murati
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Juniper Bonsai Dying

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HELP! I've recently (1 month) bought my first Bonsai (Juniper) and think I am killing it. I repotted it in bonsai soil with good drainage and it was doing well. I'm in an apartment so getting sunshine is tricky for a tree that needs plenty of it. I normally set it out on the balcony and when I'm home, I move it around to continue getting sun. But I got a little confused about watering and I think was watering it too much at first then not enough....the result is a yellow to browning of what was once vibrant green needles. Please look at this picture and tell me if the bonsai is going through a phase of some type or its life is leaving. Many thanks.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Juniper Bonsai Dying

It is not going through a phase. Juniper is evergreen and should always be the deep green you described. I expect that this one is not dying, but dead. Juniper dies in slow motion from the inside out. By the time it is all brown like yours, it is usually past saving. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. :(

It wasn't entirely clear: "I normally set it out on the balcony" sounds like this is a process--you keep setting it out on the balcony, implying that in between it comes inside. Junipers should not come inside (except very briefly for display). They die indoors, from a combination of not enough humidity, not enough light, and no winter cold dormancy. And being moved in and out is very hard on trees. Normally when you move any plant from in to out, you do it gradually giving it a chance to adapt to the new circumstances.

It may well also have been overwatered. Are the little pebbles in the photo glued on? If so they should have been removed immediately. They are just there to keep the potting mix from falling out when the tree is being shipped. They cut down on air and water circulation, and make it more difficult to know whether your soil is dry or moist (so when to water). With the rocks there, I can't tell what the underlying soil is like. Juniper bonsai are often sold in regular potting mix, but this is very bad for them. They need something much less organic, more mineral and free draining.

If you decide to replace your little juniper, come and do some reading here first....
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GardeningCook
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Re: Juniper Bonsai Dying

Actually that's not a Juniper but most likely a Hinoki Cypress. Sort of a moot point though, as unfortunately yes, it has died.

Lots of things could've been the cause. Repotting it immediately probably wasn't a good bet until you had it acclimated somewhat to its new home, since repotting is always stressful & adding that to having to get used to new conditions could easily have been too much for it to handle at one time. Also sounds like light conditions weren't consistent if you had to be constantly moving it around. Ditto for watering.

Don't beat yourself up too much though - gardening - and bonsai in particular - will always have a learning curve. I murdered my fair share of early bonsai attempts before doing enough research/reading & experimenting to the point where I've been able to branch out into having a nice small collection that doesn't scream in terror at my approach - lol!

If you're still interested in bonsai, I'd go online &/or visit my local library or bookstore & spend some time reading up before buying another specimen. Figure out what the optimum conditions are that you can easily provide, make your plant selection accordingly, & take things from there.
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murati
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Re: Juniper Bonsai Dying

Thank you both for the informative replies. I confess, I did a little of all the above especially bringing it at night and out during the day and the over-watering (let's not forget the pebbles!).

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