A Few Questions...

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A Few Questions...

Post  Efletch426 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:08 am

Hello All!

I’ve been lurking in the shadows for a few weeks reading a bit, and finally decided to both register today and order Mr. Jerry Meislik’s book regarding indoor growing today. I have done a bit of reading, however I have never owned a bonsai before and am still ignorant to many things. I was hoping you guys (and gals) might be kind enough to entertain a few questions from a noob Rolling Eyes

First and foremost I live near Atlanta, Georgia in a ranch style home that doesn’t have a greenhouse. Due to room mates and other constrictions I am not able to house a plant outside 100% of the time and will need to set up a reasonable grow area in my room. There are three windows in the room, one on the Northern side, and two on the Western side so the light exposure is decent but not optimal. I’m looking for something as “tree-like” as possible, and I absolutely love the Chinese Elms(not a Zelkova).

I will be looking for something with small leaves or something that I can learn to reduce the leaf size. Eventually I want to have a thick canopy and a very “tree-like” bonsai, the goal is to bring a marvelous piece of the forest into my home. I’m drawn towards the Elms but I understand there may be issues with a strictly indoor Chinese Elm grow.

I would prefer to grow mainly indoors with outdoor time during the spring and summer if needed, and am still researching the specifics of accomplishing this. I will be looking to purchase a tree that is a few years old. But as far as my specific questions, they are as follows:

- I understand many of you started with trees that you would later regret starting with, considering my location and preference to try and reasonably care for a tree indoors, what species or specific tree would you recommend I start with? I’ve looked at the Dwarf Schefflera and I simply don’t like the look, as I’ve stated I find the Chinese Elm gorgeous... Possibly a Chinese Banyan or Fukien Tea?

- Where would you purchase a good starter plant?

- Is it possible to use a smaller CFL setup than something that would sit over a workbench? I would like to use two natural sunlight bulbs & two aquarium plant bulbs in a setup as compact and reasonable as possible, any suggestions are appreciated as I don’t have the room to do anything more.

- Would I need to consider repainting flat white and/or running a small humidifier in the 12x12ft room I will be housing the plant in?

Thank you guys for your time and responses, this forum has been a huge help.



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Re: A Few Questions...

Post  JimLewis on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:42 pm

An elm grown outside in the summer and inside in the winter has a much greater chance of long-term survival than an elm grown indoors all year 'round. That said, a willow-leaf fig is also a very good -- tree-like -- starter bonsai.

Your western windows -- assuming full sun all afternoon -- will be a better light source than the northern one, but you still will need some kind of artificial lighting setup.

Near Atlanta you have Plant City Bonsai 5607 Cleveland Hwy Clermont, GA 30527 tel. 770.983.3377 pcbonsai@gmail.com.

There is also Bonsai at the Monastery -- The Monastery Greenhouse is located at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit off Highway 212 in Conyers, Georgia.

One I've never heard anything about before discovering it in this search is Fullmoon Bonsai -- www.bonsaimoon.com

Near Savannah is a nursery called Bonsai Beginnings.

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: A Few Questions...

Post  drgonzo on Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:43 pm

The only thing I can contribute is this piece of advice I was give by a Bonsai grower and nursery in my area.

If you purchase a Chinese elm and it has been allowed a dormancy in its life (cold temps and dropped leaves) you will always need to provide that dormancy. If it has never gone through a cold dormancy it can be kept indoors in winter under lights. So ask your dealer.

Chi-elms are great beginners trees but if there is any way you can give it a dormancy they will reward you with great vigor and growth when they emerge. Its really a big difference.


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Re: A Few Questions...

Post  Efletch426 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm

I have read that about Chinese Elms as well.

I’ve freed up some space under a double window on the Eastern side of the house, and I have also got some space reserved on the second story deck(also on the Eastern side)... I’m thinking about rethinking the strategy and doing a dedicated indoor by the Eastern window and a dedicated outdoor (except for winter) on the porch...

So probably a Portulcaria or Willow Leaf (great suggestion!!!) for indoor, and something that will provide a great color change for the porch... So still not $100 sure on what types...

Should I go with a 24” two bulb fluorescent fixture for the indoor or something different? I can’t afford the space requirements of anything too much bigger.

*Also thank you for the local resources, I’ll be making some calls later.


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Post  Phillip W. on Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:26 am


Ive been to the monestary in conyers, if you live in Atlanta it would be very worth the drive. Youll get to see some outstanding bonsai, as well as many bonsai in training, and huge selection of bonsai pots and accessories. Also, they have a greenhouse full of indoor bonsai (tropicals). There is an artist there named Beverly, she spoke with me for nearly two hours. She maintains the bonsai, and has since father Paul passed away several years ago. She is very informative and happy to answer questions.

Good luck to you,

Phillip W.

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