KSalitrik
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Bonsai Lost Most of it's Leaves (Serissa)

I am new to bonsai and recently (23rd of April) bought a bonsai in Florida. I live south of Pittsburgh, PA and was told to keep it inside only in the winters in indirect sunlight. I read on another site to water it only when the topsoil gets dry every other day or so, and I've been doing that. I also read to take out any rocks that were in it so I did it, even though mine werent glued in. Currently there is one rock that I can't get out and its rather large, but most of the surface area of the dirt is showing.

It was losing a few leaves every day or two and I thought nothing of it because it seemed like a normal process of just shedding them and growing new leaves, but today when I checked it, it had lost a good bit of leaves, leaving most of 2-3 branches bare. It has been inside and out in the time that I have had it due to bad storms, but I can't really keep it inside and I'll need to find a clever way to do it when its winter due to cats. However there are smokers in the house that smoke on the porch...If that has anything to do with it seeming to die off then I'll need to find a new place.

I found the watering section in bonsai care and since I have never done it, and figured it would be my best bet since the soil was dry, I submerged the pot in water until the bubbles went away about 30 minutes ago. The pot DOES have a drain hole in the bottom of it, whether this is good or bad I'm not completely sure. I also forgot the species of tree it is, but I have a picture.

[url=https://img413.imageshack.us/my.php?image=0508091515.jpg][img]https://img413.imageshack.us/img413/3014/0508091515.th.jpg[/img][/url]

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IndorBonsai
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I am not sure what kind of tree this is, but if it is tropical/sub tropical it should be happy as long as the temperatures don't drop below 60 degrees fahrenheit.
When watering it sounds like your doing good, if the soil is damp don't water wait another day and check again. Your doing good by waiting till the top of the soil drys out a bit before watering.(don't let it go completely dry tho)
The hole in the bottom of the pot is good, when watering, you want to add water and let it run out that hole so you know that the soil has enough water in it.

So basically, Lots of light, Keep it warm, Don't over water. you should be fine :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

KSalitrik
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Thanks for the answer. I really would hope to find someone out there that knows what species the tree is. I honestly think it's some species of a bush. It did have a small white flower, but it also seems to have died off.
I think it might just be irritated because of moving from a climate like Florida has to Pennsylvania.

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bonsaiboy
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Some people say that constantly dunking the plant can result in salt buildup in the soil. Another problem with the bonsai might be that it is supposed to be an outdoor tree, and it 'disagrees' with being inside.
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KSalitrik
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Today was the first time I've ever put it under water and it has been outside and in due to weather. It's been pretty much 50/50 but the past few days I put it back outside and it's been losing all of its leaves. I don't think it is because it's an inside tree because when I bought it, it had outside in Florida so...I'm not sure what to expect.

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bonsaiboy
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If I knew what plant it was I could probably be more helpful!:D Maybe someone who knows what your dealing with will be able to help.
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IndorBonsai
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Maby this is it ?
The Japanese flowering Mock Orange has thick glossy evergreen leaves that are oblong and in whorls and that are creamy white and green in color. Flowers are rather small, creamy white and very fragrant and give off a fragrance similar to that of the Orange Blossom, hence the name Mock-Orange. At maturity they produce a leathery fruit called a capsule.
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

KSalitrik
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I'm not sure. I found a picture of the leaves with a google search and they don't seem to match up 100% but it's possibly a variation on one. I'm leaning towards thinking that its more of a shrub than an actual tree, if thats possible?

https://sunkistvillashoa.com/images/shrubs_ground_cover/Pittosporum%20tobira%20Variegata%20%20VAR%20MOCK%20ORANGE.jpg

I forget if the man said it produces fruit or not.

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IndorBonsai
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Yeah alot of Bonsai are made from bushes and trained to look like trees :)
Maby you have a variation of Azalea that I havent seen before.
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

KSalitrik
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I posted on another forum and this is the confirmation on a species: Serissa foetida.

The guy also went on to say that it was a pretty bad choice to start with and they usually end up dying.

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IndorBonsai
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I have 2 serissas sitting in my room and they look nothing like that.

Here is a picture.
The one on the left is serissa foetida, the one on the right is serissa Japonica.
the serissa leaves are tiny 1/4 to maby 1/2 inch long and no white coloring on them.

[url=https://img140.imageshack.us/my.php?image=serissas.jpg][img]https://img140.imageshack.us/img140/3396/serissas.jpg[/img][/url]
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

KSalitrik
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Here's a link I found when I searched for the serissa, and it looks pretty much exactly like mine did before it started to hate me.

https://www.pendernursery.com/Catalog/Detail/serissafoetidavariegata.html

Maybe the one you have is a hybrid or just a genetic alteration that doesn't have the white? I donno. But it pretty much looks exactly like mine.

Just out of curiosity, is it possible to convert almost any type of tree/shrub into a bonsai?

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IndorBonsai
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Well cool at least we know what it is lol :)

Yeah serissas don't like changes in temperature, light , or drafty locations.
If you move your serissa put it somewhere it will stay and leave it pretty much. It will become accustomed to its area and regrow its leaves.

My serissas are both babies so maby they don't have that coloring on their leaves yet , who knows.
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

KSalitrik
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Have any tips on keeping them inside? I'll need to put them in a bird cage or something of the sort to keep the cats away, but the temperature constantly changes so it would be probably easier to keep them inside if it will work under a light.

