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pinot noir grape bonsai

My boyfriend got me this bonsai as an early Christmas gift. It is a bonsai from a grape vine that grows pinot noir grapes. Right now it is in a dormant state. I have had it for 3 days.

I live in an apartment and have no place to keep it outside (without drunk college kids destroying it). What I'm wondering is, since it is dormant, should I be keeping it near a window so it can get some light during its dormant period, or is it ok to keep it away from sunlight? It is also colder near the window, but I keep it around 70 degrees inside. Outside the weather has been around 30 degrees here.

How often should I be watering it? I have been trying to simply keep the soil moist.

Please let me know if you have any pointers, this was a really nice, unique gift and I want to take good care of it.


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Green Thumb
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Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:37 pm
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Welcome to the forum 'Go' -

My advice is to find a place nearby where you can put in a back yard or on a patio. Someplace safe that's outside.
If left inside it will come out of dormancy and even a ton of light will not be enough. It will be difficult to keep alive inside.
Trees/plants that lose leaves and go dormant are terrible candidates for being kept indoors.
Please, find a place for it to winter over in the cold. A neighbor's garage would be great too. It doesn't need light as long as it's dormant (no leaves).
I will be ready to open and bud out when the weather changes in April.
One other thing. Have you seen any leaves on it? IME, grapes have huge leaves and I would think would be poor candidates for Bonsai.

Green Thumb
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:05 am
Location: Elizabeth, PA

In addition to what Len said, instead of keeping the soil moist at all times, you want to let the soil go pretty dry before you water it, and when you water, you completely soak it. On the same subject, what kind of soil is it? Is it loose, generally inorganic, and does water flow through it easy? Or is it dense and peaty, like potting soil?

What Len is saying is a more pressing issue, if you can get it outside, do so as quickly as you can, but perhaps in a place that is protected such as an unheated garage. Does it have leaves in its dormant state or no?

Some quick info

"This bonsai is grown best on a patio that's protected from the elements, but it will do equally well in any shaded spot. "



It looks like you don't want it to get below freezing, but you also don't want it to come out of dormancy too early. I'd try to shoot for an area that is pretty constantly 40 degrees or so.

Good luck, can we have a picture so we can see your new buddy?

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Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 1:35 pm
Location: Idaho, USA


You want to keep it below 40F but protect the roots from freezing. If placing it outside is not an option, then do this:
Put a thermometer in your refrigerator. If it stays between 35 and 40 F consistently, thats the place for it. (if you have room)

Take some burlap or heavy cloth, and wind it around the pot even the top -right up to the trunk, then put the pot in a zip-lock bag or wrap with plastic wrap. (use a rubber band to close it up, or tape it.

Put it in the frig for at least 6 weeks (a full dormancy). You want to keep it cold, but don't let it freeze. If the soil is moist when wrapped, you probably only need to add water once after a few weeks. While it is dormant, it will not use any amount of water, nor need light.

After 6 weeks, you can bring it out and let it warm gradually to adjust to room temps. Grapes wake up late, so it should not bud for several weeks after it is exposed to warmth and bright light. By then is will be March.

Good luck, and let us know how it does.


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