NitaM39
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Old bonsai newbie


I'm sure the subject makes no sense, but I tried to grow bonsai at least 10 or more years ago, but once we went on the road (RVing), decided lugging bonsai pots around was a little much, so the plants I still had, I put into the ground (juniper and Hanoki cypress). Of course, I managed to kill many along the way. I still have all the pots and once we settle down somewhere, I plan on filling them all again.

So after not having any bonsai for all these years, on April 7, 2008, I succumbed. Went with friends to Epcot in Orlando and found a cute little (pre) bonsai - a Grewia Caffra (Lavender Star Flower) and brought it home. Does anybody know anything about these guys? I did some searching and found it's in the same family as Basswood trees (tiliaceae). I've had it home now for a little over a week. Since I live in Ocala, FL for the winter, the vendor said I could leave it outside. However, I am keeping it on a south facing (but no direct sun) window. I've had it a little over a week. It had several buds and one blossom open when I got it. And since then, several more buds have opened. I did not water it for several days because it appeared quite wet. Now it is dropping leaves, they turn just slightly yellowish and fall off. A couple of the buds have blasted. I then watered it thoroughly untill water drained out the bottom. Anyone have any suggestions on care? Does it need to go outside? Can it take these (all of a sudden) cold temps at night?

Thanks for allowing me to join your forum. I am just so fascinated with bonsai and am hoping to be able to keep some growing. We still do RVing, but am hoping that I can manage to take along at least one bonsai - along with 9 orchids. Why do I do this to myself!! Guess I'm a masochist at heart.

Nita M - now in Ocala, soon to be in northern Illinois for the summer
Nita M

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NitaM39,

Hello and welcome. I too have come to bonsai again after several abortive attempts when I was younger. I can't help much with this particular species. I would say that if the vendor suggested you keep it outside I would tend to follow their advice. If you feel it must come in for the night OK, but back out in the morning.

Can you post a picture of the tree? Perhaps someone else has some experience with them.

If you read the sticky threads at the top of the forum there is some basic information, you may not need it but there are also some good links scattered throughout.

Norm

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I have one training in a semi-cascade. It's in a south facing greenhouse window also open on the sides to the west and east, as well as on the top. I haven't had it flower (yet), but I'm keeping it nipped pretty close. I have noticed that if it is not kept evenly moist that it will start to droop. Since this window also stays fairly cool in the winter, and it was growing well in the mid to high 60s where other tropicals were more or less slowed, I'm guessing they don't like a whole lot of heat, and definitely not direct sun. All south facing windows aren't the same. I'm in NY, and our home is well surrounded by large, old-growth trees that partially shade the window. On mine, there's a lot of back-budding, which I'm encouraging as best I can to "fill in" the foliage where there are branches. I'm not sure if that back budding is a happy accident, something typical of the species that I do not know about, or if what I am doing with all of the nipping is actually encouraging it. At first, I was not watering enough and the older, larger leaves were getting a bit dry at the edges, browning and curling, though, not yellowing and dropping. I water twice per week (keep in mind it's in a taller pot, being semi-cascade) and mist twice daily. Every other week I use Superthrive (1-3 drops in the 1 liter mister) and 1-2 times per month I use a 10-9-7 fertilizer at half the recommended dosage.

Kenshin14435
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I bought from epcot too.

I did the same thing.
I went to epcot during spring-break and bought myself one in Japan(in epcot)
I don't know if you can buy them in china or not.
I think if I'm not mistaken, that you bought it from one of the vendors in the one of the stands.
There right to the left as you enter world showcase.
Personally i didnt like the ones in those stands at the time but i was there a week before you.
I thought it was a good purchase for an 'ol bonsai noob.
Now me....well....im a noob all by itself
I bought a japanese juniper and its doing well....only if i had more info on how to prune it...
Anyway, i just wrote this cuz i was bored and we had something in common :D
~ Ken ~

NitaM39
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Old Bonsai newbie

I'm not sure how to post a separate reply to each of you who posted to me - Kenshin, kdodds, Gnome - Anyhoo, thanks for your replies. Loved yours Kenshin - you were bored LOL. I saw the ones in Japan, decided too expensive. Didn't find any in China. And yes, this was probably the same vendor you saw - he had just little bitty ones - I just happened to like the flowers on this one.

kdodds - what do you mean by "back-budding?" Sounds as if you're doing a bit of pruning? Hadn't planned on doing any pruning yet. Want to see if it survives my (what will probably be) haphazard care. I'll just try to keep it moist. Is misting it every day an absolute necessity?

