chris2busy
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:04 am

2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

Dear community,

1)ficus microcarpa ginseng
Good morning and i hope i can be a good part of yours in that community!
I would like to ask your opinion on the subject with the leaf Loss i have in my ficus microcarpa ginseng.i repotted in the soil you will see attached.
As you will see in the attached photos most of leaves have fallen from branches and only some left at the tips. leaves turn either brown and with-fall off or fall of green and the tip of their stem is brown.images will help see that
Please help me to recover my tree .

2)Chinese elm tree
I bought a new Chinese elm tree as you will see in the pictures i repotted in the soil you will see attached and water as needed (finger in soil up to second knuckle and water if dry).right now even more yellow leaves, up to 70% of leaves

Please help me and excuse me for the very bad english .

Images :
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Brown leaves :
Image

soil :
Image

chris2busy
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:04 am

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

Addition :
This just sprang to mind. It might even be stupid.
Lots of leaves on the back side of the tree are backed up against the wall.
Could this slight cramming be causing the browning of leaves? i.e wall is a cold surface and figs are tropical and those 2 don't mix.
I could turn it around 180 degrees , but i would rather not, as its backside is not so visually appealing.

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

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

To start with, your English is excellent. No need at all for apologies (I've seen native speakers do worse in writing! :) )

You said you just got the Chinese elm, the little one, but you didn't say how long you have had the ficus.

You talked about the ficus being mostly defoliated and the elm having lots of yellowing leaves, but the pictures don't show any of that. Are the pictures how the trees are looking now? If not can you show how the trees are actually looking now?

Has the ficus been moved recently?

Ficus are notorious for dropping most of their leaves when they are moved, especially when lighting or temperatures are changed. The good news about that is that since they readily drop most of their leaves, they also readily grow them back, when conditions are to their liking.

Couple comments I have off hand. That interior wall does not look like good placement for them. They are TREES and need the same things trees need, primary of which is sunshine. If you want to leave them where they are, I think you will need to provide some supplemental lighting for them. Lighting for bonsai is dedicated fluorescent light, close to the tree:

Image

Image

Second, I wonder about your soil. I know it is labelled as bonsai soil, but it doesn't look to me like bonsai soil. Your soil looks dark, moist, dense, organic. True bonsai soil is mostly tiny gravel, grit, maybe some bits of bark. It is very loose, inorganic, and water flows right off of it. You said you are not watering until they start to dry (which is good), but how often is that?

Welcome to the Forum. If you answer some of these questions, I think some of our real bonsai practitioners around here (not me) will be able to help you.
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

chris2busy
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:04 am

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

Hello and thanks for the prompt reply !

No that is the image of the plants the date i moved the ficus from the balcony, back inside, to that spot.
If you look at the first of the pics, attached you can see on the left side, the edge and wall hinge of the window.just left of the plants is a window which lets abundant light from about 08:00 until 11:00-12:00, directly on that angle and afterwards, shaded ligh as the sun progresses to the right (will send wider angle pics of their environment when i get back home)..

-Ficus was a gift to my wife's last bday which was on 13/01/2015.
That is how long it has been with us. Please note that i had the same issue around May (dropping leaves) and as soon as i took it out on the balcony it immediately ceased the leaf drop..and i mean immediately. i took it back in a couple weeks ago (23/10/2016) and repoted into that soil.

The soil contains river sand and what seems to be bark chips along with tiny lava-type rocks(few rocks).
I have been thinking about putting a bit of pumice atop the soil and also push some inside the dirt.
As far as watering goes, last time i watered, i soaked the soil was that same date i got it inside (23/10) and up to date it is fully soaked still.The way this goes, it probably will take another 2 weeks for it to become dry.
I 'd like an opinion on the wall thing as well (my previous post). could that cramming on a cold surface be a problem?

Will also supply new images for the little elm tree when i get back home!
around 70-80% of its leaves are yellow now. is this the type of tree that looses leaves during winter time?

