa macrocarpa can withstand salty winds, it is ideal for coastal areas. This shrub has shiny, deep green leaves that can reflect harsh sunlight to avoid loosing too much water through the leaves.  It also produces a perfumed like scent snowy white flower that is intensified during the night.  Like most of the Carissa species, the carissa macrocarpa is an evergreen shrub that produces latex and spines that protects her from being eaten by animals.  From summer to autumn, this shrub bloom for long months while producing a plumpy, round and eadible crimson fruit.  The fruit can be consumed in different ways:  out of hand, made into pies, jams, jellies, and sauces.  

As a bonsai:

Carissa macrocarpa characteristics also makes it ideal be part of a collection of bonsai trees since it can be styled in various styles of bonsai such as: informal upright,semi cascade, slanting and broom style.  It can be exhibited the whole year around or during blooming and the fruit season.

The Carissa macrocarpa can grow both outdoors and inside a warm climate indoors, which makes it a very decorative bonsai tree mostly when bearing fruits.  It can also grow in a partial shady area, but it will get full blooms when exposed to full sunlight.

 The Carissa macrocarpa needs regular water but the pot should have a good drainage facility.  It should be protected from very cold temperatures below 29F.   

Insects and diseases:

Spider mites, thrips and whiteflies, and occasionally scale insects.  


The Carissa macrocarpa can be propagated in various ways:  By seeds, cuttings, air-layering.  It can also, be grafted which makes it ideal for bonsai artists.

Martin Abela

Author Martin Abela

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