Skunkgal
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Advice for a yellowing and brittle juniper bonsai?

Hi all,
I am a first time bonsai owner trying to rescue a juniper bonsai that has begun yellowing and become brittle. I can't put him outside--I live in a NYC apartment--so I have been misting him, using 10-10-10 fertilizer, and even collecting rainwater to water him with, but he's still looking so sad. Anything I can do to perk him up? And is this yellowing a sign of overwatering or underwatering? When I inherited the tree from my boyfriend, he'd been watering once a week, which seemed too infrequent because the tree had already begun becoming brittle, but I'm not sure if my more frequent watering is helping or hurting.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Advice for a yellowing and brittle juniper bonsai?

Pictures always help, but at a guess, your bonsai is already dead. Junipers die in slow motion from the inside out. By the time they are showing significant browning they are often past saving.

Junipers die indoors. Period. If you do not have a balcony or outside window sill you can put it on, you can't keep a juniper alive for very long. There are a number of bonsai types that can be kept indoors. One of the best is ficus. If you have to have an indoor bonsai, get yourself a ficus.

Type juniper bonsai into the search box at upper left and read some of the 400 or so other posts from people whose juniper trees died indoors!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Re: Advice for a yellowing and brittle juniper bonsai?

I agree, junipers cannot be kept indoors. If you want an indoor tree get a shefflera, ficus, Fukien tea, or jade. These plants are very tough and can adapt to indoors provided you provide the right conditions of air, light and water.


P.S. for me all of these plants except jade are weeds.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Skunkgal
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Re: Advice for a yellowing and brittle juniper bonsai?

Thanks, rainbowgardener and imafam26. I was afraid as much. I feel terrible because I got the bonsai as a present and once I realized how hard (impossible?) it is to keep junipers indoors, I started reading as much as I could find to try to figure out how do right by the poor little guy, including so many posts here. If there any Hail Mary measures worth trying, please let me know--I'll do anything...

imafan26
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Re: Advice for a yellowing and brittle juniper bonsai?

By the time you start seeing browning it is usually already too late. If it is brittle there isn't much more you can do except give it a decent burial.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Advice for a yellowing and brittle juniper bonsai?

It likely is too late already for your juniper. Starting with a healthy tree, if you wanted to try to keep it indoors, you would need fluorescent light hung directly over it

Image

a humidity tray, and probably a humidifier near it. Misting the needles can just lead to mold, but along with lack of light, part of what junipers don't like about indoor air is the lack of humidity. Heated air in winter and air conditioned air in summer are both very dry.

If you did all this, you probably could keep a juniper alive indoors for some time. However, they require winter cold dormancy. You would have to put it in some kind of cold storage in winter. Without that it would eventually die from being forced to grow all the time without the rest period.

So added light, added humidity, cold storage. Is it worth it when you could just get a tree that can handle indoor conditions better?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

A. Sears
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Re: Advice for a yellowing and brittle juniper bonsai?

That juniper must stay outdoors year round. I'm sure you already knew that. It can recover with good light and watering skills.

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