Gnome - when I figure out how to post a picture, I will.

Nita
Nita M

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NitaM39,

To quote and reply simply "copy and paste" the text you wish to cite into your reply. Then highlight the text and click the quote button, like this.
I'm not sure how to post a separate reply to each of you who posted to me
You can then reply to that text.


Norm

kdodds
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Re: Old Bonsai newbie

NitaM39 wrote:kdodds - what do you mean by "back-budding?" Sounds as if you're doing a bit of pruning? Hadn't planned on doing any pruning yet. Want to see if it survives my (what will probably be) haphazard care. I'll just try to keep it moist. Is misting it every day an absolute necessity?
Some plants bud new growth almost exclusively from the ends of old growth. Some will bud back along any area of the old growth, no matter how old. Grewia seems more apt to do this even than Ficus. This is a good thing since it allows for easier shaping (and more mistakes) and pruning. It's more forgiving. Although, admittedly, it can be a little disconcerting when the buds appear on the front of the trunk. ;)

On the misting, I don't know that it's absolutely necessary, or whether some individuals will adapt to differing conditions. I can say that I mist twice daily and that I do this because when I got the plants (many different species) months ago, they were already showing signs of a needed rise in humidity/moisture after only a week (bearing in mind I was still watering and this was December/January). So, I started misting daily, particularly the Grewia, which seems to like even more misting than the rest. As growing season (spring) approached, the demand became greater and I'm misting twice daily, about 10 squirts for small plants, 15-20 for larger plants like the Grewia. If mine were not cascaded, it would probably stand about 12" high. And yes, I'm pruning quite a bit. Not a lot all at once, mind you, but bits here and there, maybe once or twice per week, removing larger leaves, crossing growth, that kind of thing.

NitaM39
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Re: Old Bonsai newbie

OK. am trying to quote - hope it works............


kdodds wrote: And yes, I'm pruning quite a bit. Not a lot all at once, mind you, but bits here and there, maybe once or twice per week, removing larger leaves, crossing growth, that kind of thing.
I've got some crossing growth - came that way - maybe I'll get brave and clip it off. And perhaps will try some misting. I am assuming that you're misting with just plain water and not a weak solution of fertilizer. Wouldn't you know, I sold all my bonsai tools to a fellow back home. DUH I kept my bonsai books tho. I'm also trying to get back into orchid growing and cannot find those books anywhere. Drats.

Interesting that you have buds on the TRUNK?? My tree is so tiny, that I think it's great it has buds/flowers on the branches.

OK, now I have to figure out how to post pictures. Think I saw directions somewhere.

Thanks for your info.
Nita M

NitaM39
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Gnome wrote:NitaM39,

To quote and reply simply "copy and paste" the text you wish to cite into your reply. Then highlight the text and click the quote button, like this.



Norm
Hmmmm, don't think I did it quite like you said, but I just hit the quote button and your whole message appeared and then I highlighted the part I didn't want to copy (quote) and deleted that. Whatever, it worked.

Thanks Norm.
Nita M

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NitaM39,
Hmmmm, don't think I did it quite like you said, but I just hit the quote button and your whole message appeared and then I highlighted the part I didn't want to copy (quote) and deleted that. Whatever, it worked.
Either way is cool, I often make multiple quotes and got used to doing it manually.

