Bonsai Tree Care - Help - Question & Answer

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200 thoughts on “Bonsai Tree Care - Help - Question & Answer”

  • David Veitch

    I have a Sageretia species bonsai which is showing signs of becoming pot bound. I read in your care booklet that fresh soil is required on re-potting, but what kind of soil should be used.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear David,
      Thanks for your question.
      You need to use a free draining soil for re-potting all bonsai.
      We tend to use the Japanese Bonsai Soil Akadama (please see the link below).
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/1256/akadama-bonsai-potting-soil--t79-
      Alternatively you can make your own soil by mixing equal parts of John Innes No 2 with horticultural grit.
      Once you have re-potted a bonsai please do not feed it for at least one month.
      I hope this helps,
      Please be careful not to disturb the root ball too much.
      Best wishes
      LLoyd

      Reply
  • Dennis Jepson

    New to Bonsai, how do I care for a small plant.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Dennis,
      Thank you for your enquiry. The basic care instructions for a typical indoor bonsai, such as a Chinese Elm, can be found in the link below.
      I hope you find it helpful,
      We will be producing some bonsai care DVDs in the future.
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/p/chinese-elm-bonsai-tree-ulmus-parvifolia-
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Connor

    Hi there , I have recently purchaced a Chinese elm from your store , due to storage space in my room the only decent place for sun light is the windowsill however there is a radiator under this , I understand the books tell you not to place trees near radiators but is it essential that you can't ? I'm rather worried .

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      What you need to do is stop the foliage from drying out. Try putting your bonsai on a tray and make sure the tray has water in it. This will create some humidity around the the leaves. Also misting daily will help and make sure the soil does not dry out. Don't worry about sunlight just make sure your bonsai gets daylight so a table near a window will be good. Turn it every week and it should be fine.
      All the best
      Lloyd

      Reply
  • Sally Hill

    Hi, I have an indoor Chinese Elm which is about 12 years old but I have had it for 2 yrs. Fro mid September the leaves dried up and went brown. Now all fallen off. I water it once a wks and feed it every 10 days advised by a bonsai expert who has recently passed. Central heating not on yet so I know it's not that. I've been feeling soil regularly and that feels slight damp not soaking or really dry. Any advice why no leaves please? Is it dead? How can I tell or is it an autumn thing? I can send photos if needed.
    Regards Sally

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Sally,
      It sounds as though something has shocked your bonsai back in September - could it have dried out for a short period. Crispy and brown leaves are usually an indication of scorch or not enough water.
      To see if the bonsai is alive please make some small nicks in the bark with a sharp knife - if the layer beneath the bark is green then the bonsai is alive. You may need to makes nicks in several places.
      Chinese Elms recover very well but at this time of year will take several weeks to re-bud.
      During the summer we were watering daily; this summer was hot and once a week would not have been enough.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Rachel Mann

    I hope you can help,
    my husband and I have tried to grow a number of indoor bonsai over the years, but they have always developed a fine spiders Web and a large amount of micro spiders/bugs all over them. I have been told once they get this, that the bonsai needs to be got rid of. No matter how much I clean and sterilize the area, when we get a new tree it always happens. What can I do, as I want to buy my husband a bonsai for his 40th birthday.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Rachel,
      Thank you for your enquiry. All plants can get pests and it sounds as though you are having a difficult time.
      I am wondering if these are just normal spiders and perhaps not the cause of the problem, just a coincidence.
      If you think this may be the case please could you let me know the symptoms.
      Chinese Elms can get Red Spider Mite but although in severe cases you can see fine webbing; it is virtually impossible to see the mites.
      I do not want to put you off Chinese Elms because I think that they are fabulous bonsai.
      There is a solution - Spray every week with a plant invigorator - this will feed the bonsai and stop pests like red spider mite and it works really well.
      It is also organic so you are not spraying anything harmful! We use:
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/4582/sb-plant-invigorator---500ml-ready-to-use-trigger-spray
      Some bonsai seem to suffer less - The Ficus (Fig) is an amazing bonsai and is very easy to care for.
      Please see the link for some examples - we do have some smaller Figs - please let me know if you wish us to photograph some for you.
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/search?qs=fig
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      It does sound very likely that it was red spider mite. I would not be too concerned - the SB Plant invigortor is organic and not harmful and it works! So just go with a weekly spray and it will help with feeding too. The glasshouse will be fine providing it does not get too cold.

