BIGGY
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:51 pm

Bonsai maintenance and its pot.

Well I took a bit of a shortcut and picked up a nice Bonsai tree from Target. Yes, surprisingly Target seems to have a nice collection of them for a decent price. I'm not sure exactly what type of Bonsai it is, but looks cool none the less.

Now one thing I noticed is that the pot in which the tree came in has all sorts of decorative rocks on top of it. Great and all, but the rocks are glued on. Now I've read to fertilize the tree every couple months or so, and was wondering how I would go about it with everything glued in. I'm guessing that you simply try to lift the entire glue package out of the pot and was wondering if it's best just to leave it out all the time.

Another question is about the watering technique. I read on this site to water once a week by submersing the pot in water until all of the air bubbles stop. I get that part, but doing that once a week won't create any root rot? I picked up another tree for a housewarming gift and noticed that the other pot doesn't have any drainage holes at the bottom...should that tree be placed in a pot with at least one drainage hole or drill one?

Finally I thought it would be nice to keep the tree on my desk at work. Only problem is that there are no windows anywhere near me so I'm not sure if any of the flourecent lights or lamp on my desk would provide the proper light for it?

Thanks for any tips!

The Helpful Gardener
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Location: Colchester, CT

First things first; the glued rocks are a shipping thing to hold it all together, but they stink for gas exchange and permeability for H2O. Lose them and staple some moss (also in the notes in the site) in it's place.

About the submersion thing as awatering technique; it is definitely a good thing for inseason growing but as water needs slow down I would do it only as plants get dry (maybe once a month instead). This technique also waters the pot and the soil as well as the tree; that's what I like about it (it also makes the plant a little more forgiving about those missed days; less of an issue later in the year).

A bonsai pot without drainage is not a bonsai pot! Drainage is key to getting these plants rootsystems healthy; it's as much about gas exchange as water (the water passing through pushes out stale air and pulls through fresh; as much a necessity for good rooting as the H2O). I think drill the existing pot rather than disturb roots this time of season.

Flourescent lights can sustain plants this time of year, but only if they are 8-15 inches below it! So that desk area may work for short periods but if it's a juniper (66% likely), you need to find alternate digs or supplement that light (maybe a grow light in that desk lamp...?)

Scott

BIGGY
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:51 pm

Thanks for the tips. I''ll try to pull the rocks out, but I guess it all depends on hwo they are glued in. Hopefully I won't have to crack the pot and get a new one.

Now the submersion method. You mention that its good for in season growing. After that, just add water once a week or simply continue with the submersion method but only once a month? I take that 'in season' is the spring and summer months?

As for the lighting...I have flourecent lights right under my shelves above my desk, so that would put the tree about 8 or 10 inches below the lights. What's the longest you suggest keeping the tree there before taking and leaving it by a window or closer to sun light? And how long should it stay by sunlight before returning it to flourecent lighting?

The Helpful Gardener
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Well that was quick! :o

Submersion is not a sole watering technique; it is to supplement your regular watering schedule (to be determined by the plant; not too dry and not too wet can change with season and weather so I don't set a time constraint on watering, just by feel and the submersion will help round things out. DON"T do it if the plant is still wet).

If you are that 8-10 inches blow the light you can go for weeks at a time, but be sure to supplement with daylight unless you get a full spectrum gro-lite ($). A week in and a week out would be a good start; test longer periods a bit at a time...

Scott

BIGGY
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:51 pm

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Well that was quick! :o

Submersion is not a sole watering technique; it is to supplement your regular watering schedule (to be determined by the plant; not too dry and not too wet can change with season and weather so I don't set a time constraint on watering, just by feel and the submersion will help round things out. DON"T do it if the plant is still wet).

If you are that 8-10 inches blow the light you can go for weeks at a time, but be sure to supplement with daylight unless you get a full spectrum gro-lite ($). A week in and a week out would be a good start; test longer periods a bit at a time...

Scott
Of the hundreds of choices for fertilizer that I have read about for Bonsai’s, is there one that is better for the Juniper? I haven’t read anything about the Juniper specifically and am trying to cut a bit of the guess work out of it. Otherwise I would like to have the tree at my office at least for a little while if possible. I think this can be done for a couple months at a time…am I correct in my thinking? After the dormant period I’m hoping that a grow lamp will do the trick while the tree is indoors. Any longest length of time you suggest keeping the tree indoors before cycling it back outside? And what’s the lowest temperature that the tree should be kept outside? It gets pretty chilly here in Chicago with the freezes coming soon…I think that by the time the tree is ready to be moved outside in it’s pot, it might be too cold. I don’t even have a desk lamp that would hold the type of bulb that I need so I’m thinking about buying the “Desktop Grow Lightâ€

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

How long was this dormant period? And we're already talking fertilizer and lights?

The tree needs to rest, period. The light is a good idea indoors, but you can't extend photo periods without waking it up, so keep the light on only when it's light outside. And fertilizing should be kept to a minimum this time of year on outdoor plants like japanese garden junipers (not that we know what you have yet; could be a tropical and then everything changes. Find out what plant it is first...)

Scott

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