To post pictures you need to use a third party hosting service and link the picture back here. Look here for instructions for two different hosting services.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724

Norm

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Re: Old Bonsai newbie

NitaM39 wrote:I've got some crossing growth - came that way - maybe I'll get brave and clip it off.
I hear you. A lot of the mas market "bonsai" are nothing more than clipped shrubs in a pot. I've a Ficus that was like this, and let to go a little bit too long. So long, in fact, that the only real recourse was to cut back almost all of the tree. Crossing branches, entangled branches, whirling branches, etc. It's never going to win any prizes, that's for sure, but I like where the tree is going now. My advice, you have time to wait, but I'd definitely commit to picking branches that need to go before the end of the growing season. Once they start crossing and overgrowing, and growing out, you're going to start losing your options, and some parts of the tree may start to die back from shading, lack of circulation, whatever. It's better not to extend beyond one growing season, IMO, or else you wind up with something like my Ficus.
NitaM39 wrote:And perhaps will try some misting. I am assuming that you're misting with just plain water and not a weak solution of fertilizer.
Yes, absolutely, just plain water. In fact, I'm thinking of hauling RO water up from the fish tank vats in the basement because of the calcium accumulations. But, if the tree is growing well for you, no need to change anything. Don't fix what ain't broke, IOW.
NitaM39 wrote:Wouldn't you know, I sold all my bonsai tools to a fellow back home. DUH I kept my bonsai books tho. I'm also trying to get back into orchid growing and cannot find those books anywhere. Drats.
Have you tried Amazon and eBay?
NitaM39 wrote:Interesting that you have buds on the TRUNK?? My tree is so tiny, that I think it's great it has buds/flowers on the branches.
Yup. Watch Grewia carefully. Buds can, quite literally, develop anywhere. I tend to see this as a plus rather than a minus. It means that if you cut something, and are sorry you did, you might get lucky and see som growth nearby that can replace it. ;)

NitaM39
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Re: Old Bonsai newbie

I hear you. A lot of the mas market "bonsai" are nothing more than clipped shrubs in a pot. .......... My advice, you have time to wait, but I'd definitely commit to picking branches that need to go before the end of the growing season.

Yes, absolutely, just plain water. In fact, I'm thinking of hauling RO water up from the fish tank vats in the basement because of the calcium accumulations. But, if the tree is growing well for you, no need to change anything. Don't fix what ain't broke, IOW.
NitaM39 wrote:Wouldn't you know, I sold all my bonsai tools to a fellow back home. DUH I kept my bonsai books tho. I'm also trying to get back into orchid growing and cannot find those books anywhere. Drats.
Have you tried Amazon and eBay? Ohhhh, Yes, indeed. Just got 3 orchid books in the mail yesterday from Amazon - ordered enough so I didn't have to pay S&H.


Yup. Watch Grewia carefully. Buds can, quite literally, develop anywhere. I tend to see this as a plus rather than a minus. It means that if you cut something, and are sorry you did, you might get lucky and see som growth nearby that can replace it. ;)

Oh, buds on the trunk sounds wonderful. I'll take anything I can get.

My little tree seems to be happier now. I'm thinking it was the shock of being transported and acclimating to a different home that it started dropping its leaves and buds. I just set it outside under our south roof overhang (and won't get direct sun). We'll see how it likes it out there. Weather is going to turn very warm in the next few days and stay that way, so am not afraid to leave it outside.

When I read the directions Norm sent, I'll try to send some pictures of my little baby - both before leaves and buds started falling off and after.

Thanks for all your help. It's much appreciated.
Nita M

NitaM39
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Gnome wrote:

To post pictures you need to use a third party hosting service and link the picture back here. Look here for instructions for two different hosting services.


Norm
Norm, I have pix in WebShots - can I somehow post a link to my albums there?
Nita M

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Nita,
Norm, I have pix in WebShots - can I somehow post a link to my albums there?
I don't use that service so I can't say for certain. Is there an option to get a code for forums or E-mail? If so copy it and come back here and paste it into your next reply. You can use the preview function to ascertain if it is working as you expect.

Norm

Kenshin14435
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LOL

LOL... yeah, i was pretty bored at that time.
I decide not to go with a flowering and/or broad leaved bonsai because (a)i think the spruce was a good choice for a noob(especially for a 14 yr old)
and (b) i didnt much like the flowering ones they had(*sigh*......if only they had had a red japanese maple) and as i said, im only 14 so with the limited time I have at home(school, girls, sports, working-out, etc.) so i thought that a tree that didnt have to be watered constantly and needed to be cared for constantly was a good choice.
The only regret I have from buying it from disney is that(A) the people in japan hardly spoke english and when i asked them for advice they just showed me the books they had about bonsai(this was very frustrating!)
and (B) i think i shouldve consaulted a bonsai grower near me and looked at their selection of bonsai(the had a red japanese maple come into stock right after i got back home!!!!....lets just i wasnt very happy.
anyway....glad to be entertaining!
thnx




