Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:27 pm
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

New Bonsai - Needles Turning Brown - Is it Going Dormant?

My husband bought a bonsai tree at the Phila. Flower show last spring. I'm not sure what type it is, but the leaves resemble pine needles, and it's about 7 or 8 inches tall. He's been really diligent about watering and feeding it, but the leaves have begun to get brown and brittle, and they're falling off. Is this a dormant phase? What do we do now? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give us. Karen

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Not unless it's a larch. My guess is it's a juniper and what's happening is what almost always happens with junipers. They'll last for a undetermined period of time indoors, but will, eventually, die. It won't be until days to weeks (sometimes months) AFTER they've already died that their needles will begin to brown and fall off in massive amounts. If you wish to keep a bonsai indoors, there are a variety of suitable species, junipers not being any of them. If you wish to keep a juniper, you'll need to keep it outside.

Full Member
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:15 am
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

If you could post a picture it might be more helpful.

If your tree is indeed a Juniper then it's probably already too late. Junipers WILL fail indoors. It's a very common mistake, but obviously it isn't your husband's fault - he had no way of knowing.

For future reference Ficuses are usually a very hardy indoor Bonsai.

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