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11340
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

Ficus does not like to be moved and that is probably why it is dropping leaves. I does not like changes in light. If the branches are still green and not dead, gradually move it back outside and the new leaves should grow

When you repotted the trees did you do any root pruning or topwork? Usually when trees are repotted the old media is removed and the fork is used to tease some of the roots loose. Some soil at the top is brushed away to expose more root when it is replanted. Dead and damaged roots are trimmed and topwork needs to be done to reduce the work on the roots. If the plant was in the same pot for a couple of years it probably needed some root pruning or a larger pot. Sometimes plants will go into shock for a while. It all depends on the plant, and knowing how much handling your plant can tolerate.

I used to have a bougainvillea in a large pot that I had to root prune and aerate every six months just to keep it in the samed pot. I only trimmed about and inch around the edges and cut back the top, poked holes in the root ball with a rod to improve aeration and I knew how much I could do without harming the plant. Our neighbor saw that we were doing that and bought a small bougainvillea and did the same thing and killed it. Bougainvilleas are notoriously hard to transplant because they don't hold on to soil. They ended up killing their plant. I am not unhappy about that since they planted it next to my fence and bougainvilleas are a bear when they grow up.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

chris2busy
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:04 am

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

here...new pics of both of my poor trees..
anything to make my babies nursed back to health..
boy i so hope i don't have to keep them outdoors...my house is empty without them.

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

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

The ficus still doesn't look that bad (Incidentally all your original pictures disappeared from your post. Did you move them? Or relabel? That breaks the link to them. ) The chinese elm is severely yellowed.

Re the browning: If the leaves are touching the cold wall, that could do that. You would just need to pull the furniture they are on a couple inches away from the wall.

I have seen ficus much more defoliated than your picture come back. You haven't said where you are located or what your climate is like. Ficus is not at all cold tolerant, so can't be out for the winter unless you are in some tropical location. It benefits from a summer vacation outside. You said where it is, it gets plenty of light. Hard for us to evaluate that. I would still try putting a lamp on it. You could do that with a floor lamp angled to shine on it.

But you should understand that these are trees, not interior decoration items. If you want decor items, there are beautiful fake bonsai.

Here's a thread where I posted some info about the Chinese elm:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... lm#p375974

They may or may not drop leaves in winter depending on how they are cared for/ conditions they are in. But it sounds like the lack of light and the cool wall behind them, may have triggered yours into dropping leaves. If so, you should probably put it in a cool dim place and let dormancy proceed. But is it really dropping leaves or just yellowing? Yellowing can be a sign of nutrient lack and/or over watering.

Your soil does seem too moisture holding. Bonsai soil should NOT take weeks to dry out. If your plants survive until spring, I would repot them into a better mixture (more like perlite or other mineral component, small bark chips, and a very small amount of compost/potting soil).
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

chris2busy
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:04 am

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

rainbowgardener wrote:The ficus still doesn't look that bad (Incidentally all your original pictures disappeared from your post. Did you move them? Or relabel? That breaks the link to them. ) The chinese elm is severely yellowed.


Re the browning: If the leaves are touching the cold wall, that could do that. You would just need to pull the furniture they are on a couple inches away from the wall.

I have seen ficus much more defoliated than your picture come back. You haven't said where you are located or what your climate is like. Ficus is not at all cold tolerant, so can't be out for the winter unless you are in some tropical location. It benefits from a summer vacation outside. You said where it is, it gets plenty of light. Hard for us to evaluate that. I would still try putting a lamp on it. You could do that with a floor lamp angled to shine on it.

But you should understand that these are trees, not interior decoration items. If you want decor items, there are beautiful fake bonsai.

Here's a thread where I posted some info about the Chinese elm:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... lm#p375974

They may or may not drop leaves in winter depending on how they are cared for/ conditions they are in. But it sounds like the lack of light and the cool wall behind them, may have triggered yours into dropping leaves. If so, you should probably put it in a cool dim place and let dormancy proceed. But is it really dropping leaves or just yellowing? Yellowing can be a sign of nutrient lack and/or over watering.

