Bungee123
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:38 pm

Problem with Lemon Bonsai

Hi,
I have had a lemon bonsai for about 18 months now and it has been sick for some time. The tips of new leaves tend to go brown after they reach full size and the leaf later drops off. I lose maybe one leaf every three months.

I water it so the soil is always damp to the touch and fertilize it once a week. I do this for my other two bonsai, a ficus benjamina and a Fukien Tea, and they are both fine.

It is in a well lighted kitchen not far from a large window.

I'm fairly certain this must be a watering/fertilizing issue as none of my trees have any pests I can see.

I am tempted to read forums on care for normal fruit trees but I think watering for full size trees is different so am reluctant to follow advice I find there.

I would be grateful for any help,

Bungee.

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Bungee,

Welcome to the Helpful Gardener. I'm not sure how "Helpful" I can be with this issue as I do not grow this species. Lesniewicz, in his book 'Bonsai in your home.', indicates that Citrus dislike wet feet. How long has it been since you have re-potted? Perhaps the soil is collapsing and impeding drainage. What is the soil like, does it drain well? Maybe try backing off just a bit with your watering while keeping a close eye on the tree.

He also states that fertilizations should be on a bi-weekly basis until fall then to discontinue. One more thing I think I would consider is getting this tree outside if you are able. You have not indicated your location in your post or profile.

Norm

Bungee123
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:38 pm

Hi Norm,
I'm actually trying the opposite at the moment. In other words I am watering until it drips out in to the tray, waiting till the surface is semi-dry then repeating. The reason being that most sources tell me curling at the end of the leaves is caused by not enough water. As the tree is in a relatively large pot for its size it's possible I need to water a bit more than normal. Anyway, all I can do is try different approaches. If it gets worse I know I am doing it wrong. There is very little good info around on citrus bonsai. :roll:

Regarding fertilizing, the problem existed before I started fertilizing so I don't think that can be it. The fertilizer I use says once a week so for the time being I will stick with that.

The plant is right in front of a large south facing window and as I live in a flat it's the closest it can get to outside for now.

Thanks for your help, 8)

Bungee.

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Bungee123,
Thanks for your help,
You're welcome.

I'm actually trying the opposite at the moment. In other words I am watering until it drips out in to the tray, waiting till the surface is semi-dry then repeating.
I did not make myself clear. I did not intend for you to water less but to water less often, if that makes any sense. When you water you should always water thoroughly. I was suggesting that you wait a bit longer before the next watering.

Earlier you mentioned that:
I water it so the soil is always damp to the touch
Now you note that:
I am watering until it drips out in to the tray, waiting till the surface is semi-dry then repeating.
I think this is a better approach, perhaps still a bit too often. But as I said I don't grow Citrus so you are in a much better position to judge the tree than I.
As the tree is in a relatively large pot for its size it's possible I need to water a bit more than normal.
I believe you have this backward. A large, relatively speaking, pot usually requires watering less often not more often, think about it.
The plant is right in front of a large south facing window and as I live in a flat it's the closest it can get to outside for now.
OK, if that's the way it is, that's the way it is. If the Citrus does not come around consider a Ficus. Although they like their share of sun they can get by indoors as well.

Norm

Bungee123
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:38 pm

Hi Norm,
Yes, I am basically doing like you said - I water until it comes out in the tray and this then means I water less often.

Anyway, no problems so far, so fingers crossed. :D

Bye,
Bungee.

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