andym65
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Can you ID this Bonsai?

I am new here and new to Bonsais.

I just bought this Bonsai at Lowes and would like to know what kind it is and the best way to care for it.

Here are some Pictures for you

[img]https://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/andym_06/100_5391.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/andym_06/100_5390.jpg[/img]

Here is a up close of the leaves on it.

[img]https://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/andym_06/100_5388.jpg[/img]


Hope that helps. Thanks in advance for the help. If you guys need more pictures just let me know.

How about I tell you a little bit about my self.
I am a 18 year old Home schooler and have always love Bonsais.
Oh and one more thing. If i where to make my own Bonsais what would you guys say is the best plant to start with?

thanks again!

ynot
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Welcome andy, :)

Thank you for posting pictures with your question :), Not everybody does you know :roll: ;)..lol

IMO-You have a Ficus there, Most likely a F. Microcarpa but I am not so great at picking specific Ficus species [There are hundreds of them..lol]

Here are a few pages you should read to learn a bit about taking care of your new charge:
This guy LITERALLY wrote the book on Ficus bonsai:
https://www.bonsaihunk.us/index.html Surf everywhere around his site- you will like it.

https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html You will find MANY of the links on this page useful and informative, Take special note of the articles on Soil & watering as these are important issues. [And I promise you that your tree would benefit from new soil-Judging by the pictures. Does that pot have a drainage hole at the bottom?]

Also check out the species guide in the links at the top of that page.

Here is a care sheet for your tree from the same site: https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ficus.html

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm Plenty of excellent articles here also.

Do also check out these on site stickys about soil and repotting:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3423

Take a look at this thread if you are seeking some ideas or inspiration from some beautiful bonsai {IMO 8)}: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3343

Some photo tips for you [If more pictures are required] https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557

As to your question about which plant to start with-- Well, That depends on many things, Your location*, Where do you intend on growing it? [Indoors or out?] local availability ect... We need a bit more info about you and your interests [Flowering, Deciduous, Conifer, Evergreen, Tropical....]
As you can see it is not as straight forward of a question as it seems.

You may find this very interesting as it relates to getting the material to 'make your own' [Which IS the way to go IMO 8)]. https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/nurserys.htm

I hope this was helpful, Keep posting.

ynot

EDIT: I see your in Indiana...Oops

EDIT for Gnome: [url=https://www.mysmiley.net][img]https://www.mysmiley.net/imgs/smile/evilgrin/evilgrin0045.gif[/img][/url] 8) :lol:
Last edited by ynot on Sat Apr 28, 2007 1:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Gnome
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Andy,

Hello and welcome to the forum. It's good to see young people getting involved in bonsai. I was interested when I was your age but had very little information and nobody to ask questions of. I lost interest for a time and came to bonsai again later. We'll try to help you as much as we can.

Your tree looks to me like a Ficus, not sure which species though. Please take the time to review the following threads, also don't neglect to follow the links therein.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3423

Also look [url=https://bonsaihunk.8m.com/cultural.html]here[/url] for specific information regarding Ficus.

As time permits read the articles [url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html]here[/url] and [url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm]here[/url] for information regarding basic bonsai culture.
Oh and one more thing. If I where to make my own Bonsais what would you guys say is the best plant to start with?
Please tell us a little more about what you want from bonsai. Are you able to grow outside or are you seeking more species suitable for indoor culture. Do you have garden space available to you. How much experience do you have with other gardening?

Norm

EDIT: Ynot, you got me this time. Andy it looks like I duplicated the links already posted. :oops:

andym65
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Thanks

Thanks for the info.

I live in zone 5. I would like one that would grow indoors.

I am a self taught botanist as I would call my self and I have a nice green thumb. I have grown a Bromeliad but I kill it,to much sun :( I also have grown some roses in my time.

I was going to build a Bonsai out of a Dwarf English Boxwood but it stunk WAY to bad.

