greeneyes
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Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:18 pm
Location: Ireland

16 Year Old Serissa - Leaves Turned Yellow (with pics)

Im afraid like a proper ignorant gardener i went and bought a bonsai tree for my parents for their wedding anniversary. was dubious in the shop about the little thing it looked a bit yellow but i liked its shape so i gave it a home. its a 16 year old serissa

leaves became nice and green on my mantlepiece in my sitting room. not in direct sunlight at all. room is warm due to double glazing windows. splashed a bit of water on it when the soil started looking dry.

Gave plant to parent-two weeks later its back with me clearly ill. yellow leaves..

Chances are its going to die-ive read the stickys and done some rooting around on other sites and know this variety is finnicky :(

EDITED: to say that actually there are two holes in the bottom of its pot but the soil i can see from underneath looks a little dry. ought i be filling the overflow bowl with water? oh dear i think this is the chinese three watering technique i don't really follow...

main questions:-

soil has moss on it-good or bad
soil is quite hard ie difficult to stick a pin into-doesnt look particulary rich-ought i give it compost or something
its probably been overwatered-the pot its in has no holes anywhere should it? ie for drainage?

i will take pics with digital camera and upload if it will help

thanks for any replies and apologies for being another amateur killing a beautiful tree :(
Last edited by greeneyes on Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

greeneyes
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Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:18 pm
Location: Ireland

heres some pics i just took:-

i would add though that the leaves don't look as forlorn in the pics as they do in the flesh..

[img]https://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f254/apollo_13/004.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f254/apollo_13/005.jpg[/img]

the soil

[img]https://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f254/apollo_13/006.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f254/apollo_13/003.jpg[/img]

the yellow bottle is the medicine the store said to give it if it got ill...

verdict anyone- is it a goner?!

tommywing
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Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:06 pm
Location: Godalming UK

looks a lot more healthy than mine!

All I found out is
1. They are techy plants, like everything perfect.
2. They need humidity and decent amount of water.
3. they adapt to the environment so moving them about without just cause is a bad idea.

They are not easy to look afer, patience is the key and if all the leaves drop off it doesn't mean it's dead!

correct me if I'm wrong!

greeneyes
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:18 pm
Location: Ireland

thanks tommy! i think it seems to be destiny that a novice owner kills his/her first bonsai but my mother will be so upset if it dies- Bad Karma given as it was a wedding anniversary present.

tommywing
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Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:06 pm
Location: Godalming UK

Thats cool, I bought my serissa because it was 1/2 price and loked good in the shop, an error of many it seems.

however, read this:
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Serissa.html

and do your best to spot pests/fungi and deal with them as soon as possible. Repot it in the spring using this;

https://www.greendragonbonsai.co.uk/BONSAI_SOIL_AT_GREEN_DRAGON_BONSAI.htm

the ready mix is the best all rounder.

And keep your fingers crossed.

I can't offer my advice from any empirically verified position as I am new to this, I can only qualify my advice based on the fact that I have basically asked the same questions as you.

cheers

Tom

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

Greeneyes,
there are two holes in the bottom of its pot but the soil I can see from underneath looks a little dry. ought I be filling the overflow bowl with water? oh dear I think this is the chinese three watering technique I don't really follow.
splashed a bit of water on it when the soil started looking dry.

soil is quite hard ie difficult to stick a pin
This is all related, the poor soil is inhibiting proper watering. Your improper technique is not helping either. The fact that the soil is dry at the bottom tells you that you are not watering properly, a little splash is not sufficient to wet the soil mass which should be your goal each and every time you water. A little water often is the wrong approach.

Remove the tree from the drip tray and put it in the sink or a basin of some sort. Water the tree until water runs from the drainage holes, keep watering until the water is about two thirds of the way up the sides of the pot. Let the tree sit in the water for 10 minutes or so or until the soil is thoroughly saturated, then remove it from the water and let it drain.

This is necessary because the soil has been allowed to become so dry that it is now repelling moisture, this is not the usual method but an emergency measure to try to revive the tree. In the future when you water, repeat the first part of the above technique, wait a few minutes and again water thoroughly. Do not allow the pot to stand in water and do not allow enough water to accumulate in the drip tray to allow it to wick back up into the pot.

Now do not water at all until you decide it needs it again, a little splash on top give the false impression that the soil is moist but as you noted does not penetrate to the depths of the pot where many of the roots are.

You should know that I don't grow this species but I keep nothing inside during the summer. I question if the tree is getting sufficient light on your mantle.

Norm

greeneyes
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:18 pm
Location: Ireland

thanks Norm-I have done as you suggested and moved the plant to a northfacing window

ynot
Greener Thumb
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Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

Hey all, I won't be around much for another week...

Gnome wrote:
You should know that I don't grow this species but I keep nothing inside during the summer. I question if the tree is getting sufficient light on your mantle.
Norm
Greeneyes,

Great advice wrt watering from Gnome there, But just one thing....

I think Gnome was suggesting that your tree be moved outside as opposed to another [inadequately lit ] spot inside.

Do read the stickys about soil as well as the links provided by tommywing,
You will find them very informative.

Good luck,

ynot

greeneyes
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Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:18 pm
Location: Ireland

thank ynot.

yes i figured thats what gnome was suggesting but i note that he lives in America where it is actually sunny during the summer... i live in ireland and we are currently experiencing the wettest summer on record.

watering schedule would be up the creek and the temperatures are very low-too low i would imagine for a tropical plant

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