Your soil does seem too moisture holding. Bonsai soil should NOT take weeks to dry out. If your plants survive until spring, I would repot them into a better mixture (more like perlite or other mineral component, small bark chips, and a very small amount of compost/potting soil).
Hey mate! Wow thanks for the fast replies.this sure is one great community! I have no clue as to why links don't work on OP, but on google drive link above there is an "old" folder, they are there too.
I moved the furniture and the tree no longer thouches the wall.i live in Greece so it is still over 25degrees Celsius here.no real cold winters here.if things keep that was and defoliation progresses at this rate i will take the tree back out on the balcony.

On the Chinese elm front, tree turns leaves yellow but holds on to them until they go crunchy and wither.I will proceed with dormancy as per your instructions. I have just the place for that.

This soil does keep moisture indeed.even to this moment it still is moist. Kinda late to repot again and make new mix. I was thinking of adding lots of pumice atop the soil, push some down in the soil without too much force and then let water sink them down with time. Would that work? Seems less forceful/drastic than putting them through repotting.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11340
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

If you don't have a freeze and you stay above 50 degrees F. all year, the trees will be better outside. Bring them in for a few hours or a night to enjoy them but keep them outside most of the time. They will be happier for it. Most trees want to be outside. The ficus can be acclimated inside but you still need a spot with bright light or a lighted shelf (daylight flourescent or grow bulb). It is better to have light from above than from the side or the plant will turn toward the light unless it is turned regularly. Once the ficus is acclimated the leaves will grow back, but if you change the light again the leaves will drop again. Once acclimated indoors, it would have to be hardened off or the leaves will burn in high light.

I have not grown Chinese elm, the only bonsai and topiary I have grown were juniper (cannot be indoors), mugo pine, bougainvillea, rosemary (topiary), euphorbia cotonifolia (topiary), panax, schefflera (more topiary than bonsai since the wood is soft, but pretty easy to grow indoors. Grown outdoors, they become the octopus tree that grows wild), jade (small and big leaf, Jamaican oregano, and geometry tree. I have Fukien tea growing as a weed in my yard. It is hard to kill.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

chris2busy
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:04 am

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

imafan26 wrote:If you don't have a freeze and you stay above 50 degrees F. all year, the trees will be better outside. Bring them in for a few hours or a night to enjoy them but keep them outside most of the time. They will be happier for it. Most trees want to be outside. The ficus can be acclimated inside but you still need a spot with bright light or a lighted shelf (daylight flourescent or grow bulb). It is better to have light from above than from the side or the plant will turn toward the light unless it is turned regularly. Once the ficus is acclimated the leaves will grow back, but if you change the light again the leaves will drop again. Once acclimated indoors, it would have to be hardened off or the leaves will burn in high light.

I have not grown Chinese elm, the only bonsai and topiary I have grown were juniper (cannot be indoors), mugo pine, bougainvillea, rosemary (topiary), euphorbia cotonifolia (topiary), panax, schefflera (more topiary than bonsai since the wood is soft, but pretty easy to grow indoors. Grown outdoors, they become the octopus tree that grows wild), jade (small and big leaf, Jamaican oregano, and geometry tree. I have Fukien tea growing as a weed in my yard. It is hard to kill.

Oh good to here such thing as daylight lamps exist.
This should work, right?

https://voltech.gr/%CE%B7%CE%BB%CE%B5%C ... ble-cri-90

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11340
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: 2 new bonsai and i am failing them hard

Use daylight flourscent lighting. LED lights do not have the full spectrum of light that plants need unless you have a grow light that is specifically designed for that. They do make grow light bulbs. t 5 grow lights and some LED grow lights. LED lights cost considerably more than flourescent lights.
https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/t5-g ... -fixtures/

It is easier on the plant in the long run for it to be outside whenever possible.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”