Out to In

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Out to In

Post  Mr Majik on Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Greetings

since stating my Bonsai hobby i have tryd to find everything i can on the subject. i have come across some wonderful information and learned a great deal about things i never gave a second thought to. i also find myself stairing at trees as we drive here and there thinking Hummm, that'll look good in Seki-joju.

which brings me to a point, one i may regret later...

could any one point me in the direction of information on training an Outdoor tree to be indoor. i realise this may take a few generations to fully achive an "Evolution" but there is a beautiful tree near me and as well as creating an outdoor Bonsai of the wonder next year, i'd like to start creating in Indoor hommage to it's greatness.

Any information would be appreciated

Thanks

Mr Majik

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Out to In

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:57 pm

Hello Mr Majic. I'm afraid the answer is a definite NO. Most trees sold as indoor trees, struggle to survive and so an outdoor tree will never last long at all.

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Re: Out to In

Post  Michael T on Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:52 pm

I'll pick a little with Will's comment. "Outdoor tree" typically implies a tree requiring a cold dormancy period. So "outdoor trees" must spend some period of time outdoors (cold garages work) during cold weather months to achieve a true dormancy period of say 2 to 4 months. Without it, they die (at least over time they will). "Indoor trees" is really just another word for tropical species who don't require an appreciable cold dormancy period. They still require one, it's just shorter and not at freezing temperatures. And they can't survive (typically) at temps below say 32 degrees. Some won't thrive at temps higher than that. Fact is though, trees are basically trees. No such thing as "indoor" and "outdoor."

That said, I've kept outdoor species indoors for much of the year. From mid January through Late September early October, including chinese elms, maples, and white and black pines. And I've done it in a house and in a twenty-fifth floor high rise office as well.

I , however, have the facilities to do that. I have high pressure light systems in my house and office. I have watering trays in both places that allow me to water in the house or office without moving the plants. I have a heated sunroom at home and humidifiers.

All of which basically means I try to replicate an outdoor environment indoors. I've never truly gotten there, but far enough that my trees don't really appear to suffer. As a matter of fact, I can get my "outdoor" trees to push vigorous new growth while growing indoors.

I guess I'd say you can grow "outdoor trees" indoors most of the time, but they still need a cold period and the set ups to do it is a bit to manage and frankly a little expensive.

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Re: Out to In

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:04 pm

I'm afraid evolution is measured in eons, not years.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, there is no such thing as an "indoor" tree. There are trees that we keep indoors, and the few that survive are either warm temperate, Mediterranean. or tropical trees -- with survival chances increasing as you move through the list.

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Re: Out to In

Post  amazonida on Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:22 pm

i agree. why don't you create it outdoors? where do you live?

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Re: Out to In

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:38 pm

Michael T wrote:I'll pick a little with Will's comment. "Outdoor tree" typically implies a tree requiring a cold dormancy period. So "outdoor trees" must spend some period of time outdoors (cold garages work) during cold weather months to achieve a true dormancy period of say 2 to 4 months. Without it, they die (at least over time they will). "Indoor trees" is really just another word for tropical species who don't require an appreciable cold dormancy period. They still require one, it's just shorter and not at freezing temperatures. And they can't survive (typically) at temps below say 32 degrees. Some won't thrive at temps higher than that. Fact is though, trees are basically trees. No such thing as "indoor" and "outdoor."

That said, I've kept outdoor species indoors for much of the year. From mid January through Late September early October, including chinese elms, maples, and white and black pines. And I've done it in a house and in a twenty-fifth floor high rise office as well.

I , however, have the facilities to do that. I have high pressure light systems in my house and office. I have watering trays in both places that allow me to water in the house or office without moving the plants. I have a heated sunroom at home and humidifiers.

All of which basically means I try to replicate an outdoor environment indoors. I've never truly gotten there, but far enough that my trees don't really appear to suffer. As a matter of fact, I can get my "outdoor" trees to push vigorous new growth while growing indoors.

I guess I'd say you can grow "outdoor trees" indoors most of the time, but they still need a cold period and the set ups to do it is a bit to manage and frankly a little expensive.

That all sounds very affordable for a beginner?

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Re: Out to In

Post  NeilDellinger on Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:53 pm

OK, I'll bite first I guess.

Michael,
What about length of day. This after all is the primary trigger signaling a deciduous tree such as a maple to begin preparing for winter. How are you simulating this?

Are you saying your maples thrive indoors that long or just limp along. Would love to see a pic. A ficus is a ficus...a maple ain't no ficus.

Sorry for the skepticism.
Neil[u]

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Re: Out to In

Post  Mr Majik on Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:44 pm

In Fact all makes great sense. refrigeration period, climate, conditions, preperation for winter...

