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Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:22 am
by kittycatxxx
Can anyone please help me mend my bonsai tree...someone v close to me bought it for me at xmas 2006 the leaves have all turned brown and there is no green left at all. I immerse it in water every 2-3 days for 2 min like i was advised to do...the tree sits on my kitchen window sill to allow it to receive as much light as possible but I'm really worried it may be dying...if anyone can give me any advice at all i would really appreciate it i've searched websites looking for info but haven't found anything!

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:42 pm
by shimbu
I happen to have a Serissa Foetida. They are as strong willed as they are picky. They normally bounce back, but that won't last forever.

You shouldn't immerse your bonsai every 2-3 days, especially if it's not outside. Thats wayyyy too much water for the bugger. Although Serissa's like humid weather (they're a tropical plant by nature) you should water when necessary. I'd say that you should gently use a fingernail, or something small to scrape away the top of the soil about 1/4 inch down, if the dirt is still damp, there is no need to water, but once it gets to that point, water it.

Only use immersion once every couple weeks, to rid the dirt of stale air and dry spots. Take the bonsai over to a sink, and take temped water (not artificially softened) thats unhealthy. Rain water is best, but tap will do as long as your tap water isn't heavily chlorinated. If it is, (like if your in the city) then put water in a quart cup or clear container, and let it sit on that window sil for a few hours, and alot of the chlorine will evaporate. When watering, if you have something with a shower nossil, that is best, but if you pour really gently that will do as well. Pour water over the soil very carefully untill it's about to overfill (depending how course your dirt is, this will happen fast, or the water might drain right through) allow the water to soak through, and repeat 2 or three times until you've poured in every corner and the bottom of the pot has just about quit dripping.

You also need more sun. Serissa's need sunny / humid / weather. So if you have your heat, or AC on full blast, thats not helping either. I keep a humidifier right next to my tree, and I still have to come here and ask why it gets finicky sometimes.

I suggest you get Bonsai: A Care Manual (Paperback) by Colin Lewis It helped me alot. I can sort of tell you're grasping for straws listening to anyone thats had something green stay alive on a shelf for a while. Bonsai is a different breed of animal, and needs special attention. Just make sure you don't kill it with your love.

On a ending note I'll quote. wrote: If the grower doesn't panic (and many Serissas are inadvertantly killed by panicing beginners who respond by drastically over/underwatering the plant) the plant will soon regrow its leaves. A power struggle then ensues. The grower soon discovers that the Serissa drops its leaves if it has too much water. Too little water. If it's too hot or too cold. If it's moved, or there is a shift in lighting or temperature. If you cough near it or use a vulgarity in its presence. If it doesn't like your looks.

Until someone develops Serissa subliminal motivation tapes, (the calming sound of waves upon the shore as voices whisper, "You are lush; you are green; you want to keep your leaves...") the ugly truth is that some growers develop a knack for the foibles of the Serissa, while others are doomed to wait hand and foot upon a plant which looks like it's auditioning for a role in "Les Miserables." However, because the plant is so lovely, widely available, and popular as a traditional bonsai, most of us try our hands at it at one time or another. So for the masochist in all of us, here is the care information for Serissa!

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:54 pm
by kittycatxxx
thank you for ur great advice.......obviously i can tell that i've over-watered my mr myagi tree! I'm hoping he springs back into life in the next week or so and hope he really isn't dying!

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:52 pm
by MartyWakat
I have a general question about Serissa's. I just got one last week and was wondering the proper technique for pruning the actual flowers. After the flower has bloomed for a few days it starts to close up and then wilts and dries out. Should I let this process happen normaly or should I prune the flowers after they have started to wilt and dry out? If I do clip them off, should it be done with tweezers or should I snip it as close to the bottom of the flower as possible?

Thanks for any tips.

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:19 pm
by shimbu
I've never tried anything else other than letting the flower fall off. It doesn't take long at all once it starts to go.. I've had one or two hanger on's but I gently pull them off once they're nice an dead.