      Reply
  • susan

    morning, I have just bought a ficus ginseng from the local supermarket, the pot it is in doesn't have any hole in the bottom for the water to drain, should I repot it?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Susan,
      You are correct; you definitely need a pot with drainage holes otherwise the bonsai could suffer from root rot.
      Happy potting,
      kind regards
      Verity

      Reply
  • Rachel Mann

    Thanks for your reply, sorry I haven't got back sooner.
    I can't give you the symptoms, as it has been a long time since we had them, but the webbing was very fine and the spiders were very hard to see, but because there were so many of them crawling over the plant and shelf, they were easier to see.
    I was wondering if putting the bonsai in a glass house would stop the problem happening again? Thanks again

    Reply
  • Billy

    Hi, I am new to keeping bonsai trees so was wondering when mixing the bonsai direct feed with 1 litre of water. Would I give the full amount of 1 litre to the bonsai or just some of it? Also is it just poured on to the soil until it reaches the drip tray? Thank you

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Billy,
      Thank you for your e-mail.
      I would recommend making up a stock solution in an old labelled fizzy drink bottle.
      Add 5ml of the feed to one litre of water.
      Keep out of the reach of children and label it clearly.
      When the bonsai needs watering use the water with the feed in it once a week. At other waterings use normal water. Pour the diluted feed over the soil until it runs through the holes in the bottom of the pot.

      Only water when the soil is barely damp to the touch and then water well until the water runs through the holes in the bottom of the pot.
      You will only need to use a fraction of the stock solution.
      I hope this helps
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Justin Cattell

    Hi, I have a couple of Chinese Tea Trees that are suffering with greenfly, can you advise me on how I can get rid of these please ?

    Many thanks

    Justin

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Justin,
      Any good pesticide (which treats aphids) should work - you will need to spray two or three times at weekly intervals to make sure any young which hatch from eggs are also treated.
      We use the plant invigorator in the link below - we spray weekly - it is organic and keeps pests at bay and feeds the bonsai too.
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/4582/sb-plant-invigorator---500ml-ready-to-use-trigger-spray
      Greenfly is very easy to treat.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • l. jones

    I clipped these off my Chinese elm, can you tell me what's wrong ?

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/1bmpbmmhdzh5nkd/IMG_20140119_230016.jpg

    Had the tree for a little over a month, everything seems fine other than this. Lots of new growth, watering every 2-3 days as required. Is currently sitting in my window so gets plenty of light.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      The bonsai is in good condition. The slight marks on the leaves you have pruned off are caused by scissor marks - we have to prune very fast because we have thousands of bonsai to prune. You are doing exactly the right thing - keep pruning the tips.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • matt jardine

    Good Morning,
    I received a Serissa Foetida for Christmas (2013) from you.
    I have noticed that it drops small amounts of leaves most days. Is this normal or should i panic!!!
    many thanks
    Matt Jardine

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Matt,
      It is not uncommon for bonsai to lose leaves at this time of year - it should be the old leaves and not the new growing tips.
      You can also experience a little leaf drop 2-3 weeks after purchasing a bonsai whilst the bonsai re-acclimatises to its new location.
      If you are worried please send us a photo.
      many thanks
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Lucia Williams-Welch
    Lucia Williams-Welch 29th January 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Do your bonsai trees come all-ready grown or do they come as seeds ?

    Thanks

    Reply
  • Joyce

    I have a fukien tea bonsia. .the leaves were turning yellow..I knew this meant too much water so I slowed the watering down. It was looking great..i noticed a lot of new growth showing..then all of a sudden some of the leaves are turning light green and brown..can you tell me what this means?

