Beginner with an Azalea, Juniper, and Hydrangea!

CR18

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Hello all!

I'm here in a desperate cry for help! I've had 5 bonsai over two years and have killed 2 already (they were Serissas from Bonsai Boy). Now, I'm afraid my Satsuki Azalea is next!!

If anyone could lend me some aid, I can answer any question about how I currently treat all of my trees (granted the juniper is brand spanking new that I barely got TODAY). I really want to know the best thing for each species but all of my reading materials just say general rules for bonsai, not species specific!

Thanks everyone!!
- CR
 

barrosinc

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Hi and welcome!
Care to give us a bit more detail?
Why do you think your trees are in trouble?
Got pics?

and please update your location so that help is a bit more personalized.
 

CR18

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Thank you for the welcome!! :)

I can get some pictures soon! I'm traveling at the moment for the day, but as you can see now, I'm in Southwest Idaho, and I have not put my bonsai outside at all because we've had such varying weather!

I believe the Azalea is in trouble because it's almost naked! The leaves it has are all green but so sparse! It went through its flowering stage in January and was so full, but since then, it has become so bare! I was afraid that it was overwatered and the roots were becoming overgrown, so I repotted it and trimmed both the roots and dead looking limbs/off shoots.

Please make note that my soil is that homemade recipe made with bark and small stones, I don't use any potting soil at the moment! I also use a diluted dyna-gro foliage pro fertilize once a week!

- CR
 
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Mellow Mullet

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How did the roots look when you repotted it? If it was weak and you did that much to it and it is inside, it may be dead or dying. What kind of soil was it in before the repot? Azaleas need to be outside, as long as it did not get below 35 degrees, they can handle it. I doubt the roots were becoming overgrown, even so, that could have dealt with later, I think it was/is more a light and water issue.

Put it outside in dappled shade, no direct sun, watch the water (water when almost dry), and keep your fingers crossed. You can scratch the bark with your nail, if there is green under it, it still might have a chance.
 

discusmike

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They should be outside all the time,thats probalbly why your having problems,i dont know about idaho but azaleas are blooming now in zone 7, were all your trees inside all winter?
 

CR18

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@Mellow Mullet

The roots look full and springy honestly! I had a serissa die from overwatering (still can't believe I did that) and the azaleas roots did not look anything like that! The Azalea has been a little odd from the start! It has never bloomed in the correct season, this year was the second bloom cycle I have seen it go through and it bloomed at the end of January. I repotted it with that Al's Gritty Mix I found on Houzz (picture enclosed). Also, many of the limbs I trimmed were very green and the leaves it does have are green too (some are weirdly limp and others are nice and full), but again my little tree looks so naked! I'll post the image when I get home!

@discusmike

The hydrangea and Azalea did winter inside on a southwest facing window! Does this mean I've been keeping them inside when they need to be outside?? Also, this juniper just came to me today as a gift, so any advice on that is appreciated too!! Also, after looking it up, I believe I am in Zone 7.
 

CR18

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@barrosinc

Idaho is ok! This winter was a super cold one, like 10 degrees Fahrenheit and the spring has been so up and down! One day it's 43 degrees and another day it's 78 degrees all in the same week!
 

Mellow Mullet

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Late December, early January is when Kurume azaleas bloom, at least for me. Satsukis start in March through now. Maybe it is a Kurume, they lose a lot of their old leaves over the winter and only have one or two sets around the flower. Maybe yours is a Kurume.
 

CR18

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@Mellow Mullet
Being an Azalea veteran then, what would you recommend my first steps being when I get home?? I've been making sure not to overwater it, and I just bought a moisture reader for added security in that department. Does it need to go outside during the day from now on?? Also, my avatar is when the bush bloomed in January, it is a lot more naked looking now. :(
 

Mellow Mullet

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Well, a picture would be nice. Throw the moisture meter away, I have known them to be unreliable. Use a chopstick instead, just insert into the soil, and judge the wetness of the soil by how the stick looks. Yes, it needs to go outside and stay outside. I don't know what your nighttime temps are, but anything 50 or better will be fine until it recovers. No direct sun until it recovers, just dappled sunlight/shade.
 

CR18

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@Mellow Mullet

I just got home and have some pictures and, as you can see, it is very dilapidated looking!! The weather dips into the 40's at night here still, so should I put it out during the day and bring it back in at night??
 

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sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

I'm sure Idaho is not a hotbed for bonsai...

But...

It ain't Wyoming, so dig a tree!

soil is that homemade recipe made with bark and small stones, I
Sounds a bit too loose...
Like you would have to flood it 2 or 3 times a day.

There's also this thing....of getting what is a typical azalea root mass combed out enough to begin using such a Loose new Soil..

I can only envision 2 scenarios...

A. The roots were combed out to much, which is really the only way to get it properly into the new looser soil. But then it will only survive with primo aftercare conditions....aka @johng back yard!

B. The root block was placed in the pot and more or less backfilled with looser soil...which, especially in the situation pictured..will be impossible to water thoroughly, without soaking the floor.

If there is a C....

That Azalea had poor roots to begin with.

IMO!

Sorce
 

Mellow Mullet

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It does look a little sickly and the leaves look a little large for a satsuki, but we won't worry about that now. I needs to regain vigor. I think it is suffering from being inside and having too much done to it. First it needs to go outside, no direct sun. Bring it in if it gets below 50, ordinarily that is not too cold for an azalea, but this one is probably confused and has not had a dormant period. Don't worry about the soil now, what is done is done on the potting, just moniter the moisture like mentioned above, and water only when needed. Hopefully it will make it.
 

CR18

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@Mellow Mullet consider it officially outside! I have all my trees sitting under a nice couple of sets of trees with soft spotty sun coming through the leaves! I'll keep updates!

@sorce thank you for your help and advice!! We'll see where everything goes from here!!

@M. Frary it totally makes sense now!! Just like mellow mullet said, I don't think my poor tree ever went through dormancy and is super confused!! It's outside now!
 

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