K5
~ Ken ~

NitaM39
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You're only 14!!! How wonderful that you're interested in plants, let alone bonsai. You're probably right, an evergreen is probably a better choice. But I'm old and retired, so figured I would have the time to fiddle with my flowering baby. Yes, the people in the Japan pavilion did not speak English very well. I asked what looked like a supervisor where there was more bonsai and I had a terrible time figuring out what he was saying. He kept saying there was a display out by the pond (not for sale). The problem was, it took me a while to understand his pronunciation of display. Anyway, once I got that figured out, I wandered over to China, found nothing - even asked and all they had were ones make from glass.

That's when I wound up at the vendor on the other side of the pond. I'd love a Japanese maple too. Maybe some day. Actually, I'd love a full sized Japanese maple in my yard.

Good luck with your spruce tree. :lol:
Nita M

Kenshin14435
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lol

Yeah, im only 14
Ive had ALOT of intrest in the japanese cluture for a long time.
It all started when i started reading manga.
Anyway, Ive wanted to buy a bonsai for a long time but never had the time or the money.
But at the time i was only 13 and my birthday was literally a couple weeks away so my mom bought me one(my parents failed to give me my allowance before we left).
I had wanted a large 90 dollar one but my said it was too big to take back home and she refused to pay for something that expensive. so she bought me a 30 dollar small one.
She threatened that if i accidentaly killed the thing she would have my head, but that hasnt happened(yet)
Today i finally had enough time to prune and thin out the foliage and pinch out the new buds(i was really nervous and i hope i didnt over-do it)
But, if it does die I'll just go to a local bonsai nersery and hope and pray to find a maple(hopefully a red japanese maple)
BUt right now im just happy with what i have(for the mean-time anyway >.<)


K5
~ Ken ~

NitaM39
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Pictures of my Grewia caffra

Well, am going to TRY to post pix of my grewia or the URL. Now that I've taken a good look at it, I think it's a mess - poorly pruned. It's truly a pre-bonsai - or as someone else said on another bonsai forum I found, it's a mallsai. But at least the rocks are NOT glued down on mine as they are when you get them from Wally World, etc. However, it's a most unusual pot I think - have never seen one like it - see image #1322. That blue spot on the left is a part of the pot - has a little hole in the top and I stuck a toothpick in it. It's as deep as the pot and appears to be empty. There are no holes in the bottom of the pot underneath it. Is it a little "podium" to put a mud man on???
Anyway, here is the url, hope it works.

[url]https://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/563179157AMnvPI?vhost=home-and-garden[/url]
Nita M

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I have no idea what the raised area is for, but I suspect your correct, or close enough to correct, probably a place where something was or is meant to be secured. My initial impression of this tree is that there is not nearly as much new growth as I would expect to see in a healthy, growing tree.

Here are some of mine:

Front
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y201/KDodds/IMG_0613.jpg[/img]
The new growth at the bottom of the cascade will be straightened with wire once it's woody. Note the compact growth. This is acheived mostly by tight pruning. I think I'm probably more aggressive than most with new trees, but still, even a tree in training, IMO, should not be leggy.

Top
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y201/KDodds/IMG_0614.jpg[/img]
Note the trianglular outline beginning to form. The largish cut in the center was an unwanted largish branch removed a few months ago. It was a fairly large cut and is healing nicely.

Back
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y201/KDodds/IMG_0615.jpg[/img]
From this angle you can kind of see where the left side as viewed from the back is being kept short, but there, to balance the overall picture, at least I hope that's the effect. ;)

Right (as viewed from front)
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y201/KDodds/IMG_0616.jpg[/img]
Here you can see how the front and the back of the tree balance, as well as some exposed root. I did not have much choice on the roots as the tree was received planted very deeply. If the exposed roots do not thicken, I will likely remove them.

