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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Schefflera arboricola - just starting out

[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May4.jpg[/img]
The plants don't quite look like 'bonsai,' do they? A tad bit large, wouldn't you say? :wink:

This is because they were all recently purchased from 6" to 10" pots from Lowes and Home Depot.
Top shelf is a variegated form; bottom shelf is the regular green form. All were cut-back severely, root-pruned, and re-potted into 4" terra cotta pots using a mix of pea gravel, perlite, vermiculite, and Miracle Gro 'Cactus, Citrus, & Palm' mix. The plan is to get them growing (i.e. to recover from their recent re-potting/pruning) and develop a strong root system so that I can then cut back severely once more prior to getting into the more refined training. I probably won't bother potting in 8" x 2" bonsai trays until training has been well underway for some time...

As you can see, I've incorporated indoor lighting into this project.
Each of the two plant shelves has a 36" dual-tube fluorescent fixture (each contains one 30 Watt mid-spectrum---6,500K tube and one 25 Watt 'purplish' tube---which I'm guessing is more along the lines of 10,000K?). I used to use these over fish tanks for aquatic plants.

The photos don't do justice to the lighting...
In person it appears much brighter, and I think a lot of it has to do with the camera's ability (inability?) to adjust to the ample lighting coming in from the nearby patio door and adjacent window.

Okay, so this is my start thus far...
This is my very first experience in getting into indoor bonsai, and I've still got a LOT to learn. Comments/questions welcome and much appreciated!
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

arboricola
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Location: Minnesota zone 4

Big Vine;

Welcome to the forum.

I would say you are off to a very good start.

Phil...

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Thank-you Phil, I appreciate your input.
Now I just need to wait for some growth...don't we all? :wink:
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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IndorBonsai
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LOL waiting for new growth is how I got so many Bonsai. Waiting for one Bonsai to grow I might as well start a new Bonsai while I wait.
Pretty soon you got lots of Bonsai and no time. :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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Big Vine
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Funny you mention that, IndorBonsai---I was just wondering to myself whether or not I have the "right" amount of plants to work with...

I'm not exactly crunched for time at the moment, so that's not a concern (at least not for the time being)...BUT, are 6-8 individual plants (what you see in my pic) enough? :? :?:

I know they're the right plants (in terms of species) for me...
In other words, I don't feel I'm limiting myself by choosing only the one species to work with. And the more I think about it, I only really have the space to deal with what you see in the photo I posted.

Seems like I'm answering my own question here, but I guess what I'm ultimately wondering is if having 'only' 6-8 plants (which I intend to have for the "long-haul") is setting myself up for disappointment (and regret in the sense that I will one day wish I would have started this journey with more plants)?

Not sure anyone can provide a definitive answer to all this, but I'd very much appreciate any insights...
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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IndorBonsai
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I think you have plenty . The Schefflera species is a fast growing tree, once they get going you will have plenty to work with :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Okay, thanks for the vote of confidence. :wink:

One of the plants has really been catching my attention, and even at this very early stage I can already say that it's my favorite of the bunch. I took some extra time to envision how I'd go about shaping it into the form I have in mind for it, and I realized it was going to take quite a bit of meticulous work (and patience, of course!). And I'm sure the same holds true for all of the plants!

That said, I can see how I'll definitely have my work cut out for me...
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Well, it's been almost 2 weeks since I took that pic, and I've got an update:

Sadly, one of the plants died (top right in the pic). :?
I'm thinking 'transplant shock' and severe 'root-pruning shock' about sums up the cause of death.

Good news is that the 6 remaining plants (4 regular green; 2 variegated) have all responded to their indoor fluorescent lighting setup and most of them are showing several new growth points. :)

'Extra-good' news is that I just got a call from the local bonsai club president, and he's going to bring his "dwarf scheff" (Schefflera arboricola...the same as what I'm growing) to MY very first bonsai club meeting tomorrow morning! He said this meeting would be a time for everyone to bring in a tree to show off and/or basically get whatever advice they need on anything, so I'll definitely bring one of mine in! :D :mrgreen:

I'm having a hard time deciding which one, but I think I've got it narrowed down...
BV :wink:
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

First bonsai club meeting went well, and I decided to join up...
I'll be attending a juniper workshop next month---already have my tree and everything, so I guess I won't be limiting myself to tropicals after all! :D

Main feedback I got from the local bonsai club was...
GET BIGGER TREES!!! :lol:

Basically they want me to have some older material (i.e. thicker trunks) to work with than what I already have, so I did some 'digging around' and found the following at a local nursery:
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May21.jpg[/img]
Yes, I cut back severely and completely defoliated the thing...hope it grows back. I hope to keep this 'trunk' base (which is actually mostly aerial roots which have established themselves in the soil and thickened-up) exposed with a lush, compact canopy on top.

