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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:59 am
Location: Magnolia, Arkansas

Bought a Bonsai (Cedar?). Kept Indoors. Looking Unhealthy

Bought a bonsai
I bought a Bonsai a couple of months ago from an Asian lady who was selling them out of her van by the road side. She spoke very little English. She told me to water it every other day, by sitting in a pan of water up to the top of the planter for 2 minutes. She also said to mist it 4 or 5 times a week and to fertilize it once a month. She said it did not require alot of sun. She did not ask me if I was intending to try to grow it indoors or outside. She said it was an 8 year old and that I should repot it every 3 years.

Realized it's not an indoor bonsai
I mentioned it looked just like some cedar trees in my yard. And she said it was cedar. So I brought it home and placed it on my coffee table. I kept it there for 3 weeks or so, watering & misting it as she had instructed. But then I got to reading about Bonsai online and realized most Bonsai need to be grown outside. So I put it outside on the east side of my home.

Where I live[ & the weather we get
I live in southern Arkansas where the weather is unpredictable. It went back and forth thru warm days in the 80's to temps in the upper 20's on some nights. A couple of times it may have gotten a little frost on it. And it went thru a week or so of some hard, dry winds.

Bonsai looking unhealthy
Needless to say...its beginning to show signs of unhealthiness. Some of the tips of the needles are turning a little brown. If I knew for sure exactly what kind of Bonsai it was I could get the correct information on how to tend to it correctly.

What kind of bonsai is it and how can I care for it?
So PLEASE somebody tell me what kind of bonsai I have. And tell me what I can do to restore it back to health!!! The bonsai is about 5" tall by 12" wide



Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:07 pm
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Doesn't look life Cedrus to me at all, more likely Juniperus or Chamaecyparis. Can't really tell the pics look so small here.

Senior Member
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:33 pm
Location: Northern VA USDA Zone 7A


That does not look like a cedar at all. It looks like a mix between Juniper and Chamaecyparis. I googled both titles for pictures and I say it looks like both because it has Juniper like qualities toward the trunk of the tree, then as you get out farther down the branches, it has new growth which looks like Chamaecyparis. Just as kdodds said.

From what I can see in the picture, your tree looks healthy! There might be a little brownness but none that I can really see. It could be due to too much watering. Since it looks like juniper, you could be over watering it. The watering method the lady told you, as far as I've heard, is only used in dire emergencies or when re potting. Never have I heard of watering a bonsai like that on a regular basis. Instead of pursuing this lady's method of watering, you might want to consider getting a watering can with VERY fine holes, as not to disrupt the surface of the soil but still water throughly. Also, the method you described deprives the roots from needed gases in the soil. Gases rise when in water, and even if the gases are in the soil, when you water the way described, tose gases also rise, therefor depriving the tree of those needed gases.

Other than that, I see nothing wrong. It looks healthy to me. Lots of new growth(at least it looks like there is new growth from the pictures.)
The only thing I might recommnd doing is covering up that pruning wound seen in the pictures. You an get a paste like the one in the URL listed below that will eventually heal that wound faster and reduce the scar size. It also makes it harder for parasites, or other diseases to enter your tree through that wound. Oh also, I like that little dude fishing.

Heres that URL for an example of wound sealer.


Note: There are 2 different kinds of wound sealer. There is Deciduous and Evergreen. Since Juniper is evergreen, I posted a link to an evergreen would sealer.

Take Care and Good Luck

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:07 pm
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Still not sure on this id, even with the larger images, sorry.

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