    Reply
  • Ryan

    I planted Chinese Elm seeds about 4-5 days ago and I was just curious to ask, how long will it be before I see the first signs of growth? Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Ryan,
      Thanks for your enquiry.
      I am really sorry but we have no idea.
      All our Chinese Elms are propagated by taking cuttings - it is so much quicker and more successful than sowing the seeds.
      Has anyone else tried this and can offer Ryan the advise he is seeking?
      all the best
      Sarah

      Reply
  • kimberley

    Any advice on the intermediate care of a Chinese privet, got today from a garden centre as new to looking after bonsai covered in a lot new growth it looks more like a bush.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Kimberley,
      If you follow the instructions for the Chinese Elm bonsai they are very similar.
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/p/chinese-elm-bonsai-tree-ulmus-parvifolia-
      The Chinese Privet (Ligustrum) is a hungry bonsai special offer please make sure you feed it with a bonsai feed.
      It puts a lot of root growth so will require repotting or root pruning every year.
      I hope this helps,
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Jay

    Hi, I have a pepper tree bonsia which i got just over a year ago and is my first tree. It was quite poorly (droopy, yellowing and dropping of leaves) over autumn but has picked up in the last couple of months. the leaves are only growing back on one side though, and though i turned it round this doesn't seem to be helping. what can i do to help this?

    Reply
  • Rebecca Willis
    Rebecca Willis 1st March 2014 at 8:26 am

    Dear Bonsai Direct, I have emailed you before and your advise has kept my carmona very happy for over a year xx unfortunately Derek(my tree) has very yellow leaves at the mo and has afew black spots on some!!! (At first I thought the yellow leaves was the lack of sun over the last few months ) he does have green leaves as well but they are looking like they may turn yellow to, he is still flowering for me not as many flowers as usual around 5 when he normally have around 12 a time,, not sure what to do for the best. Ive ordered some sb plant invigorator,, can you help? very kind regards Becki x

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Becki,
      It sounds as though Derek may have Black Spot - this is a very easily treated fungal disease but you would need to buy a fungicide which treats black spot from your local garden centre.
      You need to spray and then repeat the spray - please follow the instructions on the bottle.
      It may be worth uploading or e-mailing me a photo so we can check this out ([email protected])
      many thanks
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Bonsai Direct

        Thanks for the photo Becki - I would definitely spray for black spot.
        Also, be careful with the watering; only water when the soil is barely damp.
        If you have a warmer position please move Derek to somewhere a little warmer - it will recover more quickly.
        Carmona like a warm position.
        I hope this helps

        Reply
  • Rebecca Willis

    Hi Sarah
    Thanks for the advice I will go out and get some treatment asap,, should I remove the leafs that have spots om them? Someone said thats whatyou should do but im uunsure about doing that as I dont want to stress Derek out
    Thanks again Becki xx

    Reply
  • sally webb

    hi sarah.i feed my bonsai's with a mixture of baby bio and rain water,can you tell me if this method is o.k or should I be using bonsai feed?also,do I need to spray the leaves to keep them moist when they are at room temperature or do I just concentrate on the roots?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Sally, I am not sure if you got my reply.
      Please do not use Baby Bio. Please use a bonsai feed. You should have received an e-mail about the watering,
      all the best
      Sarah

      Reply
  • sally webb

    thank you sarah for your advice.i never received your e-mail on watering,please can you tell me again if I should spray the leaves on my bonsai's or just concentrate on the root's?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Sally,
      You need to check the soil daily for water. Only water the soil when the soil is barely damp to the touch.
      If the soil is wet please do not water; over-watering can cause the roots to rot.
      If you would like to mist the leaves in addition to checking the water this is great and can be done daily.
      I would recommend you use a bonsai fertiliser. Baby Bio is too strong and can result in the roots burning.
      I hope this helps

      Reply
  • sally webb

    thank you sarah you have been most helpful.i will put your plan of action in to use straight away.

    Reply
  • Dave

    Hi, My Wife bought me a Carmona Micropylla for Christmas from yourselves. At first it thrived, a hole tree of new leaves. I have fed it twice with Bonsai feed. I started to use a Galvanised Mini Watering can and it has now dropped all of its leaves and looks a bit sorry for itself. Could the galvanising in the can have caused damage? I have gone back to a plastic pot. I have not overwatered.
    Thank you for your advice.
    Dave.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for your enquiry. The galvanised watering can will not cause any issues.
      When the leaves started to drop did they change colour or go crispy?
      please could you send us a photo [email protected]
      we can then advise you.
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Dave

    Hi Sarah, thank you for your quick reply, the tree had dark green leaves when it arrived. these dropped and a lovely covering of new bright green leaves sprouted but these have mostly dropped but without browning/crisping etc. I will send you an image tonight.
    Cheers, Dave.

