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Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Care & Cultivate Water Jasmine (Wrightia Religiosa) Part 1



Wrightia Religiosa commonly known as Water Jasmine, also known as Sacred Buddhist, Wild Water Plum & Wondrous Wrightia. Its considered a sacred plant for Buddhist - as you can see even the name indicate it so (Sacred Buddhist) and (Religiosa).

This particular Jasmine is native around Southeast Asia regions surrounding Indo-China, Malaysia & Thailand. Also cultivated in other parts and tropical and subtropical regions as ornamental plant. There are instances where this plant have been used traditionally as a medicinal plant - however there are more studies and research required to verify their healing properties. 

Often very much cultivated in Buddhist Temples - this Jasmine have all the symbolic qualities in the spiritual sense of what makes it sacred especially contemplating these universal truths - these are timeless: There is so much to learn and reflect about this flowers of which for this instance considered holy and sacred, more deeper truths can be garnered and revealed as one meditate upon them.

  • The Petals denotes the 5 foundational Precepts of Life

  • The White Flowers denotes the value of learning and knowledge also associated with water element and water - in a deep sense where one frees oneself from the delusion of ignorance.

  • The Fragrance signifying the spiritual value - that among all the fragrant flowers, the fragrance of virtues are the most sweetest.

  • Unlike most Jasmine - Sacred Buddhist cascade downward when in full bloom denotes the value of being humble and not to be engaged with the pride and arrogance of life. Like most things - life is fleeting and so not to be too caught up in ego. Being humble is a virtue leading to a path of enlightenment and freedom. 

  • Another reflection of the 5 petaled flowers denotes the 5 Virtues of Dharma: Wisdom, Kindness, Patience, Generosity and Compassion.

As for now, I just leave these reflection in this basic revelation as my concern is to focus on the Plant Care - However these spiritual values does give a strong impression on why they are cultivated in Temples.

I had found these shrub growing along roadsides where it grows like a weed, I had tried uprooting it but failed as I found the root structure is very strong and tried to manage to grow them using partial damaged roots.

I tried planting this one using cuttings. Somehow with so many unsuccessful attempts I had decided to start this with seeds. It took me almost a year for it to reach this height. What marvels me is their leaves, never seen them so uniformly arranged - almost all of them in pairs. 

With many failed attempts, I decided to take long way by using seed propagation and found that it is much more easier to grow in comparison to cuttings. I had planted 4 - 5 seeds and managed to successfully maintain 2 trees to maturity with a steady growth that took almost 4 years for it to start it's glorious blooms.

It hasn't flowered yet, I recommend that it will fasten the blooming process by stripping off the leaves and pruning as it will speed up the flowering process.

Here you can note that the foliage structure is board and long - it should not be so. One of the technique in bonsai cultivation is to constantly prune and trim as it would train the plant to produce miniature size leaves - also it will trigger a stress factor forcing this jasmine into blooming.


Being a Tropical Plant native surrounding regions of the Southern Asia - this plant does require good strong indirect bright sunshine, It can tolerate growing in shaded area however it must receive at least 6 hours of sunshine. It does not do well in heavy shaded area and may not bloom in such conditions. Also the leaves may turn pale and also become leggy. Another factor in the lack of sunlight may cause the plant to become stress and can attract pest to heavily attack on them.

Hence do give a thought if you're not having open garden area as this would not so well as indoor plant - even placing them as a balcony potted plant can be challenging if they receive inadequate light.

Lack of sunlight can also cause it not to bloom hence it will just be an evergreen shrub without flowers.


Considering one of the most basic thing about planting material - this one doesn't require anything special - just any balanced potting mix will do. They seem to do fine in a medium or big potted plant - however they will do great if they are planted directly into the garden soil as these will require just that to create those majestic cascading blooms. 

However if limitation occurs where you can only grow in pot - then a good balanced potting mix with rich amount of organic material and equal part of well drained soil which will help from root rot. 

Also Water Jasmine is often cultivated as a Bonsai plant and propagated using seed as it is much stable and produce very much like a miniature tree-like structure, hence a good quality balanced soil mix is required especially when it comes to bonsai pots where the pot density is shallow.


It may require a good adequate watering - based on the size of the plant.
You can grow it in a nice medium or large size pot, the plant will behave and grow based on the size of the pot. However I would recommend this to grow freely on ground if you want lushful beautiful cascading flowers.

Also this plant is a heavy feeder and do feed adequately during the flowering season.
However take note that over-watering can cause them to bud-drop especially during the rainy season, hence a well balance fast draining medium to ensure no root rot occurs.

These do have blooming cycle and may not be in constantly flowering however a lot of factors are also involve especially sunlight, feeding, watering and size of the plant.

This is the 2 Jasmine Plant which I had cultivated and experimenting - as you can see the size of it - keeping it short and manageable makes it easier to maintain them in long term basis.

Do follow up on this posting in Part 2 where I will show the end result of Pruning which causes them to become heavy bloomers.

