saxykat
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: NJ

I suppose it's gone. (Azalea)

Hello,

I am new to the forum and came here seeking advice for my "new" bonsai.

I have a Satsuki Azalea, that was a gift ordered from 1-800-FLOWERS... around May. It arrived in a box, with many branches broken...

It was purchased to sit with me in my office, however, I never thought this was a good idea.

Monday through Friday, I would open the east window, and let the air and sun in on the tree on my desk next to the window. I had hoped this was sufficient enough to being "outside." Would you think so??

I watered it a bit most every day when the top seemed dry, except the weekends, when I was not here to water it. I have the pot resting on a wet pebble bed to keep the humidity around it up. (the pot DOES NOT sit in the water, just on a pebble mound above the water line).

However, I noticed that instead of blooming in June and July, the leaves began slowly falling off. Last weekend, I had a 3 day weekend, and I came in to my office to find ALL of the leaves dried and curled up. (knowing i was going to be gone for three days, i had hoped that submerging it in water for a little bit before i left would give it enough to survive the weekend)



I tried the "scratch" test, and scratching with my finger nail near the dirt line of the tree produced nothing but pale brown. I got out my small pocket knife and tried scraping more... and still nothing but brown.

At this point, I think its pretty much dead. I'd like to figure out which thing I did actually killed it.

Another problem I had was with whiteflies. I tried using an organic 3 in one fungicide, mitecide, insecticide to get rid of them, but alas, they still live and my tree does not.

I'd like to not make the same mistakes again, in case I get another tree...

Thanks for any help or advice!

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Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

saxykat,

Hello and welcome to the site. An office is far from an ideal environment for trees/shrubs. Low light and low humidity (due to air conditioning in summer and heating in winter) are two of the worst factors. Being unattended for at least two days, or more, a week is also not a situation conducive to healthy plants.

Then there is the issue of commercial bonsai, which are often not in the best of condition when they arrive. So often we read of new growers who have purchased, or have been gifted with, these mass produced 'bonsai'. These plants are somewhat of a novelty item and often are the source of more grief than joy. The plants themselves are usually not well established and the shipping does not help. Then the instructions are notoriously incomplete, or worse deliberately misleading. Often the recipients of these are not well versed in the requirements of the plant. This all can often lead to disappointment and loss of interest.

If you would like to try again in the same location might I suggest a Ficus or perhaps a Schefflera. These are more tolerant of low levels of light and humidity and can do reasonably well in an office setting especially if you go the extra mile and provide some supplemental lighting. Consider fluorescent lighting of some form.

Norm

saxykat
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: NJ

Norm,

Thank you for your reply.

I had hoped by refraining from using the AC and keeping the window open in my office that the azalea would be happier.

You are right, the instructions that came with it were:

Water Daily during, summer, spring and fall.

then the method of watering that they suggested was submerging in water up to the soil level without disturbing the soil...

Would the Ficus and /or Schefflera survive a weekly 2 day drought?

Thank you for the suggestion.

-Kat

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Kat,
Would the Ficus and /or Schefflera survive a weekly 2 day drought?
Yes, they are both better choices for indoor culture than an Azalea I feel. If you give it a good soaking Friday afternoon that should help.

Norm

saxykat
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: NJ

thanks!

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