Houseplants forum→New to bonsai - please help! :)

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Clorgan
May 24, 2020 11:09 AM CST
Hi there! I've got a bonsai tree, never had one before. The ceramic pot it came in doesn't have drainage holes, but it is in a plastic pot inside that. I took it out and spread the roots a bit and it looks OK I think.

Will it be OK back in the plastic pot (with drainage holes) and that inside the ceramic pot? Or should I get a proper pot with drainage? I hope that makes sense!

Also I'm hoping someone can tell me what type it is?

Thanks in advance! Smiling
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 25, 2020 8:36 AM CST
I don't recognize what species your bonsai is. Perhaps others will be able to ID it. It concerns me that it may not be a tropical species plant and may not survive indoors.

The way it is potted is fine. When you water, be sure to lift the inner pot up so you can avoid letting that pot sit in water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Tofi
Sumatera, Indonesia
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tofitropic
May 25, 2020 8:43 AM CST
I think that is an Elm, (Ulmus parvifolia/Chinese Elm)..?

Clorgan
May 25, 2020 11:22 AM CST
WillC said:I don't recognize what species your bonsai is. Perhaps others will be able to ID it. It concerns me that it may not be a tropical species plant and may not survive indoors.

The way it is potted is fine. When you water, be sure to lift the inner pot up so you can avoid letting that pot sit in water.


I intend to keep it outside - however I've had big problems today! This morning many of the leaves were green but crispy and falling off. I trimmed what I believed to be dead/brittle branches and leaves. Not sure if that was the right thing to do, it now looks very bare and I'm worried it's dying? I put it in water in the sink for 10 minutes, as I read that's what you should do when they dry up. Still green underneath the bark. Any advice would be massively appreciated! Not the best start to owning a bonsai, but I really want to learn!


Struggling to attach photos to this message so I'll try in a new post


Clorgan
May 25, 2020 11:22 AM CST

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 26, 2020 7:03 AM CST
I am not familiar with Chinese Elm used as an indoor plant so I am of limited help. It would not be my first choice for a beginner learning bonsai.

Before you soaked the soil, had the soil gotten very dried out? Have you been keeping it outside? In sun or shade?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Clorgan
May 28, 2020 4:29 AM CST
WillC said:I am not familiar with Chinese Elm used as an indoor plant so I am of limited help. It would not be my first choice for a beginner learning bonsai.

Before you soaked the soil, had the soil gotten very dried out? Have you been keeping it outside? In sun or shade?


Thanks for your reply, here's an update... It went downhill, I took it to the garden centre it was from for some advice, they said it likely dried out during lockdown, that mixed with the change of environment essentially was killing it Sad It was bone dry when I got it. I gave back to them, really hoping they try to salvage it rather than chucking! It's a shame, being a general garden centre they couldn't really offer me any advice. 

Anyway, I went to a proper bonsai nursery, got this chinese elm and received good advice on how to look after it, and a guarantee that I can call/drop in if there's any issues, and take it in if it needs pruning or repotting, which won't be for a long while I know. 

Looking much healthier and happier 😊 and generally just much better looked after. Currently positioned here in South facing garden. I'm in UK so temperate, but has been up to 25 c this week. Wondering whether it will be too hot here? Probably 2m away from house wall which gets very hot


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 28, 2020 7:10 AM CST
Plants adapt to the environment they are grown in. I suggest that you ask the nursey under what conditions it was grown. Was it grown inside in a greenhouse and in how much light? Or was it grown outside in full sun or shade? What temperature range do they recommend?

Try to duplicate its previous environment as much as possible because significant changes in light and temperature can have adverse effects.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Peter
Australia, north-east NSW. (Zone 10a)
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PeterHausamann
Aug 24, 2020 2:45 PM CST
@Clorgan, how is your Chinese Elm getting along?
Name: tropicofcancer
SW-PA (Zone 6b)
tropicofcancer
Aug 25, 2020 9:45 AM CST
Lot of Chinese Elm bonsai are produced in SE Asia and trained to be brought indoors in winter. But indoors it will still need to be in a very cool and bright spot. Indoors it will be evergreen but will still drop some leaves over the winter. It should be put out in full Sun (after acclimatization) during the growing season (about April to Nov).
Outdoors it will behave as a deciduous tree and do much better being outdoors all year round. They like it Sunny during the growing season. All mine are outside in zone 6b. In winter they need some protection outdoors since they are in such tiny pots. Winter protection can be a unheated garage, cold frame or simply digging the pot in the ground and cover with lots of leaf mulch around the plant in a sheltered location (like next to the house).

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