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I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

Posted by OnyxCat16 none (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 15:50

I received this Bonsai as a gift ... I think it's a juniper. I've been doing some reading and searching to find out more on care and upkeep. However, I believe I am doing something wrong. I just don't know what. Could someone please help me figure out why it is dying? Thank you!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

It would so help if you gave some clues about what you are doing re water (how often/how much), why the tree's inside vs out (where do you live - don't just stick it outside now tho'), and how much light for how long per day, soil mix etc. etc.


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RE: I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

I will give you what info I can. I am giving it about 1.5 cups of water weekly ... It's inside because the winters here are fairly wet and cold (I am in lower mainland BC and it was just snowing the last few days). There hasn't been much sun, but it is by a window getting maybe 4-6 hrs of light daily. I think it's a 40-60 soil to lava bits. Hope the info is useful.


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RE: I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

Hi - ok, if it's still alive by April (+ temps are above freezing) put it outside for life (don't know when you got it, but it should have been out since last fall pre-freeze, to gradually go dormant... your climate's fine as long as you protect it from too much rain and maybe use a larger container with mulch in between the pots, tho' not in summer). You're giving it way too much water too often, so if it's not already hard and dry (i.e. dead), I think it will be soon. Water in winter should be monthly (and not at all if soil's frozen hard), but indoors maybe every 2 wks, just enough to come out the drain hole. And forget soil, the lava should have been mixed with e.g. chicken grit from a feed store (NOT the oyster shell kind), and quite small bark bits - 30/30/30. And it needs WAY more sun - 14-16 hrs/day (if necessary under a 'daylight' fluorescent 6 inches above the tree). It's not a houseplant, but unfortunately they're sold all over as if they were and most don't make it unless the buyers know better, so don't feel bad.


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RE: I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

Plus with needle conifers, the damage is often done before you know it. The needles yellow and fall AFTER the branch is dead.


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RE: I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

Well, we have made it to Apr with the helpful advice you have kindly provided. Barely alive but hopefully still salvagable with my mishandling =( here is an updated picture of my poor tree, I am wondering if I should prune off the dead stuff or how I should proceed next? Thanks again!


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RE: I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

I would take a sheet of paper and hold under it. Shake a branch and if you see tiny insects. Treat for spider mites. (Not saying that is the culprit but many are having issues. And they do also change the color of foliage if you have them)

I read over on bonsainut.com that junipers need their foliage, so I would not do anything overly to the tree at this time. Other than to put it outside when the days are nice, and water when needed. Just let it bounce back...


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RE: I am slowly killing my bonsai D=

Your Bonsai was a nice plant with lots of potential, however, because of what you were told, ("it's an Indoor Bonsai") the fate of the plant was already sealed. This is a very, very common occurrence.

You really should take this out of it's pot and plant it in the garden for a year or two and see if it recovers. Truth be known, if it survives, it will be a hard road back. Putting it back into Mother Earth will not harm it, she might even heal it.

I agree with what the other responders had to say, all good information and advice. Just do the plant a favor and put it in the soil outside, (weather permitting) if it dies, then it was already to late, but if you keep it in that pot and indoors it is dead anyway.

It's not your fault, so don't go beating yourself up. The blame go to the person or persons that sold you the plant in the first place, telling you that this "Confer" is an "Indoor Bonsai." You see, they care not what happen to the plant after it is sold. Their interest is in the money in your pocket. But from now on it is your responsibility to do what you can to help your Bonsai.

Mark it down as a lesson learned, we are never to old to learn.

Get some good basic Bonsai books and study them, don't just read them. Different authors will give you different slants on the same subject, but that OK.

My Step-father said "if you give advice, plan on being ignored." That has never failed me or stopped me. So here goes.
Just a word of advice, if you have any other "Indoor Bonsai" Plants, get them outside also, before it is to late.

Please keep us apprised as to the condition of the plant, I am sure others will be interested in the outcome of this story. Good luck.


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