Bb2614
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Indoor bonsai tree loosing leaves

I got this bonsai tree about a month ago and ever since its been looking like it's doing bad. It kinda looks like it's dying and the leaves are falling pretty fast. To water it I mist it once a day. It's pretty cold here right now, below freezing. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? Anything is greatly appreciated. Also, can anyone tell me what kind of bonsai it is? Thank you!
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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Indoor bonsai tree loosing leaves

With the serrated leaf edges like that, your tree is most likely Chinese elm.

Chinese elm is a sort of in-between tree. Temperate trees (evergreens like juniper and deciduous like maple, oak) have to be outdoors all the time. Tropical evergreens like ficus make good indoor trees. Chinese elm is a subtropical. Some people do keep them indoors and under the right conditions, they will stay evergreen. Some people overwinter them outdoors and treat them as deciduous trees:
Chinese Elm trees are very flexible about their environment. If adapted
properly, they can be grown indoors year-round. If hardened off to
the cold gradually, they can drop their leaves in the fall and be
considered deciduous trees, so you have a few options. However, it is
important to find out how your Elm has been growing recently. Some
Elms come from southern China, and have never experienced cold
conditions. It would be dangerous to keep these Elms too cold the
first year or two. Other Elms have gone to freezing and dropped their
leaves for many years; as a result, these Elms may not be too happy
indoors for the first year or two. If you can not determine where your
Elm has been, then keep it outside for the summer and bring it inside
for the winter. You can bring it in when the temperatures are around
50°F. If kept indoors for the winter, a cooler location is preferable
(50°F–65°F). Chinese Elms may drop some leaves in the winter due
to the natural decrease in light. This is normal.
http://www.nebonsai.com/Chinese_elm.pdf[/quote][/quote]

At this point, since it has been dropping leaves, I would let it go on into dormancy, which is what it is trying to do. Find the coolest spot in your house (my old house had a coat closet next to the outside front door which didn't get much house heat, didn't freeze but stayed very chilly). Put your tree there. Be sure it gets some light as long as it has leaves (if it's a closet with no light, you might need to put a little lamp on it) but don't worry about it having lots of light. If it drops all the leaves, you don't even have to worry about light. Water it infrequently, just enough so it doesn't dry out all the way through. Do NOT fertilize. Let it rest until spring.

In the spring you will need to repot in to good bonsai soil. I don't know what is under all that mulch, but at a guess, it is some kind of peat-moss based potting soil, not good bonsai soil. I don't know why it seems that bonsai trees are always sold in soil that is very bad for them. Here's a lot of information about bonsai soil with links to more:

http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =36&t=3422

I would summarize the soil info by saying that bonsai soil would be mostly pine bark and mineral grit (fired clay, granite grit, ground volcanic rock, etc), with maybe a little bit of humus. It is supposed to be very loose and free draining, not hold too much water.

Never water bonsai on a schedule. Water when they need water, which will vary with temperature, humidity, season, how fast the tree is growing, etc. As noted when the tree is dormant and not growing, it will be watered infrequently.

Here's some good information about bonsai care including watering and how to know when to water: http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =36&t=1479

Best Wishes for your new Chinese Elm bonsai. Welcome to the Forum!

P.S. it always helps to tell us where you are located. There are hardly any gardening questions, even indoor ones, that can be discussed without regard to location/ climate.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Owen 1
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Re: Indoor bonsai tree loosing leaves

Preview: Leaves turning brown and curling up.

I have a Golden gate ficus. A lady gave it to me. It's approximately over 10yrs.old. I had it this summer and had it out in sun. It was doing great. When the got colder I put it in garage. I noticed as it got colder (freezing) that the leaves where turning dark green. So I brought it inside 3 days ago. The leaves are starting starting to curl up and slowly turning brown. They haven't turned brown yet. What do I do? Don't want it to die.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Indoor bonsai tree loosing leaves

Ficus is a tropical. It should have been brought indoors when night time lows got below 50 degrees.

Unless your garage is insulated, it does not stay much warmer than the outdoors. Your ficus probably got frost bitten.

Nothing much you can do now, except keep it warm and moist (use humidity tray and/or mist the leaves). Freezing dries it out and indoor winter air is very dry. Do not fertilize it unless it is putting out new growth again. Wait and see if it survives the freezing. Depends on how prolonged the freezing was whether it is likely to make it or not.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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