[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May215.jpg[/img]
Cut this one back severely as well, but decided to keep the one growing stem just to make sure it stays alive. I hope to turn this one into a broom-style canopy.

I suppose I might do something similar (full canopy; though not quite as strictly 'broom-styled') with these two as well:
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May214.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May216.jpg[/img]

This photo (like most of the ones I've posted) doesn't do justice to the plant...
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May211.jpg[/img]
This one has an interesting trunk and exposed aerial roots, and the branch on the right screams to me "semi-cascade" for this fellow.

Finally, here are two views of another heavily aerial-rooted specimen.
It is a bit larger than what I'd ideally like to work with, but it caught my eye, so I decided to go for it.
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May212.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May213.jpg[/img]

I'll let you guys (hopefully) give some feedback before I share any news about the original (smaller/younger) plants I posted at the start of this thread.

Thanks!
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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bonsaiboy
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All I can say is you've managed to do more with your bonsais in 2 weeks than I have with mine in almost 2 years.
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

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IndorBonsai
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I love the Trunks on those new plants you got, lots of character :)
I think my favorite plants so far are my ficus and schefflera because they grow so fast :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Another addon to the update...
I ditched most of the younger plants (in first pic at start of thread). :shock:
There's at least one I'll hang onto, but the rest were basically rushed into and not done 'properly.' :oops:

I have learned more about these plants and how better to care for them and prepare them for bonsai training over the past weeks of working with them. I've also done more research; paying very careful attention to David Fukumoto's techniques with this particular species.

Accordingly, I have restarted with some younger specimens which will remain with me over the long-haul. I'll take my time with these new ones, now that I know more about what I'm doing.

More on that in another thread which I'll start shortly...
bonsaiboy wrote:All I can say is you've managed to do more with your bonsais in 2 weeks than I have with mine in almost 2 years.
LMAO...yeah, I kinda 'cheated' a bit by getting older plants, didn't I? :lol:

IndorBonsai...yes, it sure does help when the plants grow quickly! 8)

Thanks guys!
I'll continue to update on these older plants here, but the new project I mentioned will be in another thread (coming soon).
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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IndorBonsai
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Ahhh, don't ditch the younger plants LOL just set them off to the side and let them grow. They will become big plants some day, and you can do a bit of training to them as they grow to help form the trunks and branches the way you want for the future :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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majed
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nice plants,

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Thanks, guys...
Here's an update on my favorite 'older' plant of the bunch which I collected from a nursery (and cut back severely) within the past couple weeks.

Click on the pics and check out the new growth points (emerging buds)!

[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May304.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May303.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May302.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/May305.jpg[/img]

I love the unique shape of the exposed wood (trunk/aerial roots), and therefore my goal will be to keep it as visible as possible as I establish a lush, wide canopy over the top.
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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IndorBonsai
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I like it :) When you get bored with it I will take it off your hands LOL.

It looks like it has taken well to the hard trimming. So far so good 8)

Keep up the good work !
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Thanks, man. :)
Out of the 'older' trees I got, that one's the 'cream of the crop'! :lol:

The other one I'm working with is nice too...
In fact, I may even end up liking this one even more than the rest!
[img]http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h109/Big_Vine/Plants/June13.jpg[/img]

The trunk is stout and compact, and the surface roots are quite prominent.
I very much look forward to working with this tree as it puts on some new growth.
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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Big Vine
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Posts: 156
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Florida - Zone 8b

I have edited the pics in this thread to show that trees which are DEAD are labeled in red.
This thread has accomplished its goals of allowing me to share and get feedback on the beginning of my journey here in terms of starting out with an appropriate setup.

As such, I will not be planning on providing updates here.
Thank-you to everyone who has helped along the way.

Having narrowed down which plants I have to work with, all future updates will be conducted in other, more organized threads which will be more appropriately geared toward tracking the long-term development of individual plants.
BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

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