Thanks

P.S
Here some Pic. of the soil and roots of it.


[img]https://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/andym_06/100_5394.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/andym_06/100_5395.jpg[/img]

My dad has some pea grave leftover would that work to lighten the soil up a bit? There is a hole in the bottom the pot.

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Andy,
I live in zone 5. I would like one that would grow indoors.
Alright, but I hope you realize that even tropicals like Ficus really should be kept outside during the summer, this really imparts some vigor that will help them survive the long dark winter. So if you are able to locate your indoor trees outside during the summer you might as well consider some sub-tropicals or temperate species in addition to your ficus. This will give you a much wider range of species to work with. I'm not saying you need to jump in with both feet right now but keep an open mind.

Indoor trees are not care free by any means, with lighting probably being the biggest issue. While you can keep your tree near a window some supplemental lighting is almost a necessity.

The soil shown in your most recent photos is entirely inappropriate for bonsai culture. I can't see the other nearly as well but it does not look much better. Once you read, and absorb, the information regarding proper bonsai potting medium you will see what I mean. I'm afraid that pea gravel would not be my first choice for an inorganic component. The shape is too regular and the surface too smooth to absorb, and later release, moisture and nutrients.
I was going to build a Bonsai out of a Dwarf English Boxwood
Most of the impressive bonsai that you see are not grown up but either cut down or collected. The sooner you learn this the sooner you can get past the "stick-in-a-pot" stage. Not trying to be harsh here, I still have sticks in pots but I also have stumps in pots.

Get back to us once you have done some reading and, more importantly, some thinking.

Norm

andym65
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Thanks for the info

Would crushed up lave rock work.

What would you guys suggest for a inorganic in my soil.
I am do now a thing or two about soil. I have grown a Brom. before so I kind of know a little bit about fast draining soil. Would a pre-made cactus potting mix work?

P.S I am on a shoe string budget.

ynot
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andym65 wrote:Thanks for the info
Your welcome.
Would crushed up lave rock work.
Yes, Although this can be very labor intensive and would still require sifting as it produces a lot of dust.
It also turns the sidewalk a lovely shade if you were to use a hammer and a board - Don't ask :lol:.

This method is untested by me BUT...If I were to do that [again] I would take some 1/8" or 1/4" hardware screen [Or possibly a larger size screen as the rock will crush at more than just the contact points.]
Attach it to a 4' 1 x 12, Use wire or rope- NO nails. Place it screen side down over a layer of lava rock [Which sits on a hard surface]...And drive a car over it. [Actually I might use a layer of hardware screen on the road surface also - A grid so to speak.]

Give it a test run first to see if it is effective [As far as size goes]
If it works sweep it up, Sift it and thank me later...;) :lol: Just thinking outside of the box, If you try it you may end up with a 4' pile of red dust. It IS untested.
What would you guys suggest for a inorganic in my soil.
I am not sure what is available to you locally [Turface MVP is quite cheap at less than 10$ for over 20lbs of it - Which is more than you need obviously.]
P.S I am on a shoe string budget.
The best inexpensive inorganic I can think of that is widely available is 'arcillite' Which is sold at big box garden centers as '[url=https://www.schultz.com/ProductCategories/Soilsamendments/AquaticPlantSoil/]Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil[/url]' It is the 'soil' used in pond plants {water gardening.] It's about 8$ for a 10lb bag.

Both of these products are made by the same company 'Profile'. Here are links to the same products at the Profile website: [url=https://www.profileproducts.com/sports_fields/product.cfm?category=1&product=trf_mvp]Turface MVP,[/url][url=https://www.profileproducts.com/lawn_garden/product.cfm?category=30&product=aqtc_plnt_soil]Aqua Soil - Different packaging is shown but it is the same stuff.[/url]
Both of these products require sifting to remove the fine particles.
I am do now a thing or two about soil. I have grown a Brom. before so I kind of know a little bit about fast draining soil. Would a pre-made cactus potting mix work?
Cactus mix would be better than your current soil but keep in mind that the physical properties of bonsai soil are substantially different than normal container culture.