    Reply
  • Ellin

    Hi I have a Chinese Elm, up until winter it was flourishing but lack of sunlight over winter all the leaves fell off. Occasionally it would still produce a couple of leaves so I wasn't to worried just thought spring is around the corner. But it hasn't produced any leaves in a month, I'm still watering it, but how do I check the bonsai is still alive?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Ellin,
      To check if your bonsai is alive please make some small nicks in the trunk and branches with a sharp knife.
      The layer just beneath the bark should be green.
      If it is please send us a photo and we can check it out.
      many thanks
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Derek Daniels

    I have a large white pine, with a long "welcoming arm branch", which is dieing back along the left hand side of this branch.I have owned this tree for 2 yrs, and it has constantly lost the odd branch here and there.But now the situation is getting out of control, it is in the process of losing 4 branches all on the L/H side and in the middle of the branch.The branch is nearly 5ft long and as it stands I will lose about a foot wide expanse of branches, thus altering the of the tree completely.I have dosed it once this year with sequestered iron about a week ago, and water it from a water butt, filled with tap water which is left for at least a week before using, I live in a hard water area.The rest of the tree looks healthy to me, please help.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Derek,
      This sounds like over-watering.
      White pines like to be on the dry side and we have had a very wet winter. they hate to be wet!
      Please could you send me a photo.
      If you are unable to upload it please could you e-mail me [email protected] and we shall take a look at the symptoms.
      best wishes
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Derek Daniels
        Derek Daniels 16th May 2014 at 8:35 pm

        Hi Sarah, This tree was kept under a lean to shelter over winter, so it did not receive any rain water all winter long.It was watered about 5 times in all.My five other pines were all kept in the same place, and they all look OK.The side of the tree that is affected would have got any winds that's were blowing, could this have been a problem.I will try to send a pic later.thanks Derek

        Reply
        • Bonsai Direct

          Hi Derek,
          Thank you for the photo. This could well be wind damage.
          You could not have over-watered the bonsai; the shelter is ideal.
          It is very difficult to maintain such a long branch but in general the bonsai looks very healthy.
          The only other possibility is that it got very slightly too dry but this is unlikely,
          I think it is most likely to be environmental,
          kind regards
          Lloyd

          Reply
          • Derek Daniels
            Derek Daniels 19th May 2014 at 1:31 pm

            Hi Lloyd/Sarah,
            Thanks for your feedback,I think the problem is down to lack of water.This tree has always been hard to water, the top surface soil has always been solid.I decided to knock it of the pot to inspect the roots, and to say that it was potbound is an understatement.The root ball is like a brick, and the top 1/3rd of the Akadama it is planted in is like dust.No wonder it was hard to water.Any way I have now put it in a large tub and backfilled with a good quality pine mix.There was very little mychoriza present on the roots, so I have added some rootgrow beneficial fungi as well.At least now I should be able to tell how much water is in the pot.Hopefully it will now thrive, I intend to fertilise it with Naruko, any ideas ?.
            regards
            Derek

            Reply
            • Bonsai Direct
              Bonsai Direct 19th May 2014 at 2:11 pm

              Hi Derek,
              You have done exactly the right thing. It certainly sounds as though it was pot bound!
              I would recommend that you do not feed your pine for at least a month - there will be enough nutrients in the soil for the next few weeks and it is best not to over-fertilise when you have disturbed the roots.
              Pines are always top dominant - they put all their energy into growing up (at the expense of the lower branches).
              If possible, I would advise you to tilt the pot for the summer months, to about 45o and place the main branch out towards the light.
              This should enable this lower bonsai branch to become stronger.
              I hope this makes sense,
              all the best
              Lloyd

              Reply
          • Derek Daniels
            Derek Daniels 20th May 2014 at 8:49 pm

            Hi Lloyd, thanks for the latest info,I shall definitely incline the pot, and point the long branch into the light
            Regards
            Derek

            Reply
  • Derek Daniels

    I have recently come across in inline filter, which fits on to a standard hose pipe used by Koi keepers, to fill their ponds.It claims to take out all sorts of impurities in the water such as heavy metals and I think from memory chlorine as well.would this be beneficial when watering my trees using water straight from the tap.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 19th May 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Derek, I have no experience of these devices. I would be concerned that the micro-nutrients may also be removed. Do you have any rainwater? That would be the best on a bonsai of this standard.

