The Q&A Archives: Brittle Bonsai

Question: I recently bought a spruce, but it was dwarfed like a bonsai. A couple weeks later I noticed it was brittle. I am not sure about the conditions it should have, or if it is because of too much trimming and pruning. Please help.

Answer: Many of the hardy plants used as bonsai, such as spruce, need to experience a winter cool period (above freezing, but cool) so they can rest. It is possible that your plant has been overheated this winter and has become dried out. This plant also resents the dry air so typical in our centrally heated homes, so that may also have contributed to its dryness. In addition, bonsai require very careful watering because their pots are so small and the soil so well drained. Usually, the soil needs to be watered daily and the plants may also need misting. A cool bright location would also possibly help.

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