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brian
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elephant tree

I recently purchased an eighteen year old elephant tree bonsai and it is worrying me because I have noticed a bit of yellowing and a few leaves have started dropping off. The place where I purchased it had it growing in a greenhouse and the humidity level was unbelievable and it was very hot. Could it be that the tree is just adjusting to it's new environment or should I be concerned about the change in light level and put it under supplemental lighting because it is in my sun room. Any advice would be most appreciated, thank you and God bless, Brian.
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arboricola
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brian;

Nothing to worry about. Let the tree get used to its new home.

A humidity tray would help.

Give it bright light and supplemental light in winter would not hurt.

Watch how you water this tree. Let the soil go almost dry. These plants can go without water for weeks.

Phil...

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brian
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Thanks, I was thinking about putting it outside for a few hours each day to get some sun, is that a bad idea because it might add to the trees confusion?

arboricola
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brian;

I would leave it where you have it. It can go outside next spring.

Phil...

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brian
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Thanks again for the advice, have a great day! :D
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bonsaiboy
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I usualy let the leafs on mine become slightly wrinkled before I water it agin. The leafs return to normal a few hours after watering. This procedure makes shure you don't over water it. Mine thrives like this. As long as the tree recives some light from a non-north window, it should be fine.
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brian
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Thanks for the advice, I will watch it over the next little while and see how it does. I was just a bit worried when I saw it drop a few leaves, I am like a parent who just brought home a new baby, over reacting a bit. :lol: Have a great day! Brian.
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Gnome
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brian,

I also keep Elephant Bush or, more accurately, Portulacaria afar and have found them relatively easy to manage. My main problem with them is that I have very little natural lighting available to me during the winter and I am forced to rely on fluorescents. This usually causes some leaf drop as they overwinter but they recover nicely when I move them outside the following summer.

Bonsaiboy has given you sound advice WRT watering, water infrequently but thoroughly. His advice on location is sound as well, no point in moving it about (I move things as little as possible) especially since cold weather will soon be upon us and this is a tender species.

Do not be discouraged if you see minimal growth over the coming months, get it outside next summer though and really watch it take off. On a related note I fertilize very little, if any, during the winter. Perhaps if your lighting is better you could fertilize minimally.

Two other thoughts, you have acquired a very nice specimen and this species is very easy to propagate. Any clippings you may take can be rooted and soon you will have more than you know what to do with, I know I do. :roll:

Norm

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brian
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Thanks Norm,
On a different note, my sarissa that I showed you before has met a terrible fate, the problems it was having were related to a spider mite infestation that because of my inexperience I didn't catch in time.(a mistake I will not make again) by the time i figured it out the tree was almost completely dead :cry: , I was amazed at how quickly this happened. I examined al of my plants closely and found that the problem was spreading so I sprayed and bagged all of my plants and it seems to have worked. Do you have any experience with these nasty little buggers? If so I would appreciate any info you can give me to prevent it from happening again. Thank you and God bless, Brian. :D
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brian
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hello again, I just had one more question. Should i be removing the leaves that are turning yellow and brown on the tips or just waiting for them to drop on thier own? any advice would be appreciated, thank you and God bless, Brian. :D
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Gnome
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Brian,

I have not had much trouble with Spider Mites in this area so I can't offer much on that front. There is no real need to make an effort to remove fading leaves on your Portulacaria. Eventually they will get to the point that they will fall at the slightest touch.

The real question you should be asking yourself is why are they fading. Mine don't usually drop many leaves until after I am forced to bring them inside for the winter where I feel my problem is low light levels. During the summer I keep them outside. I just looked at them and found no fading leaves whatsoever. Perhaps yours is still getting adjusted to the new environment or you are still getting used to watering succulents.

Norm

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brian
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[img]https://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm19/brianscooby123/IMG_1100.jpg[/img]
This is what it looks like right now as you can see there appears to be new growth that is healthy but there are a lot of older leaves that have turned yellow and some are brown on the tips? Any thoughts?
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bonsaiboy
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Perhapse maybe you should take a look at the soil. If the soil is inaproprate for growing a suculent bonsai in (as in normal potting soil), I'd change it ASAP.
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brian
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I went right to the grower to get the tree and he is a very established bonsai person so i don't think that is the problem. there seems to be new growth that is very healthy so i don't know if it is just an environment issue or something else that is causing the yellowing. It has only been with me for a little over one week and coming from a greenhouse it is probably pretty stressed right now, i just don't want to mistake that for something more serious. Thanks for the advice and God bless, brian :D
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bonsaiboy
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If your shure about the soil Id say its OK. Maybe you could try to spray it with a insecticide (test it on a leaf first). Its probably adjusting to its new home. As for your question on spider mites, I prevent infestations by routinely spraying my plants with neem.
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brian
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thanks for the advice, take care, brian.

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brian
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My portulacaria afra has settled in to it's new home nicely, very few leaves are turning yellow and it barely losing any at all now. There is a lot of new growth and I am going to have to start pruning but I am going to wait untill it is fully settled in, thanks for aall the advice everyone, Brian.
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bonsaiboy
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Im glad to hear this.
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