      Reply
  • Lynn Hodson

    I hope you can help My son bought me a sweet pepper bonai tree for Xmas and its been happy on a sunny windowsill I stand it in water a coupls of times a week however this last week the leaves are drying out and the tree appears to be dying - do you think the sun may now be too strong and what can I feed it to revive it and should I cuttof what appears to be dead Thank you

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 19th May 2014 at 7:32 am

      Dear Lynn,
      It sounds as though your bonsai has dried out during the warmer weather over the past couple of weeks.
      Watering twice a week at this time of year will not be enough.
      I think most of the old leaves will drop off.
      Please ensure the soil is kept damp at all times,
      All you need to do is water slightly more frequently,
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Simon Fisher

    Hi I recently received a Bonsai tree for my birthday. Now because it was a present it arrived early (last Tuesday) and it was kept in the box it was sent in until my birthday which was (last Sunday) now it was all fine until about last Tuesday when I started noticing the leafs had brown spots on them like dead spots and some leafs had lacerations but where it had died. I have recently purchased SB invigorator to combat the problem as I believed it to be a fungal infection maybe being in a damp dark environment but I have used it and nothing has changed or is getting better. Now I was wondering what are these brown spots on the foliage and how do I keep it from killing my plant. I can include pictures and please get back to me as I've already wrote to you with no reply and my problem is getting worse!!.
    Thank you for your time reading this.
    And really hope we can sort this. Thanks
    Kind regards
    Simon Fisher

    Sent from my iPhone

    Reply
    • Simon Fisher

      Just to clarify I got the tree (Tuesday) 13 and opened it (Sunday)18 and used the invigorator Satuurday just gone.

      Reply
  • Marta

    Hi there

    Two of my bonsais are not very happy lately. The apple bonsai has white dots that look like insect eggs all over and the Chinese lemon's leaves are starting to fall off and they are brown rather than shiny green.
    How can I save them?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Marta

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 1st June 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Dear Marta,
      Would it be possible for you to send me some photos please - my e-mail address is [email protected]
      I have no experience if a Chinese Lemon - are your bonsai kept indoors or outside?
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 2nd June 2014 at 8:12 am

      Dear Marta,
      Thank you for the photos.
      I think you need to get a general insecticide from your local garden centre and spray both bonsai.
      Repeat the spray according to the instructions.
      The apple definitely looks like it has a pest.
      The apple bonsai needs to live outdoors; especially during the autumn and winter - it needs a period of dormancy when the leaves drop off.

      I think you are correct - both bonsai need re-potting.
      The best time to repot the apple is February, when it is out of leaf.

      The second bonsai is an Aromatic Pepper Tree. Please see the link below:
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/p/aromatic-pepper-tree-bonsai-zanthoxylum-pipertum

      You can certainly re-pot this now - it is the perfect time to do it.
      It looks very dry and hungry - do you feed the bonsai with bonsai feed?
      For now - please stand the pepper tree in a sink with water for 5 mins, just to ensure the root ball is damp throughout.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Marta

        Thanks Sarah for taking the time to look into this. I really apreciate your advice. Will follow-up on all instructions.
        Marta

        Reply
  • Jean-Michel Hall
    Jean-Michel Hall 12th June 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Hello there!

    I am new to Bonsai and I have just started this week. For my birthday I was given a Sageretia (8 years old) and a Fukien Tea (3 years old).

    I have done thorough research for both trees and I am looking after them in the way that is generally mentioned on websites and books.

    I have two questions:

    1) Can I use general feed for both Bonsai trees or do they each need a particular feed? And how many times a week should I feed each?

    2) On the Fukien Tea, there is a green powdery substance on the trunk, it looks like fungus. Should I remove this with a toothbrush dipped in chlorinated water? Or should I just leave it?

    Many thanks for your time!

