zdawgnight
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dwarf pomegranate on the way need some help

I ordered a dwarf pomegranate (Punica granatum nana ) and I have seen a bunch of different information on the needs of these guys. Could someone please help me get the right information? I'm quite new to the Bonsai world and originally bought the tree because I thought it would be a nice little house plant. Also on a side note how much different trying to make this into a bonsai tree versus letting it grow naturally? Thanks for any and all help!

kdodds
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To answer the last first, because it's just easier, growing a houseplent involves little more than keeping it watered, fertilized, and potting UP as it grows. Bonsai culture requires judicious, purposeful pruning, pinching, and root pruning at repotting times in addition to the above. Neither way is necessarily difficult, nor time-consuming; but each is different, producing different results (obviously).

As for care, that can get a bit tricky. One thing that is a MUST for P. 'nana' is that is MUST have a cooler period and doesn't necessarily tolerate extreme heat well. The cooler, dormancy period is probably the most important thing. Lax care elsewhere may or may not lead to the death of the tree, but lack of dormancy definitely will. It might not happen the first year, or even the second, but you'll really be treading on thin ice past year two without that cooler period and the tree may decline rapidly at any moment. This is why they're sold as "cool house" trees. With that said, it's not all that diffeicult to accomplish this in Ohio. If you've a room in your home that gets an eastern, western or southern exposure and also stays somewhere in the low to mid sixties in the winter (not any warmer, cooler down to about fifty being really good), you're probably set. Mine is in a greenhouse/garden window in my kitchen. I place it closest to the outer southern pane, along with other trees that require cooler temps in the winter, like Virginia Live Oak, and Koelreuteria. The temperature in this spot during the winter ranges from 50-65ºF, mostly staying around 55-60ºF. It gets progressively warmer closer to the room, but isn't drafty. So, the closer to your windows you get, the cooler it gets (thermal insulating [double paned] windows less so). Beyond that, it should be treated like most indoor trees, skipping fertilizer, or at most only once per month, during dormancy (skipping is better). Mine is in a mix of perlite, humus, bark, and pumice, but soil mix isn't imperative as long as it is not terribly retentive (i.e. no potting soil, must be fast draining).

zdawgnight
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Awesome! Thanks for the great information kdodds. It sounds like the potting mix your using is just like what I have my orchids in. I love when things workout like that. I appreciate the walk through. Some of the information I was finding online was a bit disconcerting, now I am feeling much better about my choice to buy one of these beauties. Looks like my next goal here is to gather a bunch of information on bonsai.

kdodds
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Orchid growers frequently use LFS (Long Fiber Sphagnum [moss]) and/or that stringy cocnut or other husky bark stuff. This isn't what is used in bonsai mixes, it's pine bark, specifically chipped pine bark. LFS will be too water retentive for bonsai use, IMO. The husky bark stuff might work, I've never tried it, but repotting might be a little difficult if fine roots become entangled with the bark. The soil mine is in is probably about 5 parts pumice and pine bark to 1 part perlite/humus. I think Orchid growers probably mix up more evenly, and leave out the humus, no?

tomc
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Re: dwarf pomegranate on the way need some help

zdawgnight wrote:I ordered a dwarf pomegranate (Punica granatum nana ) and I have seen a bunch of different information on the needs of these guys. Could someone please help me get the right information? I'm quite new to the Bonsai world and originally bought the tree because I thought it would be a nice little house plant. Also on a side note how much different trying to make this into a bonsai tree versus letting it grow naturally? Thanks for any and all help!
First a pomagranite should be out of doors soon till october 1st.

Second; it is a tender tree, its winter needs are a pretty cool-cold room. Lesniewicz (in; Indoor Bonsai) reccomends 43-50°F for air temperature over-winter. With supplimental light.

Pomegranite as a generalised group is a mediterainian tree.
Think like a tree
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froggy
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Orchid growers frequently use LFS (Long Fiber Sphagnum [moss]) and/or that stringy cocnut or other husky bark stuff. This isn't what is used in bonsai mixes, it's pine bark, specifically chipped pine bark. LFS will be too water retentive for bonsai use, IMO. The husky bark stuff might work, I've never tried it, but repotting might be a little difficult if fine roots become entangled with the bark. The soil mine is in is probably about 5 parts pumice and pine bark to 1 part perlite/humus. I think Orchid growers probably mix up more evenly, and leave out the humus, no?
I got some cconut coir for my orchids and am trying it on some o my younger trees. This is my first year, so I can't speak to repotting just yet, but the growth differs by species. Ficus and schefflera seem to like it, citrus does ok, avocado likes it, but hibiscus, cherry and willow don't do great in it - talking about 4" plants here, I have a suspicion this might change as they grow out... The coir bits for orchids are quite large, that wouldn't be helpful to the smaller plants either... But the pattern I am seeing is that the tropicals are doing better than the locals.
As for the orchids, they're still alive too :)

I read it doesn't freeze well, so that is something to bear in mind.

