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Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:16 am
Location: United States

Snow Rose is very sick!

I purchased a lovely Snow Rose at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and have faithfully followed the directions given. I was told to keep it very well watered (2-3x per week) and never let it dry out...but I'm wondering if that was bad advice. After starting out well, I started getting many yellow leaves. I thought maybe that was normal until I started getting leaves that would turn black, wilt and die. Very quickly now I've lost almost all the leaves. Is my tree dead? Is there any hope of recovery? Would too much water cause this? Thanks for any help!!!

Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:34 pm

Hey, I'm fairly new to bonsai too, but ill tell you what I know.
I heard that you can cut into the bark near the base of the trunk, if it's green then the tree is not quite dead (try to make the cut as inconspicuous as you can) this sounds like an emergency anyway. Also if you bend the branches and they are fairly pliable then this also indicates it's still kickin. If it's brittle and breaks then it is likely the plant is dead.
I don't know much about snow rose, the experts seem to like to tell you how specific care is for each different species... I believe them, digressions aside: 2-3 times a week of watering doesn't sound like enough. A good way to check is simply stick your finger about an inch into the soil; if it's moist then it doesn't need to be watered, some people use chop sticks or tooth picks it's the same basic idea. Obviously don't let it get bone dry.
Another cause for leaves dropping off could be that the bonsai is pot bound. This is when the roots become too compacted in the pot so that no air or water can be taken in through the roots. You might want to pull the plant out of whatever container it's in and see if the roots are really dense and compacted (usually the dense mass of roots are the same shape as the inside of the container like a molding). There's certain things you can do at this time of year if that is the case... anyway pictures always help too... and information on where your keeping it (sunwise).

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

Welcome to the wonderful world of Serissa. Even experts have trouble with them. I would say that, if it's looking poorly already, that will be worth doing. Moving it outside (if you're in the northern hemisphere) might help, but it's doubtful. Once they start to fail, they fail completely, quickly, even in expert hands. Don't feel too badly about it, it happens to the best of us with this genus. I would suggest an easier species for your next foray into the bonsai world, perhaps a Ficus spp.

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