    JM

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Jean Michel,
      A general bonsai fertiliser is ideal for both your bonsai.
      If you are using a liquid bonsai food such as shown in the link below, then please feed weekly.
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/1851/liquid-bonsai-fertiliser--t92-?ref=3177

      You need to dilute the fertiliser in water and once a week water with this solution.
      The remaining solution can be kept until the following week in a well marked bottle.

      It will be a form on lichen on the trunk of the Fukien Tea Tree. It will do no harm at all but by all means remove it with an old toothbrush and water.
      This is not necessary but can often make the bonsai look more aesthetically pleasing.

      We have lots of care advice and 16 dvd chapters on our website which you might find interesting.
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/p/bonsai-care-dvd

      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Lucy Farfrai

    Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with my possibly dead cotoneaster Bonsai. All the leaves and flowers are completely dry and shedding. When I scratch the bark, however, it's still green. I read in one of your earlier posts that this means it's still alive and can be revived. If so, what sort of feed should I be giving it (at the moment I use fully balanced nitrogen, potash and phosphate feed), how often should I water and feed it, and how much sun exposure should it have?
    I'm relatively new to bonsai trees, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance for your time
    Lucy

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 2nd July 2014 at 8:04 am

      Hi Lucy,
      I am sorry that your Cotoneaster is not thriving.
      You are correct it is alive but please do not feed it until it has new leaves; more fertiliser could make the symptoms worse.
      Please could you let me know where you are keeping the bonsai?
      We need to try and establish what has caused the leaves to drop.
      Did it happen suddenly? Are the leaves crispy and brown?
      Do you think the bonsai could have got very hot or dried out? The weather has been particularly nice.
      I hope to hear from you soon,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Lucy Farfrai

    Dear Sarah,
    At the moment I'm keeping it indoors, and it hasn't been fed for a while (just watered every few days). I left it outside during a very hot weekend which I'm sure is the reason for its decline. Would it help if I sent some photographs?
    Thank you again,
    Lucy

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 3rd July 2014 at 7:11 am

      Hi Lucy,
      I would put the bonsai outside in a sheltered semi- shaded position. It really needs to be outside all year round but not allowed to dry out.
      It sounds as though it got hot and dried out but actually you have just been unlucky and outside really is the best place for a Cotoneaster.
      Please keep the soil damp and you will need to give the bonsai at least 8 weeks to see any signs of improvement.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Sean Christopher Herrington

    HELP!
    I got a sublime Elm with 25 ,2 foot long shooters on her. I am not sure where to trim exactly nor what time of the year is best. Please help ASAP!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct
      Bonsai Direct 8th July 2014 at 7:56 am

      Dear Sean,
      Would it be possible for you to send a photo to [email protected] so that we can see the bonsai.
      Are you keeping it indoors or outdoors?
      Are you in the UK? Different climates affect when to re-pot.
      thanks Sarah

      Reply
  • Sean Christopher Herrington

    I am repotting also any tips. I have to go bigger and would like to create more depth as well.???? Fertilizer as well?????? I have her submerged soaking right now.

    Reply
  • Caitriona

    My boyfriend bought me the beginners kit - chinese elm bonsai tree this week. Its very small but the bottle of food says to mix 5ml with 1 litre of water?!?!

    I really don't want to feed it 1litre of this food mix - does anyone have any advise on how much I'm supposed to give it?

    I know its a novice question but I want to do things properly

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      You can make up a litre and store the diluted feed in an old, clearly labelled bottle,
      Use this feed next week and the week after etc.
      Then there is no wastage!
      Hope this helps
      Holly

      Reply
  • Christopher Lambert
    Christopher Lambert 11th July 2014 at 11:22 am

    SOS!
    Hi. .. I bought a Chinese Elm from you last year on line - fabulous! But I may have killed it? Practically all the leaves have dropped off, like it was Autumn/Winter. The trunk and curved branches are still magnificent but the rest is just twigs. It is well watered and I use Baby Bio to feed. Can you help please?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Christopher,
      When the leaves fell off had the bonsai dried out or did the leaves go crispy or brown or change colour?
      We need to tray and work out what has caused the leaf drop so that we can advise you on what to do next.
      When did this happen? How long ago did the leaves drop off?
      Please keep the soil just damp (not wet) and please do not use baby bio - it is too strong and can scorch the roots on a bonsai.
      A bonsai feed would be much better.
      If you would like to send us a photo then please e-mail [email protected]
      Hope to hear from you soon,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Melanie

