rlutton
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Struggling Fukien Tea??

I purchased a 10 year-old Fukien Tea last Saturday. It's absolutely beautiful and has vibrant foliage.

I guess I should say it was. I did what the instructions said, naively not looking much more into caring for a Bonsai. I misted it every day and did not place it in direct sunlight.

However, about two days ago I noticed that the tree was dropping perfectly healthy leaves rapidly. I was frantic to figure out the problem; I've wanted a Bonsai for a long time and fell in love with this one (and I spent a pretty penny for it besides). I realized that the tree, as a sub-tropical type, needs to be in direct sunlight. After digging slightly into the soil, I found that the misting wasn't nearly enough - the soil was quite dry.

I moved the tree into the best sunlight possible that day (I do live in New York City - a lot of sunlight in an apartment isn't too easy to find), which is bright, if not full, during the day. I've been watering it several times a day, directly into the soil, not misting (I'm afraid the water would knock the leaves off now). The pot has a drainage plug and I've watered it until water trickled (not gushed) out three times a day. After researching this forum (you're all very knowledgable), I discovered a few minutes ago that the pretty moss should've been removed the moment I got it home. I have just done that.

I know things don't happen over night, but the leaves are still falling off the Bonsai. They are still green; there's no yellow or black spots, no bugs, no rust, anything. Am I too late to save my poor tree? It went without direct light and ample water for four days. I realize I might sound dramatic, but again, I love this little tree. Any tips, help, reassurance, or anything is greatly appreciated.

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xoxo
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First off, I'm new to this forum and to bonsai trees all together, so I'm sure someone else can further help you.

However, I do know misting is never meant to replace watering all together. Misting the leaves is just to help the humidity level.

Also, now you're watering it several times a day? Completely soaking it each time? I may be wrong here, but with my Ficus, I only water it once completely, then wait for the top part of the soil (1/2" - 1") to dry before watering it again.

That's all I can really say, especially since I've never owned a Fukien Tea.

Good luck!

Ashley

rlutton
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xoxo wrote:However, I do know misting is never meant to replace watering all together. Misting the leaves is just to help the humidity level.

Also, now you're watering it several times a day? Completely soaking it each time?
I'm only watering it 2-3 times a day because it went for awhile without water. I'll probably start watering it only twice a day starting tomorrow. Also, the amount I'm watering isn't very much, perhaps less than 5 ounces each time. It's mostly soaked up every time and barely damp by the time I water again. Once I'm sure the tree is still alive, I'll try a different schedule with regular but less frequent waterings. Thanks for your advice!

*-Rebecca

Snips
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You took a tree from a sunny humid surrounding and introduced it to a less sunny, and probably dry environment. It is dropping leaves because it thinks it needs to do so to survive. Fukien Tees are fickle in my experience, so you need to help it adjust as much as you can.

1. Keep it in as much sun as possible. If you have a choice, put it in a spot where it gets afternoon sun (which is better than morning or evening sun).

2. Check your humidity. AC and heating leach humidity. Spritz often to keep your bonsai humid or you can buy a humidity tray at gardening store - which will help a lot and they are cheap.

3. Feed it. Any good plant food will do. I use a couple drops of SuperThrive in my watering can.

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Rebecca,

For a newcomer Ashley has given you good advice. Misting does not replace proper watering, it is sort of a treat not a full meal.

So your tree went for several days inside with no water, then, when you did begin to water it, you watered it sparingly.:(
I'm only watering it 2-3 times a day because it went for awhile without water. I'll probably start watering it only twice a day starting tomorrow. Also, the amount I'm watering isn't very much, perhaps less than 5 ounces each time.
This is the wrong approach, always water thoroughly. Saturate the soil at each watering then the idea is to wait until you need to saturate it again. This will vary according to many circumstances so no one can give you a schedule.
The pot has a drainage plug and I've watered it until water trickled (not gushed) out three times a day.
I'm sure you mean drainage hole, but just checking. Water should gush out, you can't over water this way. Over watering only comes about when you water too frequently. Proper watering is not about quantity, which should always be copious, but frequency.

One of the things that will effect how often you should water right now is the fact that your tree is not transpiring much water now. This is because the leaves are not functioning. Do not try to overcompensate by excessive (meaning too often) watering.

I don't grow this species so I'll leave specifics to others but do consider the humidity tray that Snips has suggested.

Norm

linlaoboo
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I wouldn't recommend feeding a struggling tree unless all else fails. Give it a few more days to adjusting to its new environment. South to west facing window is a plus. It likes stable sun, temperature and water conditions. Consider buying a cfl grow light with high K rating and generates at least 150W light those sold by "htgsupply" on Ebay. It will help it in the winter time and during those cloudy days.

I too recommend watering thoroughly once and monitor how long it takes for water to get absorbed by the tree before watering again. You can use your finger or any other device but I can tell just by how heavy the pot feels when lifted. Do not water if it stays heavy as it may have a root problem. This tree likes a tray of water below the pot. Make sure water doesn't come in contact with the pot's draining hole as you don't want to keep the soil and roots soaked.

From my experience this tree is very good at letting you know conditions are less than ideal by dropping yellow leaves. Once you find a good location for it, don't move it too often.
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

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