I must say to Michael T that posting comments to a bigginer about more complicated, maybe advanced information is PERFECT. any one with sense, a keeness to learn, taking a hobby seriously and having an internet connection (the penultimate & latter being proved by my being a member of an internet bonsai forum) will do as iv just done and research keywords, equipment and methods mentiond and keep the rest in mind while ploughing through his newly aquired hydroponics, dendrology and botony & herb books (yep, fast growing for practice). so far the information has cost much more than the trees and tools, though i must admite worh every penny.

I aware there is no "Indoor/Outdoor" tree, i was meaning a tree that can survive in a 21°c (give ore take a little) envoronment with artificial lighting all year. but you knew that.

Yes, Evolution takes eons, perhaps. none of us have been around long enough to mesure it personally and cant really be empirical about the matter. many living things things can adapt to a new environment in one lifetime, many in a generation or two. i'ts an idea and that to me is more important than the finnished result. trees are slower than many living things (with exception perhaps to my local town hall secretarial staff) and would need longer to addapt. more than my lfetime anyway, which brings me to my next point...

Is'nt part of the Bonsai tradition about passing trees & interest down through the Family and along with them the ideas, secrets and cultivation methods used?

Thanks you all for all your input, it has been most interesting.

I look forward to learning more from you soon and hopfully one day Sharing information

Mr Majik

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Re: Out to In

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:44 pm

There is a vast difference between normal houses and a "heated sunroom with humidifiers", I think this could be misleading.

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Re: Out to In

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:20 pm

Mr Majik wrote:i was meaning a tree that can survive in a 21°c (give or take a little) environment with artificial lighting all year.
Yes, a few Ficus & other species can do that, BUT THEY WILL NEVER BE BONSAI.
In order to take on the character of bonsai, with rugged appearance, short internodes, and small leaves, a tree MUST spend at least 4-5 months a year outdoors, or receive the equivalent in indoor environment.
Mr Majik wrote:many living things things can adapt to a new environment in one lifetime, many in a generation or two.
Adaptation is not evolution. Remember the story of the man who tried to get his horse to adapt to life without food. The experiment was a success, but the horse died. You cannot get a maple to adapt to life as an indoor tree. It will die.

Isn't part of the Bonsai tradition about passing trees & interest down through the Family and along with them the ideas, secrets and cultivation methods used?

That's what we are here for. But there is no tradition that will make a maple into an indoor tree.

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Re: Out to In

Post  Michael T on Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:33 am

My tropical and semi-tropical trees most assuredly thrive indoors. I presently have one ficus, two surinam cherries, a serissa, a texas ebony, a fukien tea and two brazilian raintrees.

I wouldn't go so far to say the "outdoor" species thrive indoors with the possible exception of the Chinese elm (as it frankly does thrive indoors). I said they don't seem to suffer having been kept indoors for very long periods of time. They have never looked to be in decline as a result of being kept indoors and they do push new growth as well.

I still put the "outdoor" species outdoors in late September early October and don't bring them in til mid-January to early February. Mainly because, as I said, I know they will eventually die from a lack of a dormancy period. I don't replicate dormancy periods indoors and I don't bring all my outdoor trees indoors each year either. Most of the time, they stay outside. I, however, do bring and keep some of them indoors for very long time periods (to be read entire growing seasons).

Controlling light cycles involves nothing more than timers. During winter months they are on 16 hour cycles. During summer months 6 to 8 hours because natural sunlight is around longer. In my experience, the single biggest limiting factor about caring for trees indoors is maintaining high humidity levels. That's it. I can't emphasize that enough. When I figured that out, plant growth went from anemic to healthy.

All indoor environments are dry, i.e. 50% humidity or less. Usually way less. That's way too low to support healthy plant growth. You have to supplement it which I do with humidifiers that keep the environment at 80%. The office is harder and not as consistent.

Otherwise, it is well within anyone's ability to replicate sufficient growing conditions (which really comes down to providing enough light, humidity and water/food) to care for both "indoor" and "outdoor" trees inside for most of a given year. In the case of tropicals, I'd say it's quite possible to grow them indoors year round and grow them well indoors year round.

I don't believe I implied that it's easy to do any of this. I could care less if your a beginner as well. You asked a question. I answered it from my experience.

I believe I said it's a bit to manage and frankly expensive as well. And it is, but it can be done and it is being done. Research and experiment. I will, however, shorten the learning curve for you a bit. Your efforts to grow indoors will fail if you don't maintain fairly high humidity levels (proper light and appriproiate watering schedules matter as well, but the difference maker is humidity)(Note, I said humidity, not over-watering which is a very important distinction).

