Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

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Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

Post  GRANDPA DAN on Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:01 pm

I am new to bonsai having received a bonsai of the month present for my retirement in September 2010. They are delivered every other month by Fedex from FTD.COM. I have a gensing ficus (ficus macrocarpa) and a money tree (pachira aquatica) and their leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I am having trouble understanding the watering especially during the heating season in upstate New York - it is currently 68 F degrees - is this too cold ? Humidity level too low at 30% ? I just received my third bonsai - a ponytail palm (beaucarnea) and it was frozen solid - can it survive this freezing ? Any help would be appreciated as the plants arrived with very little care instructions from FTD.

GRANDPA DAN
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Re: Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

Post  JimLewis on Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:23 pm

GRANDPA DAN wrote:I am new to bonsai having received a bonsai of the month present for my retirement in September 2010. They are delivered every other month by Fedex from FTD.COM.

Boy! Someone really disliked you -- a lot! Just kidding.

Did they even ASK if you wanted a bonsai delivered every other month?

I have a gensing ficus (ficus macrocarpa) and a money tree (pachira aquatica) and their leaves are turning yellow and falling off.

Well, cheer up. Few of us would even consider either of these to be a "bonsai." They're houseplants Maybe the club will do better by you in the months to come.

I am having trouble understanding the watering especially during the heating season in upstate New York - it is currently 68 F degrees - is this too cold ? Humidity level too low at 30% ? I just received my third bonsai - a ponytail palm (beaucarnea) and it was frozen solid - can it survive this freezing ? Any help would be appreciated as the plants arrived with very little care instructions from FTD.

The watering we can help with. Find some chopsticks and keep one jammed into the soil in each pot. Pull it out daily and feel the dirty end. If it feels damp, you do NOT need to water. If it feels dry, you DO need to water. It's best to water from the top with a watering can -- like rain -- but first check to see if the rocks that probably are sitting on top of the soil of you "bonsai" are glued in place. If so, take a sharp implement and pry them off. Replace the void left behind with some potting soil.

I'd guess the ponytail palm (ANOTHER houseplant!) will not survive. Call FTD or whoever and tell them that and ask for a replacement. Better yet, ask them to wait to send you more of these warm-weather plants until it turns into spring.

68 degrees F is marginal for these plants' long-term health, but they'll probably survive the winter. 30% humidity could be disastrous. Keeping them near a humidifier may help. They all also need light! A south-facing window will help, but in your short days up there, you probably risk losing some of them if you don't furnish some artificial light, too. A fluorescent tube six inches or so above the plant for 13 hours daily will help.

I'm sure those who gave you this gift were well intentioned, but there's nothing worse than giving someone a plant (much less one every month or so, bonsai or not) if they hadn't asked for one.

Good luck.

I'm going to move this to Bonsai Questions, where you may get more response. Maybe Iris will pitch in as a fellow upstate NYer and a grower of indoor bonsai.

_________________
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

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Re: Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

Post  GRANDPA DAN on Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:26 pm

Jim thanks for the information.
The gift was from my son, who was hoping to keep me busy with something I could enjoy during retirement.
I guess I will be busy setting these up and trying to keep them alive for the winter.
Would a clear plastic tent over the plant help with the heat and humidity ?

GRANDPA DAN
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Indoor Bonsai Room Temperature

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:57 pm

Oh, dear, this is so sad. Really.
I would be glad to give you details about indoor bonsai until the cows come home. Unfortunately, as Jim has alluded, NONE OF THOSE PLANTS ARE BONSAI. They are simply common houseplants. You can grow them on your windowsill. Someone should report this to the Better Business Bureau.
I hope you already lodged a complaint over the frozen ponytail palm.
Actually, bonsai hog heaven is right at your doorstep. Suggest to your probably embarrassed son that he demand a full refund. Then he could get you a gift certificate to Pauline Muth's PFM Bonsai Studio, www.pfmbonsai.com/, almost walking distance from you. There you can get a few REAL BONSAI starters, join an excellent bonsai club, and embark on this fascinating hobby the right way. I think their January meeting is this weekend, so contact her right away.
Last fall I did a presentation on indoor bonsai at Mohawk Hudson Bonsai Society. I left them some handouts, so ask them for one.
In the future, if you are still considering setting up a light garden, ask away. But be careful. If you allow any orchids in there, you are twice doomed.
Iris

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Indoor Bonsai Room Temperature

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:04 pm

I checked the link I gave you & for some reason it didn't work. E-mail address is Pauline@pfmBonsai.com. Be sure to contact her.
Here are a couple of officers of the club:
President Tom Kiszkiel 845 587 9115 Kiszclove00@aol.com
Vice President Programs Jon Staples 518 395 9174 jstaples@nycap.rr.com
Iris

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Re: Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

Post  GRANDPA DAN on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:50 am

Iris, Thank you for the information. The link is correct - www.pfmbonsai.com My son and I are going to try to address / correct the issues with this whole FTD program. In the mean time I am going to set up an area for bonsai and eventually obtain and grow authentic bonsai plants.

GRANDPA DAN
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Re: Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

Post  John Quinn on Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:05 am

Iris, you had a comma at the end of the otherwise correct link. Cool

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Re: Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:17 am

I don't have a website myself, but be sure to Google on Jack Wikle. He has been growing bonsai under fluorescent lights for about 35 years. He and I do not agree on certain things, but he has been very successful. He has a lot of information.
Our main area of disagreement is that his trees never go outdoors, while I put all my trees outdoors for the summer.
Iris

bonsaisr
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Re: Indoor bonsai room temperature, watering and general care

Post  JimLewis on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:21 pm

GRANDPA DAN wrote:Iris, Thank you for the information. The link is correct - www.pfmbonsai.com My son and I are going to try to address / correct the issues with this whole FTD program. In the mean time I am going to set up an area for bonsai and eventually obtain and grow authentic bonsai plants.

Yes! Then some real good came out of it all. While you're there, ask Pauline about a couple of good books on bonsai. They will give you something to do over the cold winter months that still lie ahead.

Welcome to the sport of bonsai!

_________________
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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