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IndorBonsai
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A window that gets the most sun in your house would be best. Maby use a couple small nails in the window sill and wire wrapped around the pot so the cats cant knock it down. Something you can still take down when it is time to water.
If that is not possible then the brightest florescent light you can get might work. keep the florescent light about 2 inches away from the top of the tree, this helps the plant get as much light as possible. Also the light will need to stay on for at least 12 hours a day.
Or use both lol some of my trees are in east facing windows so good morning sun but that's all, I put florescent lights on these trees too.

If you look at the Bonsai pictures forum on this sight under the one labeled ( A small part of my indoor bonsai collection) you can get a idea of what I am talking about :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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IB, that's a variegated plant, I used to have one called 'Mt. Fuji'; a real dwarf with exquisite variegation sort of like 'Variegata', but I killed that years ago...

The variegated forms lack all the chlorophyll of their green counter parts and they are real sissies about drafts (what got mine in winter; artificial heating and drafty windows (back in my renting days; my house is like a drum now... :mrgreen: ).

You'll need humidity for indoors; average humidities around 30% for most heated homes, and the Sahara averages around 50%...

HG
Scott Reil

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This is definitely a Serissa of one kind or another. My GUESS would be S. foetida, maybe "Pink Mountain" or similar variegated variety. The real killer of Serissa, IME, is change in any way, shape, or form. IOW, if it's doing okay, mess with it as little as possible, and pray it doesn't croak if you look at it sideways. Repotting is the usual nightmare scenario. In fact, I've conversed with someone keeping a dozen who lost 11 within a couple of months of repotting, and the twelfth half a year later. They had previously been sitting in nursery pots, in the same soil used for the repot, for two years.

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Yeah, I did Serissa when I was doing inside growing and even then it's a difficult customer. My experience closely follows kdodds experience; careful not to break wind around a Serissa or it will enter permanent dormancy :roll:

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Scott Reil

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IndorBonsai
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Well now I'm all worried my serissas are going to drop their leaves and die any moment now.
But they seem to be growing like crazy. I have to keep up on the trimming so they don't get to big.
Maby I got some weird plants or something.
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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Nope, you just have them happy. Don't change a thing... :)

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Scott Reil

KSalitrik
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Well...I've been considering to just try to keep it alive but find something more interactive that won't die so easily and likes the climate of where I am more. Currently, I've been thinking of either a weeping willow or a wild cherry tree, and someone on another board mentioned a crabapple tree. I have easy access to all three and most likely can find a sapling of the wild cherry or crab apple, however, I would need a cutting for the weeping willow. My main questions about it are:

If i find a sapling do I instantly dig it up and repot it, or do I wait for it to grow to 3-4 inches and then do it?
With a cutting, once I get it to start rooting do I repot it or, again, do I wait for it to start looking a bit more like a tree than a branch and then pot it?
Does anyone have any advice on what to use for soil for any of these plants?

kdodds
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Growing a "bonsai" from a sapling or cutting is a long and arduous process that takes, literally, YEARS before you have anything reasonable to work with. I'd recommend going beyond that and trying to obtain a "starter" (if you're interested in a completely unstyled tree) that is already a few years old. By far, though, the best bet for a beginner is a tree that is already at least a bit refined, or better yet, in the beginnings of styling.

KSalitrik
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Maybe so, but I'd rather do something that takes a long time and doesn't cost me much rather than spending $30-50 every time I screw up. Plus, growing one from a cutting or sapling would be a bit more satisfying

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IndorBonsai
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I thought this might help you out, there are all kinds of plants out there you can get for next to nothing $1- 6 bucks ( the pots are the most expensive part) I think it is fun to just browse the nurserys and buy plants that they are selling cheep then make Bonsai out of them :) Here are a few I made a few months ago.

Dwarf Rhododendron(impeditum)
[url=https://img9.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rhod1.jpg][img]https://img9.imageshack.us/img9/9913/rhod1.jpg[/img][/url]

Another Picture a few weeks ago
[url=https://img514.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dwarfrhodi.jpg][img]https://img514.imageshack.us/img514/9020/dwarfrhodi.jpg[/img][/url]

Pink Beauty Potentilla, I thought this was dead so did the nursery I bought it from for $1 dollar.
[url=https://img204.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pink1c.jpg][img]https://img204.imageshack.us/img204/3959/pink1c.jpg[/img][/url]

Ficus, I bought this from a local box store $6 dollars. I made two Bonsai from the one plant I bought. I guess $3 dollars a tree then :)
[url=https://img8.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficus2.jpg][img]https://img8.imageshack.us/img8/9935/ficus2.jpg[/img][/url]

And the other Ficus bonsai I made from the same plant. My friend from Japan calls this one the Dragon :)
[url=https://img9.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficus1.jpg][img]https://img9.imageshack.us/img9/4014/ficus1.jpg[/img][/url]

I posted these to hopefully be inspirational, Don't be afraid to experiment with new plants or ideas you might have. Bonsai is a hobby for some and art to others. But the most important thing about Bonsai is that you enjoy it and like what YOU create :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

KSalitrik
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The only problem is that I know of no actual bonsai nurseries near Uniontown. Maybe in Pittsburgh there are some, but I'm not sure.

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IndorBonsai
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I don't have a Bonsai nursery around here either, these plants were bought from normal local nursery and stores like lowes or home depot. I found a local pottery shop and they are making me my pots, I have tried to make a few of my own at that shop too. hehe not the best looking pots but its fun :)I also ordered a few pots off the internet.
All my tropical indoor bonsai I had to order off the internet because there is no where local to buy tropical plants from. I have been able to make starts from them so now I have more tropical plants :)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason



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