What types of trees can be grown indoors?

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What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  jordan84 on Mon May 17, 2010 12:25 am

I have a desire to grow a few plants in my home, so I am guessing I'd need a tropical type. I also have an unheated garden shed with several flurosent grow lights(48"). Please help me choose some plants to suit both evironments. I live in central IL, and have hot humid summers and brutally cold winters at times.
As I am just starting in the world of bonsai and really don't have a clue any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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What Type of Trees can be Grown indoors?

Post  bonsaisr on Mon May 17, 2010 2:10 am

jordan84 wrote:I have a desire to grow a few plants in my home, so I am guessing I'd need a tropical type. I also have an unheated garden shed with several fluorescent grow lights(48"). Please help me choose some plants to suit both evironments. I live in central IL, and have hot humid summers and brutally cold winters at times.
As I am just starting in the world of bonsai and really don't have a clue any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
You need a maximum-minimum thermometer in your garden shed. How cold does it get in winter?
There are many plants that can be grown as indoor bonsai. Start with a Ficus, like they sell at Walmart. But they all should go outdoors for the summer.
Iris

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  jordan84 on Mon May 17, 2010 3:29 am

Average winters get as cold as -10F but in the Garden shed it wouldn't be that extreme. I would think it would be freezing but not below zero. I also have a fluresent grow light in my basement that I could be plants in if needed. The temp in the basement wouldn't be below 50F. I'm also looking for a plant to leave on display inside my home year round. Is that possible? If it is what would be a couple types of trees that would be able to survive that?

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  JimLewis on Mon May 17, 2010 12:21 pm

Any tree that will do at all well indoors will not survive freezing temps in a shed or outside.

The possible exception would be the Chinese elm. It will do OK indoors (but will do a heckuva lot better outdoors).

Let's face it . . . indoors is not the natural habitat of ANY tree. (Or plant, with the possible exception of some kinds of lower order plants that may live in dim caves.)

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  fiona on Mon May 17, 2010 12:31 pm

JimLewis wrote:with the possible exception of some kinds of lower order plants that may live in dim caves.)
I have some students who fit that description, Jim.


I am not a US resident so am only guessing that you may live close by him, but can I suggest Mr Gaydosh might be your man for an answer. He is another Illinoisian (if that's the right term) and is a black belt in winter accommodation for bonsai. Here's is one of his posts about how he copes - CLICK HERE .

He also has experience of growing under fluorescent lights. I'm sure he'll chip in on this thread or you can use the PM facility to contact him. He's quite friendly.

But don't get him wet and don't feed him after midnight.

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Mon May 17, 2010 1:23 pm

Thanks for the plug fiona, I hope I'm capable of living up to your praise.

I guess, let me start by saying absolutely any tree can be grown indoors...

As long as you have the time, money, knowledge, and energy, to provide the tree with everything mother nature provides for it in your environment. Even then, that won't guarantee that your tree will last more than a season or two or that it might technically be "alive" but no where near "thriving".

Even the best indoor possibilities for bonsai will die if you miss the right mixture of available light, humidity, watering, soil mix and fertilizer. So I don't think the species is as important as doing your homework about the species you can choose from so that you can best provide for the special nees of your tree.

The majority of my temperate outdoor trees and my less cold tolerant outdoor trees did well in my coldframe. Even then, two or three of my favorites didn't make it because of the bitter cold snaps we had this winter.

All of my Ficus came to work with me and wintered quite niceless, although I am anxious to get them outside for the summer.

If you have specific a question, feel free to ask. If I don't have the answer, I'm sure one of the others in this forum will be able to help.

Jay

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What Type of Trees can be Grown indoors?

Post  bonsaisr on Mon May 17, 2010 1:43 pm

jordan84 wrote:Average winters get as cold as -10F but in the Garden shed it wouldn't be that extreme. I would think it would be freezing but not below zero.
The shed will be the right place to winter your hardy bonsai, but you will need a heater to keep temperatures above 25 F in midwinter. Forget fluorescent lights in that location. Dormant trees don't need lights.
jordan84 wrote: I also have a fluorescent grow light in my basement that I could put plants in if needed. The temp in the basement wouldn't be below 50F.
In addition to the light, you will need a timer, a couple of fans, a humidifier, and some sort of enclosure to keep the humidity in. Most tropical trees require a higher humidity than we have in our houses, except for Ficus & Portulacaria.
jordan84 wrote:I'm also looking for a plant to leave on display inside my home year round. Is that possible? If it is what would be a couple types of trees that would be able to survive that?
The only plant that could survive that treatment would be an Aspidistra or possibly one of the Dracaenas, no bonsai. What bonsai growers do, we have maybe 10 or 20 bonsai, with a few that are display worthy. We rotate them, putting one on display in the house for a day or two, then put it back under lights or outdoors, & another one in its place. I always like to have a bonsai (or an orchid) on the dinner table.
Iris

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Mon May 17, 2010 2:04 pm

Of the tropical trees that went to my basement, all were placed on a workbench approximately 3 feet off the floor. Full spectrum "daylight" (or cool) flourescent bulbs were suspended above the trees, with the light as close to the tops of the plants as I could get them. My furnace has a vent flue blowing in the direction of the trees, so I had to put a diverter in fornt of it to keep it from flowing directly on the trees and drying them out. In addition, my furnace has a humidifier built into the furnace. Additional drip/humidity trays were placed under the trees and I had to monitor the water in the trees closely to avoid them drying out.

I have since purchased an automatic watering system for the basement plant area to help regulate the watering and the humidity controls.

