Ask a Question forum: Bonsai ficus tree

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Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Oct 24, 2017 1:46 AM CST
I have just acquired a bonsai tree, and I give it two pints of water every two weeks. But, every day it loses some leaves. Is this normal for this time of the year, or should I change my watering habit ? Any help appreciated
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 24, 2017 6:36 AM CST
Neat Bonsai! Do you think it is getting enough light?
Porkpal
Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Oct 24, 2017 8:07 AM CST
It I should to the side of a wondow, and every day I pull the blinds back to give it maximum light. I spray it with water daily.
Like, do they loose leaves a lot at this time of year ? I don’t know. The leaves have not turned brown or yellow, they are still a vibrant green .

I’m stumped .
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 24, 2017 8:15 AM CST
Ficus house plants do not seem to like being relocated; it may just temporarily be responding to its new home.
Porkpal
Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Oct 24, 2017 8:19 AM CST
Temperamental little devil !!!! I hope so, but I’ll keep you posted. Thanks so much for showing an interest.

Brian
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 26, 2017 2:09 PM CST
Brian - Yes, it is temperamental, but it can also be quite hardy if given adequate light and watered properly. Keep it right in front of and close to an uncovered window. It will lose some leaves as it adjusts to its new home. The new leaves that come in will be adapted to the light level you provide.

Allow the top half-inch of soil to dry in between waterings. If the planter has drain holes, then add enough water so that a bit trickles through. Otherwise. add just enough water so that it reaches that level of dryness about once per week.

In addition to keeping the plant healthy, Bonsais require regular pruning in order to maintain their sculptural shape. That means pruning back a lot of the new stem growth to maintain its original shape and size. Bonsais are not intended to keep growing ever larger.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Oct 26, 2017 2:19 PM CST
Many thanks. The plant is now right next to a window with no blinds during the day. I have even added a desk lamp to provide more light.
I have been watering it every two weeks with two pints of water each time. The pot diameter is 15 inches and it’s 4 inches deep. When using my finger,the soil feels damp to the touch.
Do you think I am over watering ? Should I let it get “ dry” to the touch ?

Again, many thanks
Brian
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 26, 2017 2:49 PM CST
Brian - In the photo, it appears to be off to the side and maybe too far into the corner. It might adjust better if it were more in front of the window.

Perhaps give it less water so that the top half inch of soil feels almost dry or just barely damp after a week.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Oct 26, 2017 3:14 PM CST
THAnks again
I’ll try your advice and report back in a week

Brian
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Oct 26, 2017 3:38 PM CST
I can think of no faster way to kill a bonsai, than to water to a schedule. Every day you should insert a bamboo (or wooden) chopstick into soil, and then withdraw it. If it is dry to touch you need to water copiously. If it is still damp you can forgo watering today.

Do this every single day without fail.
free for them in need:
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Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Oct 26, 2017 4:01 PM CST
Thanks for that tip

Brian
Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Nov 7, 2017 1:46 AM CST
My Bonsai ficus, is still loosing leaves, and some are turning yellow.
I have tried the "chop stick" suggestion, namely inserting a wooden chop stick into the soil, and if it comes our damp, then don't water. Accordingly , I have not watered, and the stick continues to come out damp.

Should I give the plant a " good soaking", or let it dry out further ?

I'm at a loss, so any suggestions greatly appreciated.

The attached photo is my latest ,which you can compare with the earlie one, taken about a month ago.
It is getting plenty of light.

Many thanks


Brian
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 7, 2017 1:04 PM CST
I have never found the chopstick method to be particularly reliable. Using a stick different people have very different interpretations of just what "damp" is. Once you have figured it out for yourself, it works fine.

In my experience, a quality bonsai grown in proper potting medium and in adequate sunlight will need a thorough watering about once per week. This is usually true because a quality bonsai has a well-established root system and it is quite potbound. That makes over watering much less likely than with non-bonsais that may or not be moderately potbound.

Another method that might suit you better is to water whenever the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch. There is no right way except for the one that works for you.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Nov 7, 2017 1:25 PM CST
Many thanks

I have just given the plant 6 pints of water. Not watering did not seem to help, so hopefully this approach will. Would 6 pints be enough, and should I now give it say about a week and then re water if the soil feels dry to my touch ?..

Agai, thanks

Brian
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Nov 7, 2017 1:26 PM CST
Does this pot have a hole in the bottom?

Edited to add: They do lose some leaves in the fall, just not all of them.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
[Last edited by DaisyI - Nov 7, 2017 1:28 PM (+)]
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Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Nov 7, 2017 1:30 PM CST
It's like " Two tiered". I added the water directly to the top of the soil, 6 pints of it.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 7, 2017 1:36 PM CST
Daisy's question is a good one. When answering, I assumed that the portion of the planter where the roots and soil are has holes in the bottom. If not, then all bets are off because water may be accumulating in the bottom. Bonsais should never be potted in a planter without drain holes.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Nov 7, 2017 1:37 PM CST
Confused Does the water have someplace to drain? And then can you dump the saucer so it doesn't sit in water?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Kent, United Kingdom
briangardner69
Nov 7, 2017 1:47 PM CST
I've looked at the pot, and tried to ascertain as to whether it drains or not but I just can't find out. It was bought, plant and pot from Ikea as one unit, so I would have thought that the pot was suitable. It definitely never said anything about repoting, and the pot itself looks quite expensive.

Again , thanks for you help and it's much appreciated.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 7, 2017 1:58 PM CST
If you are not seeing any water spilling out after watering and tipping it on its side, then maybe it does not have drain holes. I would be interested to know, as I may have to add Ikea to my no-no list of plant suppliers!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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