African fire bush, may be dying.

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African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  D Mace on Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:12 pm

Hey guys, i'm new to this site and to the wonderful art of bonsai-ing? Anyways, I have an African fire bush It recently lost all its flowers and the leaves are starting to wilt and fall off. Its an indoor plant and I just changed its soil from normal potting soil (someone said that was bad) They told me to layer mulch at the bottom of the bush and then small rock and then very little soil. Is this correct? why would my plant be dying? I water it with a mild fertilizer once a week!

Thanks!

D Mace
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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  fiona on Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:14 pm

Googling African Firebush yields  Hamelia patens var. glabra as the most likely botanical name (although other species of Hamelia are also suggested less frequently) and it appears to be something you find in Florida a lot. BUT, it would be worth ascertaining exactly what plant you have if you haven't already done so.   If you had a pic you could upload it would be a help.


Did you mean that you keep this plant indoors all the time with your "it's an indoor plant comment"?   I don't live in your country/state and I don't know the actual plant but I'd be very surprised to learn that it can be kept indoors in anything other than a very cold winter.  I'll leave it to others who know the plant to confirm or negate that though. 




btw  was this you?  


http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130723052635AA1PCka

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  D Mace on Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:24 pm

Thank you for the information fiona! To start yes, I keep the plant indoors all the time. It's usually pretty warm here, but i thought the plant could be much more enjoyable inside. I guess that's wrong..?

Yes the yahoo question was me. As you can see, i'm a bit desperate!

Could you confirm the soil that i'm using, as safe and effective?

Thank you for your concern.

D Mace
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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  fiona on Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:31 pm

I know little of the Maryland climate but very few of the plants we use for bonsai thrive indoors anywhere in summer - not even the bulk of those sold (some would say mis-sold) as "indoor bonsai".   If the plant is H.patens, most of the references I just read say it thrives in full sun.  I rather suspect your problem is that it is lacking sunlight and the artificial climate of indoors is doing the rest of the damage.   But please note that is not a diagnosis; merely my own theory based on other bonsai and the effects of keeping them indoors. 

Anyone from the Maryland area able to comment here?  Or indeed anyone from Florida where this tree seems to grow?

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  D Mace on Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:36 pm

Here are some pictures if it helps anyone. I appreciate every response!



Am i even creating a bonsai the right way!? I'm the most beginner bonsai-er hah!



Now that I'm looking at it the giant river rock looks a bit tacky, HELP ME!Shocked

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:00 pm

Hamelia needs to be outdoors. It needs cold weather in the winter. I've never heard of one being used as a bonsai.

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  D Mace on Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:06 pm

I've moved it outdoors, I must have been mislead into being sold a bonsai that isn't a bonsai. One question is how do you get those thick detailed trunks and branches? Is this a matter of time or pruning in these small pots?


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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  fiona on Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:30 pm

Generally, to fatten a trunk you need to plant it in a very large container or the open ground if suitable.  If I may put it in simple terms, as the tree grows up, it also grows out - that is how the trunk "thickens".  To do all this, it needs a decent root run. By putting immature trees immediately into bonsai pots, you automatically restrict that root run. The tree may very well get taller and thicker but it will generally take a lot longer to do so.  In many cases, the upper portion of the tree is then cut off, leaving a trunk which is then proportionally thicker in relation to the branches off it.  If you browse through the pic of good bonsai on this forum, particularly the progression threads, you can see where the artist has done this and how they then "disguise" the chop and create a crown out of the top of what is essentially a living stump. 

It's all very clever stuff.  Very Happy

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  fiona on Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:37 pm

And it takes that one aspect of bonsai people tend to underestimate: time.

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:07 am

DM1120,

you may wish to try this instead. It can grow indoors, just needs very bright light or East or West exposure.
Look for a small plant. If you underwater it will let you know by wilting. I grew one of these for two years in my dormroom at a Window.
Soil mix must be freely draining.

http://bonsaibeginnings.blogspot.com/2009/11/nicodemia-indoor-oak.html

Now called - Buddleia indica
Best of growing.
Khaimraj

* P.s flowers though tiny have a great night time scent.


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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  D Mace on Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:00 am

Thank you all for the great answers! Couldn't ask for better responses!

D Mace
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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:41 pm

Dear  dm1120 and Khaimraj

This is definately not a Budddleja ....it is as Fiona said  Hamelia patens.  

Buddlejas are the Butterfly bushes, this is a Firecracker bush, from Mexico.... Why they call it African, only the American will know. hihihihihihihihihihihi  

Buddlejas wont survive indoors, but in saying that so wont Hamelia thrive indoors, but Khaimraj has done it,  and I believe him.

Dm1120, you must remember, Bonsai are trees.....Do you find trees indoors?   NO  Laughing Laughing 

Love and light
ps. can we call you something else besides nr1120......it feels like I'm and inmate at a national penitentiary!Laughing Laughing Laughing

Andre Beaurain
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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:37 pm



Hamelia patens is grown widely here (throughout the South) as disposable summer color and is a hummingbird favorite. It does well in hot, dry places in full sun - the more the better. Not exactly houseplant material... and I never considered it bonsai material either. Home Depot and Lowes always have gobs of them for sale in the summer here in the perennials/shrubs area.

R

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Firebush

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:24 pm

Hamelia patens is indeed sold as a bonsai subject. Yours is dying because it is indoors during the summer and is in unsuitable soil. Find the nearest bonsai nursery and get some decent bonsai soil. If you can't find any, get cactus soil. Never mind layers. Repot it into a larger pot. Put it outside GRADUALLY into full sun & leave it outdoors until night temperatures go into the 40s.
Iris

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Firebush

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:29 pm

PS. Yours is a common mistake of new bonsai growers. Of course we want to enjoy our trees indoors. The way to do that is to grow half a dozen or so bonsai and rotate them indoors for short periods. I always like to have a bonsai on the dinner table or for company. The next morning it goes back outside (or in the fluorescent plant room for tropicals in winter).
Iris

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  fiona on Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:30 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote:This is definately not a Budddleja ....
In fairness, Khaimraj was offering him buddleja as an alternative to what he has got and wasn't suggesting that his plant was a buddleja.

Andre Beaurain wrote:ps. can we call you something else besides nr1120......it feels like I'm and inmate at a national penitentiary!Laughing Laughing Laughing
Now that was funny. I actually did LOL.

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  D Mace on Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:03 pm

haha, sorry for the "inmate username"...I changed it just for you all lol!
Anyways, many thanks to everyone!

D Mace
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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  Andre Beaurain on Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:37 am

fiona wrote:
Andre Beaurain wrote:This is definately not a Budddleja ....
 In fairness, Khaimraj was offering him buddleja as an alternative to what he has got and wasn't suggesting that his plant was a buddleja.

Andre Beaurain wrote:ps. can we call you something else besides nr1120......it feels like I'm and inmate at a national penitentiary!Laughing Laughing Laughing
Now that was funny. I actually did LOL.



O god yes I see that now......dont worry I'm use to turning myself into an idiot....

Kaimraj to you I offer my humble apologies.. ( I think we need an emoticon of somebody praying)silent 

Love and light


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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:17 pm

Andre,

extends the amethyst ring on gloved hand to Andre, and speaks from above [ high above ] YOU are FORGIVEN MY son.
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing 

And I also forgive you for mispelling my name Laughing Laughing Laughing 

Later.
K-h-aimraj [ as Pope-raj jocolor ]

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Re: African fire bush, may be dying.

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