tinydeer
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bonsai ID? from walmart :(

hi, this is my first post on this forum, I just discovered it and I really want to get into bonsai. I have a tree that I don't exactly remember getting but I want to say I've had it for almost a year now. It has never flowered or grown fruit and it was out in a bad storm we had last week so I think it got too much rain. The leaves are a bit droopy and they're not normally like that. It's in a self draining pot but the only soil available to me was gardening soil. I haven't pruned it due to lack of know-how and proper equipment. I do know that it is from Walmart and it was called an indoor bonsai though I take him outside whenever the weather permits. He comes inside when it rains hard or is cold and sits at the door with lots of window space facing east.

I guess I just want to know what kind it is so I can start caring for it properly and what age you guys think it might be around? I'm just worried since he's never had flowers. I'm making a trip for plant supplies today. Walmart is the only place I can go to get plants, and taking care of things makes me happy. I know people say things from Walmart die fast but I have 2 bonsai and 2 betas from Walmart that I've managed to bring back from the brink of death, so I like to think it just depends on who cares for them. I've attached photos of the bonsai that needs identified. I'd also like to think of a name for him, maybe based on what type of tree he is?
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close up of leaves
close up of leaves
baby leaves.JPG (29.84 KiB) Viewed 658 times
tree in pot that I transplanted to a few months ago
tree in pot that I transplanted to a few months ago
baby.JPG (33.19 KiB) Viewed 658 times

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GardeningCook
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

Sorry, but would need better, closer pics of the leaves & branch structure to properly i.d.

And if it was being sold as a bonsai, didn't it come in a bonsai-style pot? Why would you pot it up into a large pot like that if you plan on keeping it as a bonsai?
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tinydeer
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

because I have no idea what I am doing

tomc
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

Tiny you are in zone 8-A I beleive. What ever your tree is, this time of year, it probably belongs outdoors.

If I may ask, inasmuch as it has been repotted what soil is it in?
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tomc
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

Other bonsai hobbyists may word this differently, but they are going to build any tree from the ground-up. if you stay with tiny trees in pots you will too.

Start with the feet.
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tinydeer
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

it is in some generic garden soil because as stated earlier, I have no idea what I am doing but I hope to learn so I don't mess it up more. I still have the original square container. I am in zone 8-b. I took some more photos as requested
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front
front
left side
left side
right side
right side
back
back
some roots above soil
some roots above soil

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GardeningCook
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

I still can't identify from your pics (need a nice light leaf closeup - your pics are still on the dark side & too distant), but perhaps someone else can. While I have several bonsai that I've worked with & managed to keep alive for a number of years now, I'm certainly not an expert.

But I still have to wonder what the reasoning was as to why you would repot it into a regular larger pot if you wanted to keep it as a bonsai? Obviously from the looks of it, it must have already adapted to the bonsai pot. Why change that? Except for prying off the little pebbles that some big-box-store vendors glue to the top of bonsai pots, it really should have been left in the bonsai pot it was growing in. Repotting it back into that bonsai pot again, since that's what it sounds like you ultimately want to do, is just going to stress the plant more.

Perhaps you should visit your local library &/or bookstore & start reading up on bonsai. It's wonderful that you want to learn how to make & take care of bonsai, but instead of just saying "because I don't know what I'm doing", do a little research before doing anything further. :wink:
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tinydeer
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

thanks gardening cook... I don't have a library in my town and I've graduated school so I'm not really sure where to turn to... I've been trying to search the internet but I'm not a read and learn type of person. I just don't want to stress out the plant any more than I already have - as in I realize I should not have moved it now

tinydeer
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

also my photos don't look dark to me so I'm not sure what to do about that. the leaves are very dark

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GardeningCook
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

tinydeer wrote:thanks gardening cook... I don't have a library in my town and I've graduated school so I'm not really sure where to turn to... I've been trying to search the internet but I'm not a read and learn type of person. I just don't want to stress out the plant any more than I already have - as in I realize I should not have moved it now
Honestly - and I mean this in the kindest way possible since you seem to love plants as much as I do - how do you expect to learn if you refuse to be a "read and learn type of person"? READING, experiencing, succeeding/failing, is how all gardeners ultimately succeed.

If you're not willing to "read and learn", how, exactly are you planning on learning? No one here is going to show up on your doorstep & take care of your plants for you, so obviously you have to 'READ & LEARN' somewhere.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

My best guess would be some kind of ficus - there are a lot of different types of them.

