Privet information?

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Privet information?

Post  Bill U. on Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:16 am

Hi everyone! I am new to the forum and to the art of bonsai.

I am looking into getting a privet (Ligustrum) tree, but I have a couple of questions regarding their particular care. I have read numerous care guides online that all say that privet is a very hardy tree that is good for beginners.

These are some of the questions that I have (most of them being about incongruities from various care sheets on the web):
- Are these able to be grown indoors?
- What type of soil would these guys like? Some places say more inorganic than organic (60/40) and others have said that they love a nicely draining mostly organic-based soil? (I don't have a specific "bonsai soil" but rather a some african violet potting mix and some hydroton clay pellets that can be mixed to form a soil like that)
- The light requirements? Some say that they are able to go from full sun all the way to full shade- would it be able to grow in a sunny west windowsill that gets a few hours of direct sunlight a day? Or even having 12-14 hours under a grow lamp (full spectrum that gives over 30,000 lux) work? Something in-between?
- Is a dormancy (chill period) required with this tree?

My set up: I am currently in a dorm room in college, so I do not have access to an out-of-doors growing area. I have a west-facing window that gets over 1000 lux of light all day, and a few hours of direct sun in the afternoon. My normal room temps are around 68-75 degrees (depending on how the heating/cooling system decides to work that day). I have am successfully growing a miniature potted rose bush and a few different types of orchids (for those interested- 3 phalaenopsis and 1 phragemipedium besseae), so I am familiar with most basic horticulture techniques/needs.

I know that these are some pretty basic questions, but being inexperienced, I would like to know what will work for my set-up as I would love to pursue this hobby more, but if I need to wait until I have an outdoor grow area, so be it.

P.S. I have heard that ficus are able to be grown indoors- but I don't really care for the looks of them...
P.P.S. If anyone has any other suggestions for me that would work with what I have described above, I am open to suggestions!

Thanks!!! Very Happy

Bill U.
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Re: Privet information?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:55 am

Bill,

if you can grow a rose, you can grow a tree. I too am not a lover of ficus, so I would suggest other types of trees and shrubs.

In my dorm room I grew, the Indoor Oak [ was nicodemia, now buddelia [ spelling ?] and I still grow this shrub, because I like the shape of the leaves and the scent of the flowers. Also grown was a Malpighia punicifolia, and I have the children of the mother growing as well today.

If you pop over to Amazon, and put in the words, Indoor Bonsai, books by the Brooklyn Botannical Gardens will show up as will books by Paul Lesniewiz [ spelling ], you may get to your library and borrow a few, or buy from Amazon.

You need to know that tropicals will rest for a month or two around December, to February, it may be due to shorter days or cooler nights and days.
I am from the tropics and my trees are just re-starting to grow.
So see if you can not force them to grow if they are in need of a period of rest, just read a little deeper, the information is there.

Please note the Trees from China - Sageretia, Carmona [ Ehertia -Fukien tea ], Southern Elms, Privets and so on are Sub-Tropical and they will need to rest.

Try a Tamarindus indica, seeds are to be found on-line or in possibly Chinese and Indian stores, or Gmelina h. or for a challenge a Japanese black pine from seed.

As soil goes, the key fact is freely draining and must remain so for at least two years.
Read up as much as you can.
Later.
Khaimraj

* I am not on-line, just passing by, so don't expect a second response, the other guys will help out.

Khaimraj Seepersad
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Re: Privet information?

Post  Bill U. on Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:36 am

Khaimraj,

Thanks for the quick response! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one looking to grow in a dorm room, haha! Smile

I have been devouring everything that I can concerning bonsai and various techniques/cultivation notes and I will keep devouring as much as I can! I know that all plants (tropical, sub-tropical, etc) need some period of rest, but my biggest concern was if they needed a particular amount of time in below room-temp conditions, as is the case for japanese maples and many other trees of that type (even junipers from what I understand). I am fine if there is a period of time in which the tree would "take a break" from crazy growth.

I will look into those other types that you suggested, part of my problem is also finding a tree for cheap (tight college budget here). I was able to locate a privet for $10, which has been much cheaper than any chinese elm I have been able to locate (my other potential option for indoor growing).

Thanks for the tips!

Bill


Bill U.
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Re: Privet information?

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:29 pm

- Are these able to be grown indoors?

Not for long.

- What type of soil would these guys like? Some places say more inorganic than organic (60/40) and others have said that they love a nicely draining mostly organic-based soil? (I don't have a specific "bonsai soil" but rather a some african violet potting mix and some hydroton clay pellets that can be mixed to form a soil like that)

Generally, Privet don't care what they grow in, but there are several varieties of privet and we'd need to know which one you were considering to say definitively.

- The light requirements? Some say that they are able to go from full sun all the way to full shade-

They will be happiest in FULL sun. I doubt they'd do well for long in total shade.

would it be able to grow in a sunny west windowsill that gets a few hours of direct sunlight a day? Or even having 12-14 hours under a grow lamp (full spectrum that gives over 30,000 lux) work? Something in-between?

See my response on growing indoors.

- Is a dormancy (chill period) required with this tree?

Again, Privet aren't a "tree" (singular). There are several kinds. Most would like some cold/cool weather, I suspect.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
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Re: Privet information?

Post  Bill U. on Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:34 pm

Jim,

I understand all of your points. I am trying to get a balance here to see if I would be able to make it with an indoor bonsai (other than ficus or bamboo).

The particular privet that I was looking at is found through this link: http://www.arborday.org/Shopping/Trees/TreeDetail.cfm?id=232

In the winter, over break I would be able to take it home and put it in the garage for a bit to help harden it and then put it outside for a cold spell. I have also read that some indoor growers have been very successful with putting it in a refrigerator to achieve this same cold spell. What do you think?

Is it possible to do this with indoor bonsai- some species of privet or chinese elm? (that has been advertised as being an indoor or outdoor plant as well?) Or should I just put bonsai "on hold" until I have some more flexible growing conditions, a.k.a. having space outdoors to grow and chill them?

I really do appreciate all of this feedback!

Bill U.
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Re: Privet information?

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:22 pm

That privet is a hybrid of some kind. Note that some states don't allow it to be shipped to them. That likely means that it is considered to be an invasive species. Many privet are.

If you don't want to go with a tropical species, I suspect you will do better and end up with less frustration if you wait to start your bonsai adventure.

But there are some VERY nice figs. You don't have to go with the fat-leafed kinds. Have a look at the willow leaf fig.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
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