A Japanese flowering quince, or Chaenomeles speciosa, is a popular species specifically grown for bonsai and miniature bonsai. Depending on the cultivar grown, they comprise of tiny flowers that are red, pink or white, and provide the much-needed color in the winter months. With thorny foliage all through the year, a winter flowering quince develops tiny blossoms and flowers between December to March, brightening any little space with a splash of color. They are usually propagated from rooted cuttings that are easily available in nurseries.
Cut a healthy stem that is 2½ to 3 inches long from a parent flowering quince tree or shrub with a sharp pair of scissors, making a straight diagonal cut instead of a jagged one. Do this early in the morning when the sun is not very strong.
Pinch off any flowering buds and leaves from the cutting to remove them. Keep the cutting moist to prevent it from drying by gently misting it with water at room temperature.
Purchase a Styrofoam box or any flat container that is 30 inches long and equally wide, with a depth of 3 inches.
Make several holes with chopsticks that are smaller and narrower than the cutting itself to provide adequate drainage.
Fill the container with equal parts well-draining soil, sand and perlite. Add some rooting hormone that is easily available in a local nursery or garden supply center, following the manufacturer's directions carefully.
Place the cutting in the box 1¼ to 1½ inches deep into the potting mix and gently press the surrounding soil to secure it in place. Water the soil evenly.
Put the container in a well-aired room where it can get fresh air and good sunlight. Do not fertilize the cutting. If placing several cuttings, distance them several inches apart in the container so the leaves of adjacent plants do not touch each other when they develop and grow.
Water the cutting frequently to ensure the soil is evenly moist. Tiny leaves will appear after 75 to 90 days along with initial root development. Keep the container placed on a table or flat surface that has good exposure to sunlight and fresh air.
Fertilize the cutting once at the end of the summer using any organic fertilizer such as crushed bone meal. Spread it over the container evenly and water it to ensure it goes deep.
Prune long branches such as those that comprise of four internodes back to two internodes in the fall to prepare the cutting for winter.
Insert four stakes on each corner of the container and spread a plastic sheet over it to protect it from the cold winter nights.
Remove any flower buds in early spring and transplant the young flowering quince plant into a training pot to encourage the development of new roots. Prune 1/3 of the roots before transplanting with sharp, clean scissors.