But as far as I've read, most orchid growers suggest bark chips mixed with perlite - I have to try it yet, when I bought the coir, I just didn't want to buy a whole bag of bark ($10 or so) for my one tiny $2 orchid. Now that I have more, and realized I can use it for my trees too, I will definitely get the bark next time....
;)

kdodds
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Re: dwarf pomegranate on the way need some help

tomc wrote:First a pomagranite should be out of doors soon till october 1st.
I've family in Stratford, outside until October 1st would not be advisable. There really is no "should" here, either. Unlike Pines, Junipers, etc., that truly do not do well indoors AT ALL, a Punica can easily be kept indoors, year round, with a little care for dormancy. Whether or not this is done is solely the prerogative of the grower.

zdawgnight
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I have some reef tanks setup in my apartment so worst thing happens I can place it near one of them to recieve some decent lighting. I was a little worried about the temperature but kdodds you have put my mind at ease. With regards to the potting mix, I checked the mixes I use on my orchids and the one was somewhat similar but I figure go safetly and use what is known to work... I am not nearly skilled or experienced enough to experiment on plants.

From my attempts at research, I think I would enjoy most having my bonsai in an informal upright style. Any thoughts on this? I read that the pomegranate trunks have a tendency to twist which sounds amazingly attractive.

kdodds
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Well, it's really impossible to suggest a style for an unseen tree. yes, sure, some trees are more well-suited to a certain variety of styles than others, but each tree is an individual. Wait until you see what you get. For instance, if there's one particular low-hanging and heavy branch, you might want to use it cascade or semi-cascade. Or, maybe there a little bit going on low down, but a whole lot up top. Young and pliable enough, it might make a full cascade, but more than likely literati will be the right choice.

zdawgnight
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My mail order pomegranate finally arrived. When is it ok to start working with it, or should I leave it alone for my 1st year?

[img]https://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj62/xntric555/220361_10100655795437605_12429417_63465135_1676566_o.jpg[/img]

kdodds
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Was this purchased as a Punica granatum 'nana' bonsai start? Or was it just purchased as a Pomagranate? It's kind of difficult to get perspective in the shot. How big is that pot it's in? The reason I ask these things is that the leaves look a little big for a 'nana'. And, the "tree" has pretty much just been allowed to grow as it would. If it were me? I don't know. I'd probably chop it to the lowest branch and let that be the leader (wire will help). But again, it's kind of dark down near the base in the shot, so I can't really tell. What I can say is that all of that thin whippy growth has GOT to go. I honestly can't figure out what the person who sold you this tree was trying to accomplish.

zdawgnight
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Yep it was bought as a Punica granatum 'nana'. It wasn't bought as a bonsai tree though. I just wanted the plant for its natural beauty but now that I have searched around online for pictures of dwarf pom. bonsai trees, I am thinking that I would be a lot of fun to sculpt it into a bonsai. The plant right now is in a 4 inch pot just out of the box it was sent in. Sorry for the poor quality picture it was taken with my phone on a rainy day so it didn't come out so well. Is it safe to just start chopping down branches now or is there a grace period needed for mail orders?

kdodds
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My personal preference would be to observe it closely for the first week. Into the second week, this being growing season, you should already be able to see new growth. After the second week, this time of year, is when I'd usually repot. I prefer repotting and chopping something that overgrown (the roots are likely coiled up in a tight ball from the looks of things) along with root pruning, all at the same time. If it starts dropping leaves that just kind of wilt off then fall and crisp on the ground, you may have pruned too much root and not balanced it with branch pruning. If it defoliates completely or mostly, don't give up hope, give it at least a month to bud back.

zdawgnight
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Sounds like a good plan. I'll keep posting updates. Any and all suggestions and input are greatly appreciated.

Thanks

zdawgnight
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Have a nice day of sun and warm weather so it took advantage and started my pomegranate. I doubt I will win any awards but I think its a nice start. There are a few parts of the plant I am unsure of where to take so I left more branches on than most of the starts I have seen on the web.

[img]https://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj62/xntric555/2011-05-05102803.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj62/xntric555/2011-05-05104348.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj62/xntric555/2011-05-05104354.jpg[/img]

kdodds
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Because of the extreme legginess, I'd take every main branch down to one or two leaf pairs on each secondary branch of that main branch and hope for a lot of back budding.

zdawgnight
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I think I am way to scared to do that... I didn't even feel comfortable cutting down to this much. My lack of experience is rearing its evil head.

zdawgnight
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This is where I am at right now with my dwarf pom.
[img]https://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj62/xntric555/2011-06-28094053.jpg[/img]

kdodds
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Okay, well how much thicker do you want the trunk to be? If the answer is "much thicker", then just leave it be and let it grow.

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