And sufficient light is not flourescent shop fixtures. Although many do well enough with them. The lumen output, however, in a bank a shoplights is way too low for the light requirements of most species of trees. I have two 400w high pressure sodium fixtures on light tracs. That's a lot of light and it shows up in the electric bill.

I also keep a single tree in my office (sometimes two) year round. I've kept the Chinese elm in my office for 9 month stretches more than once and more than two years in a row as well, but in fairness (and now that I'm really thinking about it), I've usually kept one of my raintrees in there, or a ficus retusa I have as opposed to an "outdoor" species. Actually, the ficus retusa hasn't been outside since at least last spring and I think I brought it into the office in the Fall 08.

My office set up is simple. I keep the tree under a 250w high pressure sodium fixture (it also has two flourescents built in), placed on top of a decorative watering tray that's about 2 and 1/2'L x 1'W x 3 to 4"D and it's right next to my office windows that get unonstructed morning sun (I actually asked for a smaller office for the exposure)(Of course, my partners thought I was nuts). I usually leave the water in the tray as it raises the humidity right around the plant. And I feed it with low dose fertilizers weekly (really bi-weekly . . . monthly . . . although I shoot for weekly). Works fine. Now, bare in mind ficus is really easy to grow indoors and damn near impossible to kill. That said, the Chinese elm grew fine indoors. The fukien tea and serissa grow fine indoors. The brazilian rain trees grow fine as well. I've kept a korean boxwood in there for at least 6 months and I believe longer, but can't be too sure. I've kept an apple and crab apple in there as well. A weigela . . . I'm sure others. No ill effects although the principal trunk died back on the crab apple this year so maybe I'm just kidding myself and it really can't be done. Silly me.

Consider it this way, the principal difference between indoors and outdoors is . . . glass (for me at least and possibly some wood and dry wall for you as well). That glass does what? Reduces light, dehydrates the air (actually central air does that) and prevents rain from watering and feeding your trees. There's no magic to this. You just have to find suitable work arounds for the needs of your plants that glass deprives them, i.e. light, water, high humidity and food.

Michael T
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Re: Out to In

Post  NeilDellinger on Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:22 am

Thats a hell of a lot of work and expense.

Forgive the Obvious question here...."Why?"

As in...Why not just grow trees that are well suited to your geography?

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Re: Out to In

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:48 pm

NeilDellinger wrote:"Why?"
As in...Why not just grow trees that are well suited to your geography?

Alas, that is the nature of Man, always trying to challenge his limits. He attempts the impossible, just to see if it can be done.
Razz
I have been growing plants under fluorescent lights for 50 years, with many failures. But the occasional successes are worth it, especially in a climate with five long months of dismal winter. Very Happy
Oh, yeah, I have my share of pines, maples, & a larch. Twisted Evil
Iris

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Re: Out to In

Post  Michael T on Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:23 pm

Frankly,

In the beginning I didn't really buy "outdoor" species. I bought mostly "indoor" species because that's what was around locally. From there it became a chore over wintering them in the house. So, I started experimenting with different indoor setups and twenty years later hear I am.

I also like being able to rotate a couple trees in my office. So, a suitable setup for that was necessary. I am currently configuring a way to make watering and feeding fully automated in my sunroom, including having the drainage run outside. Work in progress though as I haven't had time to retrofit my growing space.

You, however, have hit on where I really am today as mostly what I look to add to my collection are "outdoor" species for that very reason. It's just easier to keep everything outdoors and frankly I don't have anymore room for "indoor" stuff. My surinam cherries are big, one of my raintrees and my serissa are big as well. I don't have more shelf space.

I'll always keep stuff inside long term as I know how to do it and like having it around, but it is somewhat of a chore.

Nowadays, I'd much rather find time to collect native outdoor species. I have some very big collected maples and a River Birch I keep meaning to post pics of I just can't seem to find the time.

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Re: Out to In

Post  Fuzzy on Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:32 am

[quote="Michael T"] No such thing as "indoor" and "outdoor."
As far as I’m aware ALL trees live naturally outdoors. There is no such thing as a natural indoor tree, but loads of things called outdoor trees. Just picking.

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Re: Out to In

Post  NeilDellinger on Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:39 am

Iris,
I suppose you are right. Here we are finding we cannot control mother nature so we invent our own version indoors, eh? Good for you on the maples pines and larch.

Michael,
I can't imagine how much you've probably learned by going through all of that over that many years. I have ONE tree that comes indoors in winter. I had more, but I needed a break for the winter. Now I surf the net and shop for pots and tools. Very Happy

Best of luck!

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