Please help me ! Serissa Problem.

organic_michael_13July 19, 2007

I bought a new serissa foetida a few months ago and was covered in lovely green leaves. It was doing alright for a day or two, but then it started dropping leaves. I repotted it beacause I heard that most bonsai you buy in garden centres grow in clay soil. It still dropped more leaves. I took it out of the bonsai pot and put it in a deep pot with it's trunk beneath the soil and put it in the greenhouse. It stopped dropping leaves. I misted it every day but then I went on holiday for a week and couldn't mist it. I came home and most of the leaves were dead. The stems were still green but some of them were black. I pruned off the black ones to the nearest green bud. I fertilize it every few days with a high nitrogen fertilizer (miracle-gro) instead of bonsai food to help it grow back beacause I really want it to stay alive. I stopped misting it and put an 'ultrasonic humidifier' beside it. By doing these things could my serissa stay alive and is there anything else I could do for it?

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lucy(6)

Yes - read a few books Michael. I don't want to sound mean here, but you really don't have much of a clue, and while we all have to learn and that means dead trees along the way, you could save a lot of grief by backing up a few steps, taking a deep breath and focusing on one step at a time. You seem to have gotten some wrong info along the way apart from anything... bonsai-in-bulk are not planted in clay, but in mostly peaty potting soil, which does hold water much too long, but you haven't said what you repotted into, so it might or might not be good. Fertilizing every few days(!) for an already stressed out tree is way over the top... once in two wks maybe a place to start. Planting the 'trunk beneath the soil' (the whole thing??) is deadly and may be the reason you now have rot somewhere. Trees should never be planted any deeper than they were at the nursery, or in the store, etc., as the trunk and roots will rot. Misting it all the time is a waste of time too, but I can't comment on an ultrasonic hum. Why not just use a proper hum. tray - one full of stones and water - just be sure the water's never high enough to touch the pot. You're not growing moss or fly-traps after all. You may be under another misapprehension - that misting substitutes for proper watering, and it can't. Misting can grow mold and mildew on the surface and leaves too, so quit it. The roots need water, not just the leaves (and in fact You have to water plants, and depending on what they are, what they're planted in and where they're located, it could be often or rarely, never to a schedule though and always well (as opposed to just the surface - and ). Have you got it in the sun? How much and for how long each day? Right now if your tree has a hope (and I sorta doubt it) a house plant fungicide might help - but follow directions on the label, don't just dump it on. And for your sake and other trees' sakes, please go read up on what you're doing.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 4:38PM
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organic_michael_13

I repotted it in bonsai soil. I'll take the trunk out of the soil and plant it the way it was (it is starting to grow new leaves, but anyway). I'll fertilize it less often. Can I still use the ultrasonic hum. - it keeps the place moist (it is in my greenhouse). I will use the humidity tray as well, but the hum. keeps the humidity up higher. It doesn't mist it but makes a cloud using high frequency sounds over water. I watered it every few days, should I do this less often? I keep it in full sun, south facing in my greenhouse, it gets sun all day. I heard diluted lime sulphur is a good fungicide. Should I use a more gritty mix when repot it. I live in zone 9 in Northern Ireland, could I keep it outdoors all year?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 5:48PM
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lucy(6)

Lime sulfur isn't a fungicide, it's used to whiten and preserve deadwood on some conifer bonsai. Just go to the hardware, Wal-Mart, garden ctre, whatever and get a plain house plant fungicide. New leaves are good! Crossing my fingers for you. It shouldn't ever be below 45-50 Fahr., though some have survived a bit lower, but I wouldn't play with this one anytime soon, and do consider how cold overnights get too. Can't say about the 'bonsai' soil - if it's mostly grit and just a little organic matter, you can water just about every day if the water runs right through, but there's bonsai soil and there's bonsai soil, so you'll have to be the judge there, and remember it's not about 'every few days', or some sched., but when it's needed and that changes every day, season, etc. depending on various things. Why are you so fixated on keeping everything wet? It's asking for trouble. It's one thing to keep hum. up in a general way for tropicals, but soaking the place is not recommended (for your furniture, your carpets, etc. etc.) and if a tree is outdoors in Ireland, it doesn't need any extra humidity at all! Most trees don't need it outdoors, unless they're in Arizona or something. Just cuz it's warm doesn't mean it's not humid, but because of breezes, etc. we can't appreciate it like plants can.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 7:40PM
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organic_michael_13

I have the humidifier in my greenhouse with all of my indoor bonsai there, my serissa and figs.(except my fukien tea - it's inside the house). I can get electricity in my greenhouse. Even with the humidifier, it isn't really sticky, and my greenhouse only takes a day or two to dry out. I use peat free soil in my greenhouse because whenever the soil gets dry, it's easy to absorb water. I have a collection of cacti there, I actually think they prefer the humidity other than it being dry, this year they are performing better than other years. 40% of them have flowers. I'm used to growing cacti more than bonsai, I have a collection of over 50. I have a christmas cactus (they grow in rainforests as epiphytes). I pruned it back to nearly nothing last autumn and it is growing better than ever!

After I repotted my serissa, I put a rainbow flower solution bottle in it. It is supposed to be full of growth regulators, hormones and trace elements. It comes from Japan and it can be bought through the internet with bonsai shops.

I hope my serissa is going to live.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 6:23AM
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lucy(6)

Please keep us updated!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 2:18PM
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organic_michael_13

My serissa hasn't dropped any leaves since I repotted it a day ago. I think the rainbow flower solution saved it from transplant shock. I took a cutting a month ago when it had no leaves and put it in water. It hasn't grown any roots yet but is growing lots of new leaves. Maybe when it grows roots I could plant it beside my big serissa as a group planting?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 4:19PM
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lucy(6)

It's growing leaves because the buds were there all along, but if it's going to grow roots, it'll take a bit longer. You could try doing it in all Perlite, rather than water, but it could be ok where it is. A group planting is not exactly a duo, why not see who it wants to be all by itself, just next to the other one, who needs a chance to recover in peace.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 8:42PM
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organic_michael_13

I grafted a new stem on my fig tree - I tied it in place and stuck wax on it. I sent you e-mail pictures of the fig, Lucy, when it was healthy, dropped it's leaves and then grafted.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 1:37PM
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lucy(6)

I'm sorry - that address is old and I moved (I should change that!).

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 5:22PM
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organic_michael_13

Ok. When I was on holiday I found a Port Jackson Fig growing in a 'butterfly farm' (exotic animals and butterflys live there). Exotic Birds that live there eat the figs. I took a cutting with an ariel root. Will the ariel root be the main root when it grows new roots? It had two big leaves on it. I cut off the bud at the top, will it send out branches like a bonsai? Is it easy to defoliate figs because the leaves are so big?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 6:33AM
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