lozzareeves
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Bonsai Dying? Don't know why

Hello

I have this bonsai from morrisons I purchased only 4 weeks ago, the moment i put it in our office it's shed nearly all of its leaves.
I've watered it and left it, I'm not continuing to water it as the soil is still wet.
Plant food has been put in.
The tag that came with it says not to put it in direct sunlight so I've put it on my desk.
So I'm rather lost on what the problem is. Only other thing I could think of is on the weekend we're closed and the heating will obviously not be on, also in the evening.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Bonsai Dying? Don't know why

Your bonsai is a ginseng rooted ficus tree.

I'm pretty sure it is not getting enough light and it is staying too wet around the roots, but not humid enough around the leaves. Avoiding direct hot sunshine is one thing, but your tree is barely getting any light. The no direct sunshine is for outdoor trees. Indoors it needs pretty much as much light as you can give it. If you have a good south facing window that gets lots of light, that would do. Otherwise it needs supplemental lighting - a dedicated fluorescent light that shines directly on it from just a few inches away, that is on 16 hrs a day.

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The leaves need to be misted daily and/or it should be on a humidity tray. This is a tray you put water in and pebbles. The pebbles support the bonsai pot so that the pot is OVER the water, not in it. The idea is just to add some humidity around your tree.

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It doesn't look like good bonsai soil which is very mineral and gritty and free draining. In the spring you should re-pot into good bonsai soil. For now just be very careful about watering. Do not fertilize at least until it is growing new leaves again.


Here's a thread with lots of basic bonsai growing information, including how to water: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =36&t=1479

Here's an article with a lot of information about bonsai soil
https://bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Soils.html

It is a living tree and needs what trees need. If you just want a desk decoration and aren't prepared to give your bonsai daily care, there are lots of really nice artificial ones.
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applestar
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Re: Bonsai Dying? Don't know why

When keeping plants in a new location, I would also put a min/max temp and humidity meter next to the plant.

An inexpensive one with limited period is fine, although in an office setting, it maybe worthwhile to be able to know the min/max over the weekend.

Once you have a basic trend for the season you can use the device in another location until next season (track when heating/air conditioning/sun position changes)

If you want to get fancy, you might be able to get a device that could be accessed remotely via the office computer or wifi (probably depends on your office's security protocols.)
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imafan26
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Re: Bonsai Dying? Don't know why

Ficus will lose all their leaves in response to changing light conditions. Actually most bonsai will do better once they are hardened off outdoors especially if you live in a relatively frost free climate.

I agree it is not the best soil for bonsai and ficus should not be kept wet so allow it to dry out before watering. When you do water, take it to a sink and flush it well and not just pour a cup of water on the plant. Keep the leaves clean by wiping the dust off them which will block light. You can use diluted skim milk to make a cheap leaf shine. Ficus is pretty forgiving about light but it does need bright light if it is kept indoors. Air conditioning in an office will also dry things out so misting is not a bad idea if the air is dry or a pebble tray with water to provide humidity. As Rainbow pointed out the light is best when it is just a few inches overhead and daylight flourescents work well. LED lights do not have the full spectrum of light unless you get special LED's. So while LED lights are very bright, they won't do a thing for the plant. If you put the plant in a sunlit room and the plant is at least 18 inches from a window with a sheer curtain, there should be enough light without being in direct sunlight. You will need to turn the plant if the light is only coming from one side. Most bonsai sold in malls do say to keep the plant out of direct sunlight because there isn't enough light in the shops. After 3 days of being indoors, the plant will need to be conditioned back to the outdoor light or it will burn. It doesn't mean the plant won't do well outdoors, it just means it needs to be retrained to the light.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Bonsai Dying? Don't know why

I didn't say before, your bonsai is not necessarily dying. As imafan noted ficus readily drops it leaves in response to conditions it doesn't like, like too little light. Since it easily drops leaves, it also readily grows them back once you get the conditions adjusted.
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lozzareeves
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Re: Bonsai Dying? Don't know why

Thank you for all your replies, it's really helpful.
I'll take it home and put it near a window as it's not really possible here at work, I'll report back to see if it's worked for future beginners.

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