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Location: Astoria, NY

Can anyone help to keep Gardenia Bonsai alive..

I have a gardenia bonsai that I can't seem to understand how to take care of it. Currently I am "dunking" it once a week for 20 minutes (per the directions) and spraying it throughout the week to make sure I keep the soil moist. Once watered some leaves turn yellow and want to fall off. It just now started to have baby buds, but they turn brown and eventually fall off! I don't know how to figure the watering out.

It has a humidity tray and pebbles on the top of the soil. It is in a window with natural light. I have started opening the windows, so it's getting air. I live in NY. I'm not sure what else to do??

Please help, I know this can be a beautiful and healthy plant and I will do what it takes to keep it alive!

I have a picture if anyone is interested...feel free to email me.

thank you!

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Greener Thumb
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First, it is a good idea no to dunk it so often. Second, you have been dunking it for too long. Third, the spraying to keep the soil moist isn't good, the soil needs to go almost completly dry before watering it agian. And last, setting it in a tray of water is only good so long as the water dosen't seep back into the soil.

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Re: Can anyone help to keep Gardenia Bonsai alive..

Dunking or watering from the top are debated, but neither, done properly, should result in yellowing leaves like this, so I would not worry about watering method right now.

Spraying is not for moistening soil, but for raising ambient humidity. It should be done before sun up or after sun down, and is not a substitute for watering.

First thing, get those pebbles that are on top of the soil off. If they're glued down, I think you've just solved your problem, mostly anyway. You should have access to the soil's surface, in any case, to determine when watering is necessary. Watering should never be done on a strict schedule, but rather on an as needed basis.

If the window it is in faces north, bad spot. Best would be a south facing window. But, of course, living in Queens, that may not be an option, so anything BUT north would be preferable. IMO, air is not the problem here, and breezes/drafts only increase evaporation, so I'd leave the window closed for now unless you can keep up on the humidity tray top off, and possible spraying.

When a toothpick inserted into the soil comes out dry (after you remove the pebble death trap), it's time to water again.

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