What kind of pot you keep it in depends on what you want to do with it . Bonsai growers put them in big pots or even in the ground when they want them to grow a thicker trunk. It will never thicken up staying in a little bonsai pot.

To determine that , you need to have some ideas of what you want to do with it - what style , what size etc . There is a rough guideline that says the height of the tree should be about six times the diameter of the trunk at the base . So if your tree has a half inch diameter trunk , you would be limited to a tiny bonsai three inches tall . If you want your finished bonsai to be 8" tall, you would need to grow it out (in a big pot or the ground ) until it has a trunk 1.3" in diameter . At that point, it will be a lot taller than you want and you will cut it back down .

But garden soil or potting soil will NOT do. You need bonsai soil which is much more free draining and gritty . In a pinch , you might start by mixing what you have with at least as much inorganic ingredients or even twice as much inorganic . That would be stuff like coarse sand , small gravel , perlite etc.

And people were right , even though it can be and may need to be indoors for the winter , it will thrive much better outdoors in the growing season . And no in and out . It's a tree! It is designed to be rooted in one spot and to live in rain and weather . But if it's been indoors , you do have to harden it off - expose it gradually .
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tinydeer
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

thanks for actually being helpful. by "read and learn" I mean sitting through big blocks of text with terms that I have no idea what they mean. Every bonsai information website I've found is very confusing and I have no idea where to start. Maybe I'm just stupid. Who knows

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GardeningCook
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

tinydeer wrote:thanks for actually being helpful. by "read and learn" I mean sitting through big blocks of text with terms that I have no idea what they mean. Every bonsai information website I've found is very confusing and I have no idea where to start. Maybe I'm just stupid. Who knows
No, you're NOT stupid. And it's commendable that you want to do right by your little tree. But you DO have to take the time to read/digest at least SOME bonsai culture info to just figure out what you want to do with your tree + how to best take care of it.

I know what you mean re: how a lot of bonsai info out there sounds like gobbledegook. Been there, done that. But don't give up - do more searches. Sometimes companies that sell bonsai have basic easily-digested info. It may not be perfect, but it can get you started. Here's one link for a vendor I've purchased a number of healthy bonsai from:

http://www.brusselsbonsai.com/
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puzzlejunky
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

You're not stupid. I looked for a For Dummies book for you (not that youre a dummy...that's just the series I turn to when I want to learn something above me!) but there doesn't appear to be one.

I did find this thread:

Recommended bonsai books for reading

which lists several beginner books..I know you said you don't have a local library but maybe amazon?

also when I want to learn something that's frustrating me, I'll often turn to the children's section. I know that seems silly, but its an easy way to get very basic information. A starting point. I have kids, so I just acted like the books were for them so I didn't feel silly!

I am also at a loss as to how to get started with bonsai. Good Luck. :-()

imafan26
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

I think it is a ficus benjamina or weeping fig. The trunk is does look like a fig. The way it has been pruned throws things off because it is not a recognizable shape and when you take pictures, it would be helpful to take a picture against a neutral background like a white wall or with a white board in the back and to make sure there is enough light on the plant. Your second pictures were posted better since I could zoom.

Ficus are pretty forgiving plants and a good beginner bonsai. Yours has been in a dark room so the leaves are darker than the leaves usually are. The trunk was sort of shaped into an 'S' form but the lateral branches have not been trained and the way they have been cut off will make the plant more bushy than open.

If you have a bonsai society in your area, I suggest you join to learn more about how to trim and shape your tree and root prune to fit into an appropriate pot.

P.S. The one thing that ficus really hates is to have its light changed. While yours could use a little more light to lighten up the leaves, too much light will burn them. If they are in full sun outside, and you bring them inside, they will drop every leaf thinking it is winter and will then take a while but the leaves will regrow. The pot you have it in is for growing out the tree.

http://houseplants.about.com/od/Easy_Pl ... ndoors.htm
http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-a-Ficus-Benjamina
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Gnome
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

tinydeer,

I think that I can discern tiny serrations on the margins of the leaves. If correct this would seem to exclude Ficus ,at least the ones that I am familiar with. Rather than try to post more pictures, try this, Google for images of Chinese Bird Plum and tell us what you think.

tomc
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Re: bonsai ID? from walmart :(

OK MY first bonsai blunders were to use pro-mix for trees in a pot. I drowned my little tree babies with too small particle soil. Good soil for a tree inna tray is pretty chunky. Also big-box stores carry cactus soil mix, which is a fair alternate for a single (or few) trees.

This is just me starting at the feet of your new tree.
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