    Hello,
    I have an indoor bonsai. I'm not sure what type, but it looks like a type called Fukien. I've had it for almost a year with no problems and when I moved (the plant was still indoors) I started noticing some small white mite insects. I started spraying it with an insecticide for indoor plants, but then after about a week decided to repot it (I had never repotted the plant so I figured it was about time and would get rid of the bugs completely). I repotted it last night and today all the leaves are yellowing and wilted. I've plucked off about 2 handfuls of falling/withered leaves... I'm not sure what made this happen... mayve the type of soil I used? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Melanie,
      I think you are correct - your bonsai probably did need re-potting and I am pretty certain that this will not be caused by the soil you have used; it is too quick.
      When you repotted the bonsai did you remove much of the old soil and disturb the root ball?
      When we re-pot we stand the whole pot/root ball in water for 5 mins so that the old and new soil are both wetted.
      I shall wait to hear from you,
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Melanie

        Thanks so much. When I saw it happening I thought it might be a drainage problem (because my old soil had more gravel/small rocks in it) so I repotted it again just to mix more rocks into the soil. While i was doing this though, I had the roots soaking in water and for the past two days I've been making sure the soil gets enough water.
        Leaves are still falling off a little, but I think it's improving. The leaves became a little darker green and don't seem to be wilting as much.
        How long does it usually take for the plant to recover? Is there anything else I should do?

        Thanks again!

        Reply
  • matt jardine

    Dear Bonsai Direct,
    I have a Serissa foetida that has been seemingly in good health until now!
    it has some green but lots of branches that appear to be dry and dying.
    I have been very disciplined in looking after it and am at a loss as to what has happened.
    Can you help?
    Matt

    Reply
  • Iona Whytock

    Hello, I've been gifted a Thousand Stars indoor bonsai and I'm a little confused by the care sheet with it. It's not clear how much food I need to give it weekly. It says on the bottle one capful to a litre of water, but how much of that solution do I give the tree? Also, re. watering, it says to keep the soil constantly wet but not to overwater as it prefers to be on the drier side. I don't want to overwater it, I hope you can advise me. Thanks, Iona.

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Iona,
      You make up the stock solution of bonsai feed (5ml to 1 litre) in an old bottle - water with a small amount of this solution once a week until the water runs through the holes in the bottom of the pot.
      The soil needs to be maintained damp (NOT wet) and only watered when the top of the soil begins to get dry - Serissa do not like to be over-watered - the tips of the leaves will go brown.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Mike

    I think I need to root prune and re-pot my Chinese sweet plum - what soil should I use in the pot?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Mike,
      You need a free draining soil like akadama http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/1256/akadama-bonsai-potting-soil--t79-
      You can make your own bonsai soil from equal proportions of John Innes No 2, Horticultural grit and multipurpose compost.
      I hope this helps
      I think you might find chapters 12 & 13 of our bonsai DVD useful too.
      The link is:
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/p/bonsai-care-dvd-part-2
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • A Robinson

    The baby Chinese elm I recently bought has started to get - what looks like - tiny white fungi at the base and parts of the soil.

    Am I going to have to put the little fella down?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      This is probably a sign of slight over-watering. Please could you send me a photo.
      the white fungus will not harm the bonsai and can be brushed off with an old toothbrush,
      My e-mail address is [email protected]
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Brigette

    Help! My dad bought me a Oriental tea Tree Bonsai for my birthday in May and it is just dying. It has never really thrived and now the leaves have gone pale and brittle and are all falling off. I even took it on holiday with me to try and nurture it back to health. Does it need repotting into something bigger as the roots seem to be in a lump with a crack across the soil? I love this tree, please help! Thanks

    Reply
  • Christine Everett
    Christine Everett 22nd August 2014 at 11:07 am

    I have been away and left my bonsai zanthoxylum in the care of a neighbour. I have noticed now that the bark is white a bit like cotton wool any ideas why

