Brand New to the Hobby

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Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Shadowfall on Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:40 am

I've always been fascinated with bonsai and have always wanted to try it. Even through I have no idea what I'm doing. (Words that likely strike fear into some people's hearts here. Lol)
I love the bonsai that the local Arboretum and Botanical Gardens have and always take so many pictures it's really not funny. My family (Mom in particular) has never had any luck with bonsai, unfortunately killing the two that we had bought awhile ago. But I still wanted to give it a shot myself.
So onto my current situation. There's a greenhouse that my family has been going to for years that's sadly being closed due to problems with a new bank, so everything is on sale. My Mom and I went there Saturday and I fell in love with this bonsai with a really neat trunk, though later I figured out it's probably root structure, sitting with a handful of other varieties on a table.
My problem is that I don't know anything about what to do with it now that I have it. I looked around online, which is how I found this forum, but all it did was kinda overload me on info and make my head spin. So I'd very much appreciate any sort of help anyone here could give me, be it personal experience, online resources or books.

It's a Dwarf Arboricola Banyon according to the tag stuck on the back of the pot. I bought a ceramic pot for it since it's currently in this cheap plastic pot, but have yet to re-pot it since I don't know the proper way to do it, what soil I should use to refill the excess space around it, or even if it needs to be repotted now.

It also needs to be pruned at the top since there's some new shoots that stick out oddly, but I haven't gotten around to that yet either. And there's a new branch growing out near the base that I'm going to need to clip too, but I'm nervious about doing it. Embarassed


The main thing that I wanted to know is that on the backside of the tree there's some roots growing from the main trunk that I wanted to know if I could encourage to grow? They're kinda dry feeling so I'm not sure if they'd still grow at all, but they don't just break off like some of the brittle roots that fell off when I touched them. So I have hope. But again, I don't know how I would get them to grow bigger/stronger.


Also, there's a white-ish powder on all the leaves that I first through was dust from the greenhouse and all the traffic, but now I think it's some kind of mildew. Can I just wipe all the leaves off and it'll go away or is there some more serious kind of treatment I should give it? Or is it really just dust? Lol. You can see it best on the close-up picture above with the roots.

So any opinions, help or general comments? Thanks!

Shadowfall
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:13 am

To help you we need to know where you really live (in general) not some make believe place.

The word Banyon ( not even a correct spelling) is used to market the plant and is referring to the roots.

The leaves are probably stained with hard water residue from the nursery sprinklers, you can just wipe it off with clean tap water. If the residue shows again you might try a tablespoon of dish detergent in a gallon of water and then wipe a second time with clean tap water. From now on only water the soil.

Just about any decent potting soil will work with this plant, make sure it drains, there is a Miracle Grow brand that would work.

I think you could cut back the top quite a bit.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  MIKEB on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:01 pm

cut back hard, you might consider leaving the lower branch for now. dont forget, any cuttings you take off this guy will root EASILY, they would be good to experiment and learn on.

MIKEB
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  fiona on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:33 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum. I hope you get many hours of pleasure from your new hobby.

As Billy has stated, it is always a good idea to give us your location - just the town or city is fine, or at the very least your state or region. I'm assuming from your use of "mom" that you are in the USA or elsewhere in North America.

The reason a location is important is simply because different tree species have vastly different growing requirements. The tree you have posted would not survive over here in the UK unless you keep it indoors pretty much all the time. And bonsai are not really meant to be indoor plants.

To change your location all you need to do is edit your profile accordingly.

Look forward to hearing more from you and seeing how you are getting on.

Regards

Fiona

fiona
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:45 pm

Dwarf Arboricola will last quite a while in the average American home, I am not sure I would call it Bonsai, but.

I am going to try and put together a primer on potting for this guy.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Shadowfall on Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:52 pm

Sorry about the location. It's an auto fill thing that comes up that I always forget about. I live around the Chicago Illinois area, outer suburbs.

I'm glad that it's only hard water build up on the leaves. Easy enough to clean off.

Are those little roots able to be encouraged to grow? Or are they dead and should be clipped off? I'd like to get that banyan root look so any advice on how to encourage root growth from the trunk would be appreciated.

