Jonesy
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Chinese Pepper Bonsai - Zanthoxylum Care Instructions

Hi All.

Purchased my first bonsai yesterday! :)

Heres a picture:

[img]https://i39.tinypic.com/vjj2r.jpg[/img]

Got a few questions though please, the booklet that came with it didnt give me too much information.

How much should you actually water the bonsai tree? I know you're supposed to do it once every other day, but how much exactly?

I've been spraying the leaves each day too, shall I just continue doing this?

As for the feed, I mixed 1 litre of boiled cold water with 5ml of liquid based fertiliser, but wasnt sure exactly how much to feed it? Any measurements at all?

And finally for now :p what about pruning, when you prune a branch, do you take it right back to the trunk, or just leave a bit sticking out?

Thankyou

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Gnome
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Jonesy,

Hello and welcome to the forum. You did not ask but you really should know the species, I am almost positive that it is a Chinese Pepper or Zanthoxylum. Compare it against this clearer picture.
https://aquiya.skr.jp/zukan/Zanthoxylum_beecheyanum_var_alatum%20.jpg
the booklet that came with it didnt give me too much information.
No surprise there, I would not put much stock in the booklet they are notorious for trying to oversimplify bonsai care and are often just plain wrong.
How much should you actually water the bonsai tree?
Until it is saturated. Watering is not about quantity but frequency. Water thoroughly each time then wait until it needs it again.
I know you're supposed to do it once every other day,
If this bit of information came from the booklet it is good example of bad information. Water as required not on a schedule. It may indeed be every other day but it may not. It may require watering every day or every third or fourth day. Let the soil itself guide you not the calendar.
I've been spraying the leaves each day too, shall I just continue doing this?
Sure wont hurt.
As for the feed, I mixed 1 litre of boiled cold water with 5ml of liquid based fertiliser, but wasnt sure exactly how much to feed it? Any measurements at all?
Assuming you mixed it at the correct ratio the advice for watering pretty much holds true here as well. Fertilize at the ratios and frequency suggested on the packaging. When you do fertilize you should water as usual first then a few minutes later apply the fertilizer as you would when watering. Make sure you apply it evenly and then stop when it begins to run out of the drain hole.
And finally for now :p what about pruning, when you prune a branch, do you take it right back to the trunk, or just leave a bit sticking out?
That's a little trickier. There's pinching and there's pruning for shape. If you want a branch gone then cut it back to the trunk or parent branch.

Pinching is more to maintain or refine shape. I am unsure as to how this particular species responds. There does not seem to be a lot of information on this one available. You could shorten one shoot and see where it puts out new growth. Then you will have a better idea of how to proceed in the future.

Does anyone out there grow this species?

BTW, what kind of light are you providing for it? Inside, outside? Window, supplemental lighting of some sort? If so what type?

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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IndorBonsai
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Nice tree ! :)

For watering I always say, check the soil if it is damp wait another day and check it again. Most bonsai like a drying period between waterings . When you water pour water over the top of the soil until it comes out the drain hole in the bottom of the pot, let it drain a little while and do it again. This helps make sure you got it good and watered.

Maby don't spray the leaves so often there is a risk of creating mold/fungus on the tree.

Fertilizing is not as important right now as proper watering and lighting are.
As for fertilizer mix it 1/3 the recommended dosage on the instructions that came with the product you are using. But I would recommend letting the tree become adjusted to its new environment for a few weeks maby a month before fertilizing.

Lighting and watering. The Keys to success with Bonsai. Place your plant in the best light you have. Sunlight is always the best, a good south east or south west facing window usually provide enough light when the tree is inside. Place the tree Outside as much as possible(when the temperatures allow) a good morning sun and shade during the hottest part of the day seem to work the best.

Hope this helps :)
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kdodds
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Re: Just got my first bonsai

Looks like a "pepper tree".

You should only water as needed, not on a schedlue, and you should drench the soil each time. Misting or using humidity trays indoors is a good idea. Feed as per fertilizer instructions at half strength. On pruning, it depends on what you want to do and why.

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Big Vine
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Welcome to the forum, Jonesy. :D
Nice tree---that trunk shape really gives it lots of character---I like it!
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Jonesy
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Wow.. nice welcome and great advice!! Thankyou!

