Repotting Unknowns

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Repotting Unknowns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:10 pm

I've been reading in 4 bonsai books, that I have with me, trying to figure out the best scedule for repotting trees not of my zone. I have 3 Fukien Tea and a Scottish Heather.

Only the Fukien is listed and it only says repot every 2 to 3 years, not when. The Scottish Heather isn't listed

They all are currently in nursery pots. I'm looking at potting one of the Fukien Tea in a small bonsai pot to keep small and the other two in growing containers. The Heather I want to put in a growing pot.





Since all the Tea trees will all be going inside for the winter, would it be appropriate to repot them now?

Also, I might need Fionnghal or Kev to tell me if Scottish Heather is a hardy or tropical plant for zone 5, so I can figure out where to winter it and when to repot. (The Fukien Tea and the Heather spent last winter in my office.)

Close-up of Heather trunk and branches:



Photo of Heather for size comparrison:



Thanks,

Jay

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:19 pm

OK, for those who like to collect information, I left off putting the Scottish Heather question and popped into a Google search for Callunus vulgaris and found this. It helps with the wintering question. Since it is listed as a hardy I would guess repot in late fall or early Spring, so I would assume (yah, I know) it should be repotted then as well.

Jay


The following was found at: http://www.heathsandheathers.com/cart2/cart2_Page4016.htm

Calluna vulgaris is also know as Ling or "Scotch" heather. These are the true heathers, among the hardiest and most varied of all hardy heathers. Sizes range from small tufts, mounds and carpeters to shrubs about three feet tall. Flowers can be single or double. There are even a few bud bloomers who hang onto their flowers through winter and look as if they are still in bloom. There are many interesting foliage colors. Some turn spectacular shades of orange and red during the cold weather of winter. The varieties that show colored spring new growth are valuable for their several months of extremely showy foliage from January to June, and then they go on to bloom for an additional several months.



Callunas grow and flower best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. The colored foliage plants need bright winter sun to turn those intense shades of orange or red. Some experts recommend pruning the Callunas with spring colored tips in the fall so you get to enjoy the new growth without pruning it off.



Good drainage is very important. They are liable to get root diseases if growing in wet spots. Callunas are lime haters. Acid soil is ideal. Bushy and low growing varieties are best for colder, snowy areas where they are more protected by snow cover. We can recommend the hardiest ones for those of you in Zone 3-4 country. In the hot and humid South, it is best to stay away from lower varieties which can be susceptible to fungal diseases. All Callunas but the most compact miniatures need annual pruning or plants will become straggly and unsightly. Prune below the flowers on the stems after flowering in fall or in early spring in the colder climates. USDA Zone 4 (-30 degrees) to Zone 8 or 10 with good care. Heather is growing well in Zone 3 areas where they are buried in snow in winter. We may add quite a few varieties on the spring list that you don't see here. Ask if you don't see what you are looking for, we might have a few available.

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:59 pm

Yep the info you found is pretty much what I'd have said.

The heather is a hardy plant and sould be fine left outdoors for the winter. It survives up to 3000 feet above sea level around here and with wind and sub zero temperatures for months. It is often encased in ice for winter and then burned off by Grouse rearers in summer, so that it will come back with lots of fresh new growth.

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  JimLewis on Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:24 pm

There is a very simple answer for these "when-should-I-repot" questions:

It is always best to repot any temperate zone plant in the early spring.

You can repot in the fall, but:
1. Only if you are an accomplished plant keeper, and
2. There is an overriding reason to do so (other than "but, Mama, I want to."

Repotting is done at other times of the year in emergency situations (when the tree is in danger and you doubt its survival to a better time).

Tropical trees are a different kettle of fish and I'll leave comments on their repotting times to people who know more about than than I.

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Repotting Unknowns

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:23 pm

Fukien tea has a reputation of being picky. I acquired one last winter, so I have a nodding acquaintance. Do NOT repot in the fall. Even when you repot in the spring, it may defoliate & sulk for several weeks. Watch watering very closely. If you start to get yellow leaves, water less often. This species has a reputation of requiring high humidity & bright light. Forget putting it in your office for the winter. Last winter, once it recovered from repotting, it did very well in my plant room, under bright fluorescent lights with 70% daytime humidity. What you can do now is see if it is potted at the right level. Mine wasn't. Scratch around the trunk under the soil until you find the actual nebari. Then remove the surface soil down to that point. This is a very common problem with nursery plants & mallsai, & causes reverse taper.
Forget wiring except for brand-new branches. Older branches are very stiff & brittle. You have to style it mostly with the clip-and-run technique. It grows very slowly under our conditions.
I read somewhere that Fukien tea prefers alkaline conditions. Avoid Miracid. The shiny surface on the leaves is very attractive. Mine blooms but does not set berries. The botanical name is Ehretia microphylla.
Iris

