lsuzanne
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Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:08 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Keeping a bonsai alive in the Phoenix AZ area... help??

Hello,
This is my first post and I'm hoping I have better luck here than I have in other forums in the past; There are soooo many people who need advice and help and I know we can't all get the answers we're looking for, but I'm gonna give it a shot!

I'm totally new to bonsai, but my son gave me one for Mothers' Day. I live in Phoenix, and the bonsai (camellia) came from a grower in San Diego; I have no contact information for them, so I can't get any help there.

They call it an outside bonsai on the tag. The books I've read seem to think that in this climate, a camellia would do better inside; however, I have also read conflicting information. I've also been told that I need to fertilize it, high nitrogen, but I read that it's not necessarily true.

If anyone has anything to suggest, or any experience with this in this desert climate, I would surely be very grateful!

Thank you!
Lsuzanne

cynthia_h
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Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

I know absolutely nothing about keeping bonsai alive; in fact, I would probably NOT be able to keep one alive, with the dogs, cats, and generally cool temps at my house.

BUT...I can do good searches on the Internet.

Try www.phoenixbonsai.com and I'm sure you'll get lots of location-specific advice.

Good luck!

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

lsuzanne
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Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:08 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Bonsai

Cynthia,
Thank you! I appreciate your help. That website was actually the first one I explored this evening, and ~ being NOT a real 'techie' I couldn't make heads nor tails of it! I mean ~ I couldn't find anything to help with what I need ~ specifics for my area and for camellias. I clicked on several links, and got nowhere....

It was really nice of you to reply! I don't want to put the 'work' off on you, but if you happen to know where I should go when I go to that website... lol... :?
Thanks again!

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

lsuzanne,

Hello and welcome to the site. I'm afraid that I will not be of much help to you either as I don't grow that species and my climate is very different. A location on the east side of a building can help avoid the harsh afternoon sun.

We do have a member who grows in a harsh environment. Perhaps you could PM him and direct his attention to this thread.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=6547

Here are some links to useful pages of the site mentioned above.
[url]https://www.phoenixbonsai.com/PFAQ.html[/url]
[url]https://www.phoenixbonsai.com/SiteMap.html[/url]

And a species guide. Explore the rest of that site as well, lots of good information there.
[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Camellia.html[/url]


Norm

alisios
Senior Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:25 am
Location: Sedona, Arizona

lsuzanne,

Welcome to the site - I'm not exactly in Phoenix. I am a little north of you and I have to take precautions to protect bonsai in this harsher environment than most. If your bonsai came from a grower in San Diego, chances are that the soil is appropriate for here and you won't have to change it for a little while. San Diego is actually a coastal desert with similar (or less) rainfall amounts.

I haven't tried to grow a camelia but the last link Gnome has provided has some good general info. It seems very similar to an Azalea, IMO.

If they are saying partial shade, then give it total shade in Phoenix for the summer - perhaps under a porch - but keep it away from the outside walls of a house that may get hot in the coming months - don't let its' pot (and roots) get too hot.. good article about this:

https://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATheat_and_high_temperature_damage.htm

I wouldn't worry about a repotting now - If it has flowers currently, don't be worried if they dry out very soon.

I find this chart (from Phoenix Bonsai) very helpful:

[img]https://www.robertcory.com/webdata/Chart1.jpg[/img]

Pay particular attention to the last on the list... "Summer protection" - I think we have a full gray box now!

"When is it time to water my outdoor bonsai here in Phoenix?"
"It's always time to water your outdoor bonsai here in Phoenix!"

Don't let it dry out - give it a lot of shade or filtered light - half (or less) strength fertilizer once a week - pinch off those flowers when done - regular misting, don't let it freeze (possible - but not probable!)

If you have water from an RO system in your house - use this - it tends to be more on the acidic side - your camelia will live this... if not, add a dinky dash of white vinegar to the water once a month...

Also check out "Baker Nursery" in Phoenix - they have bonsai and help answer some questions too...