Left (as viewed from front)
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y201/KDodds/IMG_0617.jpg[/img]
In this image (I hope) you can see the "dancing" quality a little better, the "movement", that is potential in this tree and is, I think, more common to Chinese style than to the somewhat more rigid Japanese styles. Anyway, you'll also note the large cut in the forground. This was the initial leader, but was removed because of its awkward growth, which moved up and back, that would have not been possible to correct into a semi-cascade design.

Bottom
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y201/KDodds/IMG_0618.jpg[/img]
This is an important one as you can see the branch structure most clearly from here. Notice the ABSENCE of cuts. Imagine standing the tree up. One side would be bare. As a specimen growing out, it's my belief that the grower intended this as the front from the upright position I received it in. This would not have made a very pleasant looking upright, slanting, or informal upright, or even literati style. So, in some sense, the tree chooses its shape, and we just help it along, help it acheive its potential. You can also see, low on the trunk, what I mean by back budding occurring anywhere on the tree.

Hope these images help. ;)

NitaM39
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What a wonderful looking little tree. Oh, that I could be that aggressive and prune mine. Maybe I'll see if I can find a bonsai club back home in Illinois this summer and I can get some constructive criticism and suggestions as to what to cut off. Believe it or not, there are some new leaf shoots I noticed today. As I said earlier, I have no bonsai tools - will have to rectify that this summer. When I do get the nerve to prune, do I put something on the wound?

Thanks for all your pictures.

P.S. How do you get the actual pictures to post in the forum?
Nita M

kdodds
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Thanks for the compliment.

You can always start pruning back just a little, just 2 or 3 leaf pairs back on longer branches. As far as bonsai "tools" go, I use mostly the scissors on my Swiss Army knife and my nails. ;)

Current;y, I'm not putting anything on the wounds, as big as they are in relation to the tree, they're not that big and the wood is still young.

The pictures I posted are actually hosted on PhotoBucket and only linked to from here using the img button. PhotoBucket actually provides the text that you can cut and paste, too.

NitaM39
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kdodds wrote:Thanks for the compliment.

You can always start pruning back just a little, just 2 or 3 leaf pairs back on longer branches.

The big problem is, I don't even know where to start cutting.

As far as bonsai "tools" go, I use mostly the scissors on my Swiss Army knife and my nails. ;)

Ha, your Swiss Army knife and your nails. Well, I've got one of those and I've got some pretty wicked toenail clippers, so I'msure they would work.

Current;y, I'm not putting anything on the wounds, as big as they are in relation to the tree, they're not that big and the wood is still young.

OK, then I won't worry about putting anything on mine.

The pictures I posted are actually hosted on PhotoBucket and only linked to from here using the img button. PhotoBucket actually provides the text that you can cut and paste, too.
Well, I don't have Photobucket, but since you were able to see my pix using my Webshots link, guess that should work OK.

Well, darn, as you can see, I didn't do the "quote" thing right. So my replies are included with your quote. Well, all I can say is that I'm an old bird and the brain and fingers don't work well together. :lol:
Nita M

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Nita,

You can link to your images too. Click on the one you would like to post. To the right click on "Link to it" Then choose a linking code and copy/paste it here.

This one is "Post in a forum" It gets a thumbnail.
[url=https://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2512067210055516584osNStt][img]https://thumb4.webshots.net/t/52/652/0/67/21/2512067210055516584osNStt_th.jpg[/img][/url]

Norm

NitaM39
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Gnome wrote:Nita,

You can link to your images too. Click on the one you would like to post. To the right click on "Link to it" Then choose a linking code and copy/paste it here.

This one is "Post in a forum" It gets a thumbnail.
[url=https://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2512067210055516584osNStt][img]https://thumb4.webshots.net/t/52/652/0/67/21/2512067210055516584osNStt_th.jpg[/img][/url]

Norm
Hmmmm, ok, let me try. I'm so glad you're so willing to help old birds!! :D

[url=https://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2916355360055516584hsvgyz][img]https://thumb4.webshots.net/t/69/469/3/55/36/2916355360055516584hsvgyz_th.jpg[/img][/url]


HEY, whaddya know - it worked!!! I'm going to break my arm patting myself on the back. I guess old do- er, old birds CAN learn new tricks.

Now all I have to do is take better pictures, i.e., closer up.

Thanks Norm.
Nita M

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