The Q&A Archives: Wilting Leaves On Grape Bonsai

Question: I recently purchased a cabernet grape bonsai. The plant was delivered on a cold (not freezing) day and spent the day in its box in the garage. Anyway, ever since the plant was delivered, its leaves have gradually been turning brown and dying. I assume the plant was free of diseases and pests since it had to pass inspection coming out of California, but I don't know if I should be watering/not watering the plant or what, if anything, I can do to save it--a replacement is not available. Can you help?

Answer: You may have already identified the source of stress for your new plant, but if the plant was healthy to begin with, a day in a cold garage shouldn't dp permanent damage. I'd be more concerned about how long it was trapped in the box during transit, and what temperature extremes it endured during shipping.

At this point, give it all the TLC you can. Provide bright light but no direct sunlight. Allow the soil surface to dry out barely between waterings. When you do water, make sure water percolates out through the drainage holes in the container. Remove the dead leaves and watch for new leaf buds to develop. Don't fertilize, keep the plant out of drafts, and cross your fingers. It will probably look worse before it begins to recover. Production of fresh green buds will indicate your plant is alive and well.

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