When you're ready to repot, I'll give you the secret desert soil recipe! :wink: just kidding - I've been using 2 parts mulch, 1 part turface, 1 part lava rock, 1 part pine bark, - all sifted to remove fine (and large)particles, a handful of sand and when all potted, I layer pine bark or mulch on top... I also use thicker (deeper) pots. Some here sing the praises of Peat Moss in the mix (with regular potting soil), but I have taken a leap of faith by avoiding using it at all - the moment of truth will be a few months or so when most of the hot weather is over... I have to say I have yet to go a summer with this mix, but so far no trees have perished... :) and I'm not watering more than normal...

Good luck with your new bonsai - check on it everyday - you'll see what needs to happen to care for it... Hope this helps and I'm sure there's something I've missed... keep reading the Phoenix Bonsai info.

If you're going to keep this thing indoors, well, forget everything I've said! :)
Last edited by alisios on Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

lsuzanne
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Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:08 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

thanks for the help for a newbie! : )

I do appreciate the responses, thank you so much! I'll check out all the possibilities you have all mentioned. I'll keep in touch, too, because I'm sure there will be more questions down the road... :wink:

alisios
Senior Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:25 am
Location: Sedona, Arizona

If you get a chance, post a picture of this plant - I may want to get one! :)

Also, I've been watering in the morning so that the water helps keep the roots cooler during the day

lsuzanne
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:08 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

photo of MY bonsai??

If it is I to whom you wrote that, I'd be glad to post a photo. If i can figure out how... LOL Here I go!

uh... no.... i can't figure out how to do it. Help??? :roll:

alisios
Senior Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:25 am
Location: Sedona, Arizona

:)

here is a link describing the process:

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

good luck..

lsuzanne
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:08 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

I hope I did this right.... : )

IMG]https://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f138/LSuzanne/bonsai.jpg[/IMG]

alisios
Senior Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:25 am
Location: Sedona, Arizona

close! missing a "[" in the beginning...


[img]https://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f138/LSuzanne/bonsai.jpg[/img]

alisios
Senior Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:25 am
Location: Sedona, Arizona

I know nothing of this species and I'm no expert, but it looks very "Ficus" like...

Anyway, it looks very healthy.

Do the leaves look serrated like this pic?

[img]https://www.camelliasrus.com.au/images/content/sasanquas/large/Bonsai-Baby.jpg[/img]

constantstaticx3
Green Thumb
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:24 am
Location: Haddonfield, NJ

I'm almost 100% sure this is a brush Cherry.

Tom

lsuzanne
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:08 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Camellia, I'm pretty sure

Hmm, so I guess this means you fixed it and got the photo to work, huh? Groovy; thanks! :D

YES the leaves are serrated. It didn't even occur to me that the photo was not helpful because it's not close-up. I'll do a better one! Oh, and by the way, no blossoms so far; I've only had it since Mothers' Day, and ... they only bloom at a certain time of the year, right?

OK, check out this photo, you guys, and see what you think. If it's a bush cherry, shame on the grower for mislabeling it! That shouldn't happen, should it?? In the first place, my son ordered AZALEA ~ and this is what I got. They are similar, maybe, but not the same plant, right??
[img]https://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f138/LSuzanne/P5310005.jpg[/img]
Well, there's the photo, if it worked... and now that I look at it, you really can't see anything helpful, can you?

Kenshin14435
Senior Member
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:33 pm
Location: Northern VA USDA Zone 7A

Re: Camellia, I'm pretty sure

lsuzanne wrote:Groovy
!!!!!???????
WOW
I havn't heard groovy from anybody ina long time. I'm 14 so this come natural. *Flashback*=Back in '98 my mom said groovy. But thats the last time I remember.
Anyway, Yeah looks like a ficus to me. But the only "leafy" trees I have are Japanese Maples. Lots of seeds, 2 really small saplings, and 2 large saplings. Not to mention I have like 6 junipers.
Good Luck and ummmmm.......GROOVY.....!?!?
:mrgreen:

K5
~ Ken ~

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