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Christine,
      If it is powdery it could be slight over-watering and it will brush off with a old toothbrush - this would be towards the base of the trunk.
      If higher and more cotton wool like it sounds like it may have a pest - wooly aphid - you would need to get an insecticide which treats wooly aphid.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Christine

    Thank you for your prompt reply I will try both and hopefully all will be fine

    Reply
  • Mrs Ann Brown

    I did have a Bonsai tree it was a fictus, but I couldn't bring my self to prune it so put it in a big pot and it has been happy as larry all the summer, but now do I bring it in to the conservatory, which gets warm in the winter or wrap it up in white flossie stuff and put it in a sheltered spot? Hope you answer awful questions like this, I know I am a Philistine

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Ann,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      Please bring your Ficus bonsai indoor now - it will not stand up to the frosts. It can go back outside from the end of May (assuming you are in the UK and it is warmer).
      If you need advise on pruning please send us a photo.
      Many thanks
      sarah
      [email protected]

      Reply
  • lu

    have you a video of how to prune pepper tree leaves and branches

    Reply
  • Elliott

    I have a small Buddhist Pine that I keep in doors. I was away for a month and it was neglected. Many leaves and branches have dried up and died so I wondered whether it would do to remove the waning shoots now or wait until after the winter. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Elliott, I think I would be inclined to brush off any dead leaves but leave the branches and hope that you see new signs of life in the spring.
      Please give it plenty of daylight and try not to over-water it - just keep the soil damp (not wet).
      I hope this helps
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Mabel

    Hello :)
    I have just moved to university and bought a bonsai tree about maybe a month before. A few weeks ago there was some new leaf growth on the top but then suddenly all the older leaves started turning from green straight to black and falling off - they had been doing it a little bit before the move to university but only a few leaves fell off then.
    I was watering and feeding it every week but started doing it every couple of days in the past week - I was wondering if this is the right thing to do? Also the moss around the base started going mouldy so I just took it all off which was possibly a wrong decision...
    I looked up stuff online and I thought that either it has some sort of fungus, or I'm watering it too much/too little, or it's not getting enough light. But I have no idea which thing is right - my room at university is pretty dark most of the time and I don't know if I should put my tree by the window because there's a radiator underneath.
    Help please! :)

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Dear Mabel,
      Black leaves are usually a sign of cold or over-watering. If they are crispy too then this could be an indication of it drying out. I think it would be a good idea for us to see a photo and check out the symptoms. Please could you e-mail me a photo ([email protected]) and I shall take a look.
      Moss does not thrive well indoors - it sounds as though your bonsai may have been grown outside during the summer. Removing the moss is absolutely fine.
      If you could send a photo we could identity the bonsai too and then be able to help you,
      all the best
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Arkadiusz

    Hello,

    I've got Ficus microcarpa Ginseng and it looks like it's dropping much more leaves recently. I have it for few months (3-4) already (indoor, temperature around 25 degrees) and haven't fertilized yet. Do you think I should do that ? If yes, than which fertilizer should I choose?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      I think your bonsai will need bonsai fertiliser; we recommend the one in the link below:
      http://www.bonsaidirect.co.uk/item/1851/liquid-bonsai-fertiliser--t92-?ref=3177
      I do not think this is the cause of the leaf-drop.
      Is it the old leaves or the new growing tips too?
      If it is just the old leaves (and not the growing tips) then I think this is just seasonal with going into autumn.
      Do you prune out the growing tips?
      kind regards
      Sarah

      Reply
  • Lynn Fletcher

    hi can you please helpI have an 8year old Bonsai Carmona, it's been beautiful all summer. but just recently it has had sticky leaves with what looks like tiny whitefly. I sprayed with an organic spray and it seemed to clear. But after being on holiday and someone else watering, which I'm sure was ok really, It's still got slightly sticky leaves but there going brown and dropping off. but at same time new ones are growing. it's been fed through summer, should I continue?

    Reply
    • Bonsai Direct

      Hi Lynn,
      If you use an organic insecticide you need to keep using it according to the instructions, (eg. 5 sprays a week apart).
      You can then use it preventively on a fortnightly basis.
      The brown leaves could be seasonal leaf drop or could be an indication of a watering issue or it getting cold.
      Please could you send me a photo so we can advise you further?
      many thanks
      Sarah
      [email protected]

      Reply
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