In the 'Bonsai Soil' sticky there are links that contain lists of other commonly used inorganic ingredients IE: Akadama, Haydite, Lava rock [suitably sized], Course Sand, Horticultural grit, Perlite ect.

Some of these are prohibitively expensive [Akadama] or not usually locally available and involve shipping costs [Haydite & again Akadama]

It is worth a few phone calls to find out what is available locally.

Hope this is helpful.

ynot

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Andy,

Lava is an excellent inorganic component but I have never found the correct size locally and was forced to ship it in. :x If you have some larger pieces in hand, and don't need a lot right now, it is soft enough to crush with a hammer. In fact if you hit it too hard it disintegrates.

One of the most important lessons you can learn early on is to screen your medium. The best medium in one with consistently sized particles. If you include smaller particles they filter in between the larger ones negating the purpose of screening in the first place.

If you can locate, or purchase, some hardware cloth you can make some sieves pretty cheap. One piece with 1/8 spacing and one piece with 1/4 spacing is a good start. You can use these to size your crushed lava rock.

Another cheap component I have used in the past is creek gravel. It will need to be sized as well and be sure not to get anything that might have runoff from a road but it is a fine material and as cheap as it gets.

Ynot,

I also have not tried the car crushing method, I don't have a concrete drive, but seem to remember someone saying elsewhere that they found it unsatisfactory, sorry I can't recall who.

Norm

ynot
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Gnome wrote: Ynot,
I also have not tried the car crushing method, I don't have a concrete drive, but seem to remember someone saying elsewhere that they found it unsatisfactory, sorry I can't recall who.
Yeah, I know what you mean. I also don't remember where I initially saw the idea and I have not tried it.

I think you said it perfectly:
In fact if you hit it too hard it disintegrates.
It is not a very effective route IMO & IME. [Unless your a sadist]

ynot

andym65
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I went ahead and smashed some lava to small pebble size. most are no larger than 1/4" wide. I then went ahead and re potted it and watered it. It did not run out as fast as the one in the video but it quick.2 quart of water in not more that 30 sec.
Is that good for now? It is out side right now in the sun it about 65F here.

thanks again for all the wonderful and informative help.

God Bless :D

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Andy,

I'm a little unclear about which plant you are referring to right now, the Ficus or the Boxwood. I had assumed the last picture was of the Boxwood, is that correct? At any rate the addition the lava can only be an improvement. I assume you did not use 100% lava as if you had it would drain very fast.

Could you be little more specific about which plant, and your mix. What are your other components and the ratios? I use lava as only part of the inorganic portion of my soil, the other being Haydite. Most trees also get some Pine bark as well. I use no potting soil at all. In fact the stuff that I deliberately exclude looks a lot like commercial potting soil

Norm

andym65
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I was talking about the bonsai NOT the boxwood. I did not go with the boxwood becouse is smelled WAY to bad.like cat pee. :lol:


I have no clue what is in that soil of the pre-potted Ficus but i did add some lave rock to it and the Pics. are of the roots of the Ficus and the soil that it was in.

ynot
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Please refer to the species as it is less confusing...

Andy,

Don't take this the wrong way but you need to slow WAAAAY down. Ok.
I have no clue what is in that soil of the pre-potted Ficus but I did add some lave rock to it and the Pics. are of the roots of the Ficus and the soil that it was in.
I understand this to say that you still have the potting soil in your mix correct?

A major reason for the upcoming repot was to replace that potting soil within your pot.
Nothing that you add to your soil changes the fact that the potting soil has a tiny particle size and retains a lot of moisture.

This soil needed to be replaced, Not amended. If the potting soil is still in the pot then the soil has only been barely improved...If that.

Research needs to take precedent over action for a while because putting your tree through the stress of repotting repeatedly is not good for it.


ynot

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