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Help - My Bonsai is drying up!

hello - new to growing Bonsai trees; I purchased attached Bonsai (i think it is a Juniper) a few months ago. I keep it indoors and water it once a week whenever the soil feels dry. I also use attached liquid fertilizer every other week. for the last two weeks part of foliage has turned brown and dried up and falling off.

it looks like the tree is dying... based on what I have read online so far, looks like i kept an outdoor bonsai indoors, this may be the problem. also, there is this white stuff at the bottom of the tree, any idea what that is?

I don't know what to do at this point. is there any way that I can save this tree?

Please help/advise


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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Help - My Bonsai is drying up!

I don't know if your tree can be saved. Junipers tend to die in slow motion from the inside out. By the time it is showing a lot of browning, it may already be toast.

You have already discovered that it never should have been kept indoors. Indoors is too hot (in winter -- they need cold dormancy) and too dry and too dim.

Yours also looks like it is in very bad soil. Bonsai seem to be usually sold in potting soil, which is not good for them, too moisture holding. I think they do that so that it won't dry out while it isn't getting proper care in the store. But yours doesn't even look like potting soil, it looks like someone's clayish garden dirt. Very bad.

Get some real bonsai soil, which is very mineral and gritty and free-draining. Repot in to that, being sure to wash all the clay out of the roots. Put your tree outside. Wait and see what happens. Do not fertilize unless it starts showing signs of new growth.
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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Help - My Bonsai is drying up!

I never water to a schedule. I stick a wooden chopstick into my tree-babies soil daily. If it comes out damp it does not get watered. if it comes out dry to the touch I water it liberally at the sink.

The first time you water set it in a basin of water and let is sit and swim for 5-10 minutes, and then let it drain.

Next touch the needles, do they just crumble? If yes, your tree may beyond salvage. if your needles are still somewhat pliable, there may yet be hope,

Moss on your soil only obscures how well your tree can take up water. I would be very tempted to use a pair of tweezers and to remove it all.

I don't think your little juniper is well enough to take on the winter fertilizer you display.

I live in SE-OH and I list my zone. You have not, so seasonal directions for an out doors tree are a problem.
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