This particular Jasmine was found growing wildly in the abandoned housing area. I wish I could steal this tree away but it just too wild and big. I tried many attempts in propagating this using cuttings but was not successful.

The full bloomed Jasmine flowers emit a sweet fragrance that last throughout the day however it doesn't stay more on the plant which creates a kind of nostalgic appearance when the blooms falls like dancing fairies cascading down to the ground.

These create clustered blooms with new flower buds that can last almost a week or two with the right conditions they can last longer.

Also another factor when it comes to this jasmine when growing unattended, it does grow unruly and the stem overgrown and wild which will discount the formation of blooms. Pruning is essential in this case, especially when it is cultivated in the garden - or else it would like this. 

Also removing the green seed pod if you are not collecting the seeds are also essential as it will cause the plant to put in too much energy in the pod formation. All these pruning and trimming will make this Jasmine to focus on the flower development which is in this case - what happens when it not attended to.

Do follow up on this posting in Part 2 where I will show the end result of Pruning which causes them to become heavy bloomers on the link below:

Also, Do click on the link below for more information on 
Other Types of  Tropical Fragrant Flowers:

How to Care & Cultivate Water Jasmine Bonsai (Wrightia Religiosa)

In this video, I will be sharing how I care & cultivate this particular tropical plant commonly known as Water Jasmine (Wrightia Religiosa) This particular Jasmine was grown using seeds - I have tried a couple of times propagating them using cuttings but failed miserably many times over.

However once the plant had established itself over the years in a slow growth - it never failed to give out blooms on it's seasonal basis. Here I will be sharing the factors of lighting, watering and potting to keep them in check so as not to overgrow the plant as I want them to be in a bonsai shape factor. - Tips on leaves pruning - Tips on roots exposure

And few other pointers concerning these Jasmine characteristics.


Stephanie said...

Nice job there James! Plant from seed easier? Thanks for the info.

Autumn Belle said...

James, I have never of this water jasmine before. When I first looked at the leaves I thought it was the curry leaf plant! What a great find! Where did you get the seeds?

I too experience difficulty when trying to photograph pure white flowers, especially those of the jasmine. Can't seem to get a sharp image to bring out the real beauty of these flowers. The only easy one is the wrightia antidysenterica.

James David said...

Stephanie - Yes, seeds are so much easier, do try to grow them - you will be marveled at the growth rate.

Belle - Actually you have seen this jasmine, its in Stephanie's post under the title: Sundal Malam (Mistress of the Night)

You can actually see the seedpods & the detailed information in her blog.
Thanks Stephanie for introducing this.

The seeds look exactly like the "lalang seeds" or more like a dandelion seeds. They are air-borne. The seedpod crack open releasing all the seeds to be carried by the wind.

I collected the green seedpod and kept it to dry-up and once its matures, it released the seeds. Do be cautious with the fine filament on the crown, the silk may trigger allergy.

Chloe m said...

It is a beautiful plant and that fact that it is sacred makes it all the more so.
Great photos...even the flowers were pretty.

James David said...

Thanks Rosey - still wondering why is it considered sacred. It had been said that this plant is a must to be have in Buddhist Temples.

Stephanie said...

Ha ha... if I knew earlier, I would have gotten some seeds when I took those pics earlier :-D

James David said...

Stephanie - if you want do e-mail me your address and I can post some of those seeds to you.

Carl said...

C. L. Rosner from Southern New Jersey!

I have been growing Wrightia religosa since October of 2003. I have one left, grown from seeds, and one from a cutting 2006. They are a wonderful tree, but require constant pruning to obtain a full growth of foliage. Flowers appear usually after the third set of leaves develop. The aroma is of Jasmine.

Warmest regards to all,

Carl L. Rosner

James David said...

Thanks Carl for dropping by and your blooming tips. Appreciate it very much.

Anonymous said...

Hi James

i am from Australia,,,,love to have one of this tree, do you have any seeds left,,,any idea where can i buy this seeds??



James David said...

I had send you an e-mail.
We will correspond from there.

Anonymous said...

Hi to everyone,

I love that wonderfull plant,but could not have unfortunately. Once I could get some seeds but could not manage to germinate. I think I did sth. wrong. Now it is very good to see this topic for me as I feel I may have some more seeds.
So, Mr. Missier I have just send an e mail to you, I hope you can reply soon.

Best regards

G├╝rol, TURKEY

Carl said...

I have been growing Wrightia religosa for 20 years. I have grown one from seed, and the require very little care. More likely benign neglect works well!

Have pictures, but I do not see how to attach!

Carl L. Rosner

James David said...

I had send you an e-mail.
We will correspond from there.

James David said...

They do indeed able to handle neglect well.
Most of these cultivars are actually turned into bonsai for their ascetic values.

Carl said...

Dear James:
The only Email I received said (no reply)...

I posted pictures of my Wrightia religosa last night on my web site:

Anonymous said...

sir i have 4 jasmine bonsai and i have spend 10 years developing it. you will just need to water it and fertilizing it once awhile.If you are interested please send your request to

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My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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