I haven't found any tropical plant that did well, constantly upstairs. Usually, if one tree is displaying particularly nice foliage or floral displays, I might bring it up for display purposes; but, I wouldn't recommend leaving them out for more than 3 to 5 days. I'm also considering walling off the grow area, just to keep better control on the tree environment.

Jay

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  jordan84 on Mon May 17, 2010 2:36 pm

Fantastic advice and greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much.

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue May 18, 2010 3:38 am

Where in Illinois are you located. We spread over 3 to 5 Hardiness zones, which will have a great effect on which trees you chose. I'm in Lincoln.

Jay

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  jordan12 on Tue May 18, 2010 12:36 pm

We're about 120 miles southwest of Chicago in a tiny town between Kankakee and Champaign.

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What Type of Trees can be Grown indoors?

Post  bonsaisr on Tue May 18, 2010 12:54 pm

Here are the Illinois bonsai clubs. Pick the closest one.

ILLINOIS - Glencoe
Midwest Bonsai Society meets at Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL, the first Monday, of each month at 7:30 PM. Contact: Midday Bonsai Society, P.O. Box 1373, Highland Park, Il 60036, or by e-mail at midwest.bonsai@yahoo.com. One of the largest clubs in the Midwest, MBS has been going strong in Chicago for over 30 years. Come see our two annual shows; our Spring show is the third weekend in May and our August show is the third weekend in August. Must see events! Website

ILLINOIS - Glen Ellyn
Prairie State Bonsai Society. Meets at College of DuPage, fourth Monday, 7:30 PM. The club hosts several programs, demonstrations, and lectures given by members, local masters, and visiting Masters from around the U.S. and Japan. We are one of the few clubs around that has our own Grow Plot where trees are raised and cared for by our members to be used for Master demonstrations, then raffled off to members. We also put on two annual shows. The first at the beginning of June and the other at the end of September or beginning of October. President: Mark Karczewski Contact: Prairie State Bosai Society, P.O. Box 2634, Glen Ellyn, IL. 60138-2634 Phone: (630) 257-7586 Website www.prairiestatebonsai.com

ILLINOIS - Oak Park
Near West Bonsai Society. NWBS meets on the third Monday (Feb.-Nov.) at Maze branch library, 845 S. Gunderson Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304. 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. Contact Roger D. Thompson Roger@mindspring.com (708) 383-5267. Website: Groups.msn.com/NearWestBonsaiSociety/

ILLINOIS - Peoria
Bonsai Club Heart of Illinois. Meets at Bio Center, Glen Oak Park, third Thursday, 7:30 PM. J. Horvath, Jr., 109 W. Almond Dr., Washington, IL 61571, (309) 745-5256.

ILLINOIS - Rock Island
Quad City Bonsai Club. Meets at Deere-Wyman Carriage House, Moline, last Thursday, except December, 7:30 PM. Website: www.qcbonsai.org - Email: mail@qcbonsai.org

ILLINOIS - Rockford
Rock River Bonsai Society. Meet at the Rock Valley Greenhouse & Garden Center, 785 N Bell School Road, Rockford, IL the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM. Contact: Robert Seele, (815) 631-3956
or by e-mail.

ILLINOIS - Sandwich
De La Ke Bonsai Society. Meets at Fox Valley Older Adult Center, 1406 W Suydam Rd., Sandwich, IL. The second Saturday, 10:00 AM. Year-round. Please contact: Kevin H. Johnson, 215 19th Ave Naplate, IL 61350 or E-mail: de_la_ke_bonsai_society@yahoo.com

ILLINOIS - Springfield
Springfield Bonsai Society. Meets at Washington Park Botanical Garden, 1740 W. Fayette, second
Monday of each Month at 7:00 pm. Contact: Gary Trammell by phone (219) 741-4849 or by e-mail to trammell.gary@uis.edu The Springfield Bonsai Society welcomes bonsai enthusiasts of all levels. We
conduct workshops for begining and advanced students and host annual shows for the community.
Website: http://www.bonsaisbs.com/
Iris

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue May 18, 2010 8:08 pm

jordan12 wrote:We're about 120 miles southwest of Chicago in a tiny town between Kankakee and Champaign.

Would that be in the vicinity of Thomasboro?

I'm not sure if Champaign has a Bonsai Club, but they should!

Jay

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Re: What types of trees can be grown indoors?

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue May 18, 2010 8:35 pm

Just talked with a store owner in Bloomington that sells bonsai and supplies. I've been getting material from him for two or three years. Unfortunately, he just moved out of the shop he was in, due to rent increases. So he is currently running out of his garage.

He mentioned some trees that would work ok as outside trees during the summer months and indoors during the winter. I'm sure some will disagree, but all I can do is pass it on and wait for the storm, Shocked

He listed them as Schefflera, some of the new Ficus (he specifically mentioned a "Midnight" Ficus), He said a Japanese Juniper would do OK as long as you didn't allow it to dry out, and lastly, he referenced Ebenopsis ebano 'Texas Ebony" (I looked this one up and found a good web site Texas Ebony)

There are, I'm sure others that might work, however, I would really emphasize the need to get it outside during the best months and do your homework as far as lighting, water, dormancy requirements and special needs.

Jay

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What Type of Trees can be Grown indoors?

Post  bonsaisr on Thu May 20, 2010 12:06 am

'Midnight' is a superior cultivar of Ficus benjamina, particularly developed for indoor conditions. However, remember that low light & low humidity will prevent the tight growth & ramification necessary for bonsai development.
Iris

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