Firstly, yeah Sorry it is a chinese pepper tree.. I should have put that in my original post :p

That information was really helpful, I've chucked the booklet that came with it and am listening to you lot now, and also been looking around this forum!

I now understand about watering and pruning and so on, and am going to have my first go at pruning tonight, Hopefully wont mess it up, but im going to only be cutting overlapping branches, and a few branches which do not fit in.

Its going to be an indoor plant, but I can put it outside if better? I've also got a greenhouse where I could put it.

This is the issue really, i moved it this morning to infront a window where there was sun.. I assume this is a good idea?

One concern I do have, some of the leaves are a lighter green, quite a lot lighter than the main leaves. It was like this when i first purchased it, is there anything to be worried of, or anything I should be doing?

Thanks again :)

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Gnome
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Jonesy,
One concern I do have, some of the leaves are a lighter green, quite a lot lighter than the main leaves. It was like this when i first purchased it, is there anything to be worried of, or anything I should be doing?
If you look closely I think you'll find that the lighter growth is the fresh, new growth. Other plants behave this way as well so I think it is normal.

Norm

Jonesy
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Gnome wrote:Jonesy,
One concern I do have, some of the leaves are a lighter green, quite a lot lighter than the main leaves. It was like this when i first purchased it, is there anything to be worried of, or anything I should be doing?
If you look closely I think you'll find that the lighter growth is the fresh, new growth. Other plants behave this way as well so I think it is normal.

Norm
Ahh yes, you're correct! Thanks for clearing that up!

Pruned a few branches yesterday, it took me a while to actually go through with it though, but the bits i've taken off look better.

To get the whole shape of what I was going for, or going on the basis that anything pointing out towards you're main view, or crossing over I was going to trim, but this may entail a few branches. Whats best with this, just do it or leave it for a while now and see how it grows?

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Gnome
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Jonesy,

You can always prune later but it is more difficult to restore a branch cut in error. Here is some information about the so called 'rules of bonsai' Read through them a few times and you will get some idea of which features of your tree are out of place.

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/rules.htm

Are you going to try to root the cuttings?

Norm

MacLeoda07
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Re: Chinese Pepper Bonsai - Zanthoxylum Care Instructions

Hi all,

A lot of great info here on the Chinese pepper bonsai, 6 years later and theres still very little info online on this species. I am curious if anyone can give me any more information on trimming/pruning/shaping this tree, the foliage seems to sprout in sets of leaves rather than progressively in pairs if you understand.

I'm wondering if anyone can tell me how to encourage more branching, in hope of creating more foliage. Do I trim new growth or established (fully grown and darkened leaf) petioles?

Do I cut leaves off or through them? With Bonsai cutters or nip with my fingernails?

Any advice is appreciated on this one, both do's and don't's are welcomed!

Andy

Ale
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Re: Chinese Pepper Bonsai - Zanthoxylum Care Instructions

Will my zanthoxylum bonsai grow leaves again? It unfortunately dried out for about 2 days and has had little bugs on it a few times but have been removed now! Will the bonsai be able to recover? Thanks for any help provided
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Chinese Pepper Bonsai - Zanthoxylum Care Instructions

It is not looking good, though probably still alive. It is semi-evergreen and should keep most of its leaves all year, when doing well.

Drying out for two days should not cause that. Dropping leaves like that is more likely to be due to over-watering than under watering. The soil it is in does not look like proper bonsai soil. Looks more like regular potting soil, peat mossy, heavy & organic, meaning water retentive. Eventually it will need to be re-potted into a free draining medium. In the meantime utilize the chopstick method to determine when to water.
Learn about it here: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1479

Learn about proper bonsai soil here: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=3422

In the spring, repot it into good bonsai soil. In the meantime water as above.

You didn't say what kind of light it is getting - it wants bright indirect light.
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PurpleOrganicLEDGuru
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Re: Chinese Pepper Bonsai - Zanthoxylum Care Instructions

Bonsai's are cool! I know that if you your plant gets pot bound then it will not be happy. Just pull bottom of dirt ball off every so often and replace with fresh dirt.

If you mist , mist with worm castings! This makes most plants very happy! Cheers :)

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