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Ginseng Bonsai delema!!!

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:25 am
by lattamoon
Hello there everyone! I just got a new ginseng bonsai for mothers day and am having a bit of trouble figuring the silly thing out. It seems that some one brilliant thought that it would be a good idea to glue the tree into a pot of rocks. I assume that there is soil of some sort in the bottom but I couldn't tell you if there is. Has anyone seen this before? Am I the proud owner of a doomed tree? I would like to see it get a bit bigger in time, but I just don't see that happening being glued in. Any thought would be appreciated. Thanks

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 12:57 pm
by kdodds
Your reasoning is right on the money. This is a fairly new and typical practice with plants sold as bonsai in malls and superstores like WalMart. The first thing to do is to get it out of the pot and into a pot with some proper soil. A regular pot and regular potting mix is an okay temporary (one or two season) fix, but will not be suitable if you wish to keep this plans as a bonsai. Bonsai soils are more balanced in terms of soil/water/air, being more porous and less likely to compress over time. If you can not find bonsai soils or pots, let us know, there are plenty of places online where you can get these (and other) things from.

This vendor has a nice tropical potting mix as well as a large selection of pots: I've used them before on a number of occassions and have been completely satisfied each time. I'm in NY so regular shipping is actually VERY quick for me, usually just a few days.

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 9:59 pm
by Gnome

Your tree is not necessarily doomed but you should take action soon. As Kdodds suggested you should remove the rocks as soon as possible.

Either pry them off and add new soil to make up the difference or unpot the tree without disturbing the roots too much and then slip pot into a slightly larger (plastic) pot and backfill as required.

If you can manage not to disturb the root-mass now you can re-pot later in the season when it is warmer. This is the preferred time to repot Ficus, during their active growth period.

This allows you some time to purchase, or mix your own, more appropriate mix. Have a look at the sticky threads on bonsai soils and re-potting.


Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:03 pm
by killyspike
After reading up on bonsais, the glue and the rocks is a quick but not a bright way of making sure the trees are transported without them falling out of their pots.

Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 2:43 am
by lattamoon
Thanks for the ideas guys and dolls! i am going to have a tough time with this I think. I was just trying to pull some of the rocks off and they are just stubborn! Now does anyone know how to replant a Husband? Theres where I realy need some tips!! Thanks!

Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 12:00 pm
by kdodds
LOL, no help here on the replanting of husbands. I've examined these trees in WalMart and A&P when I've had the opportunity. It seems to me that the rock layer is fairly thin, almost like a crust. If I were to purchase one of these trees, I would take a screwdriver and hammer and gently chisel away the edges of the rock from the pot. That is, if I needed to save the pot. Otherwise, the easiest way of removing the tree, it looks like to me, is to completely destroy the pot, then remove the gravel. But, of course, you need to have a pot and soil ready for the repot in order to do this.

Gettin there!!

Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 1:57 am
by lattamoon
Yeah, I gave it a go yesterday. There's not too much rock and it should be fairly easy to get them off. I know that some of this stuff has to come a long way, but this is just a silly idea! The poor trees. What obout the people who just don't have the time or energy to put in to getting it out of the pot? I don't know, I guess I'll just take care of mine right!? Thanks for the help and reaserch. I think that I am going to like this forum! I have been in a few of these and either no one answers questions or they are all close friends and just send out pictures of their kids. Thanks again!!

Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 11:48 am
by kdodds
Yeah, it does seem to make a lot more sense to shrink wrap the dirt and pot, doesn't it? Problem there is presentation. It's interesting, to me anyway, to watch markets evolve. Years ago, you'd find these mass produced trees shipped in initially with a covering of moss. The moss would, of course, die with inadequate care and the on shelf presentation would lose because of that. Gravel is a relatively new "innovation" in mass market bonsai. Initially, they shipped with wrappings, but no matter how they were packaged, the gravel would shift, again looking a little messy and taking away from the on shelf appearance. I think this is mostly why things are being done the way they are now, and probably not for any other reason.