Humidifier question

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Humidifier question

Post  Cullen Wegman on Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:52 am

Because a cold climate here requires me to keep my tropical trees indoors for much of the year humidity is a major concern. I kept a humidity tray under my trees last winter but I have heard that this actually does very little to produce sufficient humidity. I do not mist the leaves of my trees in order to prevent mineral build up on the leaves. I am planning on purchasing a small humidifier to use during the winter months to improve growing conditions but I am wondering how many hours a day I would need to run it. Any insights?

I realize winter is yet a long way off but bonsai is all about planning ahead, isn't it?

Cullen Wegman
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Re: Humidifier question

Post  Ryan on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:05 am

Cullen Wegman wrote:Because a cold climate here requires me to keep my tropical trees indoors for much of the year humidity is a major concern. I kept a humidity tray under my trees last winter but I have heard that this actually does very little to produce sufficient humidity. I do not mist the leaves of my trees in order to prevent mineral build up on the leaves. I am planning on purchasing a small humidifier to use during the winter months to improve growing conditions but I am wondering how many hours a day I would need to run it. Any insights?

I realize winter is yet a long way off but bonsai is all about planning ahead, isn't it?

I use a warm air humidifier purchased from Target. I leave it on for probably 6 hours a day or so. Works wonders.

Ryan
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Humidifier

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:38 am

I guess you could call October through April much of the year. Where do you keep your tropicals during the winter? What kind of heat do you have? Forced hot air causes the lowest humidity.
How many tropicals do you have? Do you keep them all in one area during the winter? Are you using any lighting?
I keep almost all my tropicals in a basement light garden during the winter. The humidifiers are on the same amount of time the lights are on, 18 hours.
First thing you need is a humidity gauge, or you are groping blindly.
Iris

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Re: Humidifier question

Post  Ebbtide on Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:10 am

I'm also new to the bonsai culture and self taught. I had 4 ficuses during the beginning of winter last year and lost one ( burt davyii) mid- season. I saved the others after covering individual pots and the lower half of each plant with saran wrap and keeping it lit ( using OTT-Lite) approx 16 hours daily. I also misted each tree 2x weekly and watered minimally just once a week. The leaves of the ficus stopped falling off and developed new growth throughout. I forewent with a humidifier because the house got too hot and I was worried it will ruin my paintings.

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Re: Humidifier question

Post  Cullen Wegman on Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:38 pm

bonsaisr,

I have some kind of a radiator unit which, unfortunately, I have very little control over as that is set by the building maintenance workers. Last winter they kept it more on the cool side while the year before was blazing. I used cfl bulbs last winter with an output of 900 lumens (plenty for the tropical species I own) and left them on about twelve hours a day to supplement the light they got from a nearby window. I have five trees to keep indoors this winter and so I am currently constructing a larger lighting set-up. I am not worried so much about survival as my trees did fine last winter with my set-up and pushed new growth for its duration. I would, however, like to increase the humidity next winter to further improve the results. It sounds like a good humidifier is the way to go and I will time it with the lights. I will also get a humidity gauge as you suggest.

Thanks all for your input.

Cullen Wegman
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Humidifier

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:58 am

So you live in an apartment. The winter humidity will be drier than the Sahara. Get a large cool-mist type room humidifier. If you aim for a humidity around 50%, that will suffice for most Ficus. I would caution against Serissa and most of the delicate tropicals. The humidity they require will ruin your furniture or require an enclosed area.
Iris

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Re: Humidifier question

Post  Cullen Wegman on Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:09 am

bonsaisr wrote:So you live in an apartment. The winter humidity will be drier than the Sahara. Get a large cool-mist type room humidifier. If you aim for a humidity around 50%, that will suffice for most Ficus. I would caution against Serissa and most of the delicate tropicals. The humidity they require will ruin your furniture or require an enclosed area.
Iris

I was thinking a warm-mist humidifier but I did not think about the furniture. I have two ficus (maybe three if a cutting takes root). One is a jade which I know, from living in South Africa for a year, can survive very dry conditions and I don't worry about. The one I'm not sure of is a Jaboticaba which I understand prefers higher humidity but then again, it survived last winter without any humidifier and pushed out new growth all season long. Sounds like a cool mist will be the way to go.

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Re: Humidifier question

Post  coh on Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:14 am

FWIW, my jaboticaba did just fine last winter with no supplemental humidity (as did a brush cherry). Pushed new growth several times, maintained foliage...no problems. Of course, that's only 1 winter, we'll see how it does going forward. I had it and a few other plants under 4 fluorescent tubes and that was essentially all the light they received. We have baseboard (hot water) heat.

Chris

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Re: Humidifier question

Post  Michael T on Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:32 am

Get a humidity gauge and run it until the humidity is in excess of 60%. I try to hit 80% in my sunroom, but that requires me to run it nonstop and that requires me to fill it every day and a half.

Bear in mind those humidity levels are sufficient to grow mold in your house as well. Since I have a sunroom, I don't have that problem.


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