rjones
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Time to re-pot my Fukien Tea tree?

Hi everyone...
My Fukien tea tree is doing well. But....I think it might be time to repot. I got it about a month and a half ago as a gift, and it's in a small plastic "pot (really a container). There are a fair number of small rocks strewn throughout the soil, and the soil is solid enough that it is separating from the sides of the container (so when I water it, either the water tends to run down the sides or the rocks on the top layer prevent it from soaking in as well as it should). So I have a new pot, wire mesh, some wiring, and some new soil from my local bonsai nursery. The tree is purely indoors, so I'm not sure how the season timing would make a difference as to whether I repot it now or later. Any ideas...?

TomM
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rj,
I would say "go for it".

If you think that your tree has had ample time to acclimate to its new home and is stabilized then go ahead and prepare the new pot and carefully remove it from the old one. Inspect the roots. Cut them back as needed. But if you do the tree should also be pruned back accordingly. Secure the tree into the new pot while adding your new soil mix. Do not place it any lower than it was previously - a bit higher might be better. Water in properly. Let it rest - avoid bright sun for 2-3 weeks.

Best of luck to you.

Post some pictures if you can.

rjones
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Thanks Tom!

I'm going to go ahead and do it this afternoon (I will post the follow-up pictures). The task seems so daunting!

One question though: you said to avoid bright sun for a few weeks, others have told me to keep it out of the sun all together. The tree has been purely indoors thus far (the joy of apartment life!), and gets about 4-5 hours of sunlight a day while sitting on my desk near the window. I'm not sure I'd even call this "direct light." I supplement that with a grow light on my desk as well. Should I take that 4-5 hours of sun down to an hour or two after repotting? Or all together? Just trying to find the happy medium here....

TomM
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I don't have much experience with strictly indoor growing. Others can help out here.

But it seems to me that to minimize stress you would want to lessen the amount of sunlight some - not much and not for long. Watch the vitality of the foliage. They usually do not like 'changes'. so "listen" when your tree talks to you.

rjones
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Here is the before photo of my tree:

[img]https://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae285/rjoneslane/IMG_0218.jpg[/img]

And the after photo:

[img]https://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae285/rjoneslane/IMG_0222.jpg[/img]

Still seems to be doing well; I've cut down on the amount of sunlight a bit, but it still appears to be healthy.

One question I did have is re: watering. I've watered since the repotting, but the water does not come out the drainage holes. Should I water it until I see drainage?

TomM
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The water should definitely flow out the drainage hole freely. Could it be blocked somehow? Is the saucer attached to the pot?

About the only time I soak a tree in a shallow tub of water is immediately after repotting - allowing the water to seep up through the drainage hole(s). But an attached saucer might affect that technique. I never use them.

I am puzzled about the lack of drainage if you used free draining bonsai soil, unless you didn't give enough water. Hhmmm :shock:

rjones
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It's not attached, just a free standing tray. It was good quality bonsai soil (from my local bonsai nursery). It might be that I simply didn't water it enough. I might try the submersion technique today.

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

rjones,

In the past I had occasionally done the same as Tom, submerging newly potted trees. Somewhere along the way someone pointed out that watering from above is more appropriate at this time. This helps to flush out any dust or other finely textured material that may have made it past my sifting process.

Now I water liberally from above until the water runs clear. It is not uncommon for me to run a gallon of water, or even more for larger pots, through a newly planted tree. You can always submerge it later if you feel it is necessary, but after the drenching I give it I seldom bother anymore.

Norm

TomM
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Good advice from Norm - and it makes a lot of sense.
Do these things and your tree should be fine.

Norm - do you ever use micronutrients or superthrive after repotting?

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Tom,

No I've never gone the Superthrive route. I'm sure you know there is a minor controversy concerning this product. Some swear by it and some claim 'snake oil'.

Nor have I bothered with any specific product for micro nutrients as the water soluble product that I use has a fairly full compliment. Have you used them? Notice any difference?

Norm

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