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Repotting Unknowns

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:52 pm

PS One of the references to Fukien tea says to give it one hour of sun a day. Shocked Maybe in Brownsville, Texas. Up here it likes almost full sun all day, but you have to acclimate it very gradually, as it will sunburn. Keep it outdoors for now. Bring it in with the Ficus when the temperatures go below 45.
Iris

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:59 pm

Thanks, Iris. All three of mine are busting with berries. THe two I've had since last year did quite well outside right where the morning sun hit it until shortly after noon. The third one I bought (for $Cool yesterday. It had been stored in the nursery greenhouse and appears more leggy than the other two. I just finished opening up and pruning all three.The Fukien Tea likes to be watered like a Ficus, deep and full, well drained and wait until its almost dry.

Once I establish my "Winter Quarters" for my tropicals I will probably bring two of them home and leave one in the windowsill at work. Its very bright where it sits but does not get too hot.

Jay

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:05 pm

Here's another start that I was given. It's a Murraya paniculata (Orange Jasmine). Althoug small, I was excited to see it blossom. I have added additional bonsai mix to cover the delicate roots and encourage more. From what I have read of this, It is a delicate plant that prefers filtered sun and consistent temperatures and can be a challenge to keep alive. We shall see.

Jay


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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:09 pm

Question: With the Ficus and the Fukien it says bring in when the temperatures go below 50 at night (you referenced 45*F). Is it that you want it to hit 45, or you want to bring them in before they hit 45?

Many of my temperate trees are to be left out until the temps hit 25*F to make sure they go dormant, but tropicals don't gow fully dormant so I would gues the temps should be 45 or higher.

Jay

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  JimLewis on Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:58 pm

45 is probably a good time to bring them in. I tend to wait until the prediction is 40, but my Ficus are tougher, I think, than some of yours.

I'd think all of your temperate zone trees could stay outside for all but the coldest nights. They would, I think, be healthier in the long run.

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:35 pm

Your Ficus are tougher than mine? Sounds like fightin words! Laughing

My temperate trees stay outside all year, with the exception of newer trees that I get mid winter or that I am unsure of where they should be wintered. When the temperatures get to freezing or below, they go in a cold frame and when the temps are to go below 15*F I use a temperature controlled heater in the cold frame.

This winter the cold frame will be assembled on the East end of my garage patio. It will get some morning sun on one end, but will remain out of the wind.

I kept my Heather in all last year, but I didn't realize its about the hardiest tree I have. Being in a pot, I'm not sure if I should mulch it and leave out all year, or put it in the cold frame.

Jay

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:34 pm

Jay Gaydosh wrote:
This winter the cold frame will be assembled on the East end of my garage patio. It will get some morning sun on one end, but will remain out of the wind.
Jay
I wouldn't recommend it. It should not get any sun.
Iris
Jay Gaydosh wrote:
I kept my Heather in all last year, but I didn't realize it's about the hardiest tree I have. Being in a pot, I'm not sure if I should mulch it and leave out all year, or put it in the cold frame.
Jay

Probably in the cold frame. Michigan isn't Scotland.
Iris

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Re: Repotting Unknowns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:30 pm

bonsaisr wrote:
Jay Gaydosh wrote:
This winter the cold frame will be assembled on the East end of my garage patio. It will get some morning sun on one end, but will remain out of the wind.
Jay
I wouldn't recommend it. It should not get any sun.
Iris
Jay Gaydosh wrote:
I kept my Heather in all last year, but I didn't realize it's about the hardiest tree I have. Being in a pot, I'm not sure if I should mulch it and leave out all year, or put it in the cold frame.
Jay

Probably in the cold frame. Michigan isn't Scotland.
Iris

Sorry, Iris, I miscommunicated. The cold frame does get indirect light through the front, the top is blocked off with insulation panels and the side that will be facing the east is translucent. Really no light to speak of. It isn't pitch balck either. I was more concerned about the temperature going up as the morning sun impacted the side, but I can block that easy enough. Last yeat the entire coldframe sat in the sun.

Michigan isn't Illinois either. I'm not in Michigan, I'm approximately 2 hours South of Chicago. (Illinois isn't Scotland either!) I would be more likely to put it in the coldframe than take a chance on outside.

Jay

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