Jdotson12
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Unknowingly bought a mallsai

Ok, so I've been to another forum and they were completely unhelpful and kinda mean. Yes, I bought a "BONSAI" from Walmart with the glued on pebbles and moss. Ok, now can someone help me save it's life?

I've never been a big plant person, but when I moved into my new office with a huge window, I knew it would look perfect there. It gets LOTS of sun, I water it as needed and give it premixed miracle grow every 2 weeks. I check on it every single day.

Today, though, the leaves were looking very wilted and I started doing actual research on what I had. I brought it home with me and dismantled the rocks and moss. But now what? Should I repot it?

I just want to save it. I'm pretty attached to it by this point. I've had it for a couple months. Here's a picture of it when it was pretty and green (not a good picture because it's cropped out) and another of it now. The rude people said it was a ligustrum, but I have no idea. I could really use some nice people help.
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Re: Unknowingly bought a mallsai

Hi,
You came to the right place. This community values respect and civility. ;)

Bonsai Forums tend to be unnecessarily harsh. I don't know why. When you meet these people face to face at bonsai shows they're very kind and helpful.

Bonsai and the Indoors
As for your bonsai, I'm no expert however I do know a few things. What's important to understand is that these plants are trees. Trees are evolved to live outdoors.

Trees Want to Live Outdoors
Bonsai are perceived to be indoor plants but the fact is that trees are genetically predisposed to thrive in the outdoors. Thus, your bonsai may be suffocating indoors due to lack of the proper amount of sun or proximity to a heater or other factors related to being located indoors.

That's not the only reason why a bonsai indoors could be suffering or in shock. It could something else. But...

Trees Like Sun
That's another thing to keep in mind about trees. Trees generally like sun. That's what their leaves are there for. Most trees need sun. Some trees can tolerate shade but most trees do not actually require shade.

Trees Occupy Ecological Niches
The other consideration is the species of the tree. Trees, like most other creatures and plants on Earth are generally niche specialists. Some do well in higher elevation. Some do well in humid tropical climates.

What I recommend for you is to find out what kind of tree you have and then you can begin to understand what kind of environment you need to provide it.

I was born and raised in San Francisco, surrounded by concrete. Now I live in the woods. There is something about a tree that is comforting and beautiful about trees. I feel better being around them.

Let us know what kind of tree you have and we can begin to figure out the best way to revive your bonsai.

Good luck,
;)

Roger

imafan26
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Re: Unknowingly bought a mallsai

A couple of questions
Does the pot have a hole?
The leaves are wilting and that is a result of stress
1. change in light
2 overwatering
3 underwatering
4 air conditioning not enough humidity

It looks like you took off the glued rocks.
Check the bark and scratch it with your finger and see if it is still green.
If it is green, go to the tip and find out if the bark there is alive. You might have to bend or cut the tip to see if it is dry or green.

If the plant came with any information it would help to know what kind of plant it is.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Jdotson12
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:32 am

Re: Unknowingly bought a mallsai

Thank you both. As close as I've come to figuring out what it is was when the people from the other forum mentioned ligustrum, which from what I've read, is a privet. I thought it might have been a type of weeping tree since the leaves sort of hung a little from the beginning. But they were healthy. Anyway, the only thing that came with it was a sign that stuck in the soil and simply said BONSAI. The picture on it wasn't even the same plant. I have wiggled the branches to see if they were dry and brittle. Some are kind if rubbery feeling and some are solid. I haven't scratched it. I'll try that I'm the morning. The pot does have a hole at the bottom. I had made a little hole where the moss and gravel met to check for dryness, so that's how I knew when it needed water. I never moved it once I bought it. It started in my office window and I rotated it every couple days. I didn't know if it was necessary, but I wanted all of it to get some sun...lol. Under watering it isn't possible, maybe over watering, but I always stuck my finger in that little hole at the top and lifted the pot to see how light it was before I watered. And I used bottled water. Not sure if that makes a difference. I haven't done anything different in the past 2 1/2 months, so I'm not sure what's happening or how to stop it.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Unknowingly bought a mallsai

It sounds like the tree is still alive and you have been testing for watering. Usually when I see a potted plant that is suddenly wilting and I thinksuspect it is dry, I submerge the pot in water until the bubbles stop. If the wilting is from underwatering it usually perks up shortly unless it has been wilted for some time. It is a quick way to eliminate underwatering as a problem. If There are hardly any bubbles, the soil is damp or spongy before you water, then it could have had too much. Testing the weight of the pot after it is watered well and noting how much lighter it is, is a good way to guage when water is needed. Some people like to water plants with a cup of water but most potted plants like to be evenly moist and if you don't flush the pot all the way through, you can end up with dry spots. Salts will also collect in the pots from the water and the fertilizer so flushing helps to leach the excess salts out of the soil. When salt build up gets very bad it will actually form a crust on the soil or a white crust in the pot or around the drain hole.

Air conditioning usually also have dehumidifyers which can dry plants out faster, but it would be more important if it was a tropical tree.

The plant in the top picture is not in the same location as the picture with the plant in the office window. Even a change in light or environment for a few days can cause some plants to think it is winter and go dormant. I don't recognize the plant and I
have only seen Chinese privits here. I did look up privits and your plant leaves do look like that.

Privits are supposed to be adaptable but most plants still need to adjust to a sudden change in their environment.

http://www.bonsaitreegardener.net/types/privet
https://www.bonsaiempire.com/basics/bonsai-care
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Jdotson12
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:32 am

Re: Unknowingly bought a mallsai

I brought the plant home yesterday because of the wilting, that's why its in a different spot in the picture. I set the it outside this morning when the temp got roughly the same as the inside, so it wouldn't get a big shock. Hopefully, the outside will be good for it. It's on our covered porch, but will get plenty of sun this morning. I am willing to do what it takes to save the poor little guy. Like I said, I've become attached to him, lol. I just this year started messing with plants. We bought a house two years ago and the previous owner loved flowers, so there are flower beds everywhere!. This spring I finally decided to make use of some of them. I'm not very good with plants, but I'm trying to learn. I thought I was doing everything right. Thanks for every
ones input!

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Re: Unknowingly bought a mallsai

You may wish to read our own Bonsai Care articles. They're written by a bonsai expert with decades of experience. ;)

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