Shadowfall
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:34 pm

"Are those little roots able to be encouraged to grow? Or are they dead and should be clipped off? I'd like to get that banyan root look so any advice on how to encourage root growth from the trunk would be appreciated."

Aerial roots grow in response to high humidity. Not an easy thing for you, especially indoors. (Maybe a bathroom window and take lots of hot showers.)
If the small aerial roots are dry, they are dead. Live roots will have a light colored tip.
One way to develop aerial roots is to place long fiber sphagnum moss around the trunk and larger branches, if this is kept most you might get aerial roots.
One master said to tie a strip of cotton cloth around the branch and keep it in contact with the soil. I am trying this method with a F. salisicaria.

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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Shadowfall on Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:"Are those little roots able to be encouraged to grow? Or are they dead and should be clipped off? I'd like to get that banyan root look so any advice on how to encourage root growth from the trunk would be appreciated."

Aerial roots grow in response to high humidity. Not an easy thing for you, especially indoors. (Maybe a bathroom window and take lots of hot showers.)
If the small aerial roots are dry, they are dead. Live roots will have a light colored tip.
One way to develop aerial roots is to place long fiber sphagnum moss around the trunk and larger branches, if this is kept most you might get aerial roots.
One master said to tie a strip of cotton cloth around the branch and keep it in contact with the soil. I am trying this method with a F. salisicaria.

I'll definately have to try it on the bathroom ledge when I can clear a space. My Dad takes a shower every morning and it's usually pretty humid after, so that should be sufficient. If not, I'll try the moss.
But please let me know if that cotton strip method works out for you.

Do you have an suggestions for another beginner bonsai type that I could try as well? I was considering a pine of some sort, but I'm not sure what types are best for beginners, or even for my area.

Shadowfall
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:08 pm

Bonsai is not really an indoor sport. Some, such as the Arboricola will survive but even they need to be outside as much as possible.

Pines will NOT work at all, they should survive in your location outside all year.

Some of the Ficus might survive indoors and Fukien Tea might.

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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  momcat66 on Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:20 am

One way to develop aerial roots is to place long fiber sphagnum moss around the trunk and larger branches, if this is kept most you might get aerial roots.

Am I correct that this would work with ficus as well? I have several ficus I am growing for use one day.

momcat66
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  AdamG on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:06 am

Try a baby jade (Portulacaria Afra) for an easy indoor bonsai. Almost impossible to kill as long as you don't overwater, easy to prune to shape, and they do well indoors.

AdamG
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  AdamG on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:07 am

momcat66 wrote:
One way to develop aerial roots is to place long fiber sphagnum moss around the trunk and larger branches, if this is kept most you might get aerial roots.

Am I correct that this would work with ficus as well? I have several ficus I am growing for use one day.
Yep.

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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  momcat66 on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:30 am

Good to know, thanks!! I have several ficus and lots of s.moss!

momcat66
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:34 pm

Welcome to the club!

Jay Gaydosh
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:40 pm

There is a wonderful search bar at the top of the page. Type in "schefflera", or any other topic, and you'll find lots of info.

Russell Coker
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  Nightshade76 on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:38 pm

Lot's of stuff to learn, but with patience and the love of these trees, you can do it!! Welcome!

Nightshade76
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

Post  AK_Panama on Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:14 pm

Welcome to the Internet Bonsai Club.

I recommend you read the articles found at http://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html . Start by reading the one on how to water the plant.


In regards to the pictures, what you purchased is sadly not a bonsai yet as you will soon find out from the articles on bonsai styles. The most you can do with this specimen so far is to get more of the same specie, stick it together and plant into a shallow pot with lots of spagnum moss with rooting hormone to promote aerial root growth. Let these all grow as much as you can and in maybe a couple of years you will have a banyan prebonsai! Search google images for Banyan Bonsai so you get an idea of what it would look like.

This is a very addictive hobby and once you have one tree you´ll want another and another and another. Welcome!

AK_Panama
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Re: Brand New to the Hobby

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