Bonsai Dying.. Help!

BulmasApples

Seedling
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
She is a pink pixie bonsai tree that is only 2 years old. She has not blossomed yet, but has been very healthy and full until last week. She has always been an indoor tree, but sits near windows. We moved at the end of July and she took to the move well. I prune her about every month. About 2 weeks ago I noticed teeny tiny little white bugs in her soil. They're small enough that I barely noticed them and some of her leaves started getting some spots, so I decided to repot her to get rid of the bugs. Last Monday I took her outside on the deck to repot. I cleaned her pot out , replaced all the soil with Miracle-Gro (which I have since learned is not the best soil for a bonsai tree), and to ensure all bugs were gone I rinsed her roots in the water from the spigot outside so she was nice and clean. I planted her in the soil and added water so I could pack the soil down. Two days later, her leaves started falling off profusely. Even the slightest touch or blow of air would make her branches bare. What few leaves she has left are turning dark and wilting. The tiny new growth are dried and dead. I was afraid maybe I have over watered her, although I don't feel I gave her any more than I had in the past, so for the past 5 days I haven't given her any water and the soil is still slightly moist on top. I do not have a green thumb, so I was proud to have her survive for so long, but I had planned this to be a lifetime tree, so any help will be greatly appreciated. I will add some pictures of before, the bugs and spots on leaves, and her current situation. Thank you.
 

Attachments

GGB

Omono
Messages
1,528
Reaction score
1,476
Location
Bethlehem, PA
USDA Zone
6b
Might be mites. That's what my mint plant looked like after it got attacked. They like still air, I hear. you can manage them pretty easily but it's super hard to get rid of them for good. At least that's what I've found. If it even is mites. I'm sure you'll get some opinions from others
 

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
3,048
Reaction score
6,545
Location
Alhambra,IL
for the past 5 days I haven't given her any water and the soil is still slightly moist on top.
That is not a good sign. Bougies are tough, but staying too wet, for too long can be a death sentence. And you are correct, regular potting soil is not good for them, they need a fast draining mix. Maybe get some DE and chopstick it into the soil, to help dry it out and lighten up the soil? Trying to repot again now, could do it in. Best of luck, bougies are my favorite.
 

BulmasApples

Seedling
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
I’m pretty sure all the bugs are gone for now. My main concern is finding out why she’s dying and how to keep her alive. I fear she only has days left.
 

ajm55555

Shohin
Messages
391
Reaction score
297
Location
Stuttgart DE, via Verona/Padova IT, Atlanta GA.
USDA Zone
7b
Spider mites will cause the leaves to turn yellow at some point. It doesn't look like you got them but you can check under the leaves and rub your finger on the surface. If it gets dark stripes you just squished some.
As @GGB said they're easy to control if you regularly spend some time to remove them (water, etc) but hard to get rid of for good. But that's what you have to do with some patience otherwise they'll kill the plant.
 

Cable

Chumono
Messages
904
Reaction score
1,211
Location
Sheffield Village, Ohio
USDA Zone
6a
Ah, Bougainvilleas. I'm not well versed with tropicals and hadn't heard of "pink pixie". I thought maybe it was a Escallonia. Good that it isn't.

I can't tell from the pics. I thought maybe root aphids or root mealybugs but they don't look right for that. Hopefully someone here can help!

Welcome to the BN forums, @BulmasApples. Sorry it isn't under better circumstances!
 

BulmasApples

Seedling
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
She is a pink pixie bonsai tree that is only 2 years old. She has not blossomed yet, but has been very healthy and full until last week. She has always been an indoor tree, but sits near windows. We moved at the end of July and she took to the move well. I prune her about every month. About 2 weeks ago I noticed teeny tiny little white bugs in her soil. They're small enough that I barely noticed them and some of her leaves started getting some spots, so I decided to repot her to get rid of the bugs. Last Monday I took her outside on the deck to repot. I cleaned her pot out , replaced all the soil with Miracle-Gro (which I have since learned is not the best soil for a bonsai tree), and to ensure all bugs were gone I rinsed her roots in the water from the spigot outside so she was nice and clean. I planted her in the soil and added water so I could pack the soil down. Two days later, her leaves started falling off profusely. Even the slightest touch or blow of air would make her branches bare. What few leaves she has left are turning dark and wilting. The tiny new growth are dried and dead. I was afraid maybe I have over watered her, although I don't feel I gave her any more than I had in the past, so for the past 5 days I haven't given her any water and the soil is still slightly moist on top. I do not have a green thumb, so I was proud to have her survive for so long, but I had planned this to be a lifetime tree, so any help will be greatly appreciated. I will add some pictures of before, the bugs and spots on leaves, and her current situation. Thank you.

Just to be clear, the bugs are gone and my concern is reviving the bonsai which has declined since being repotted.
 

theone420

Shohin
Messages
442
Reaction score
468
Location
Palm Springs, CA. (USDA Zone 9b/10a)
Just to be clear, the bugs are gone and my concern is reviving the bonsai which has declined since being repotted.
let the soil dry before watering. the soil you are using looks like it retains a lot of water and that is not necessarily great for a bougie. It is best to pot in a well draining soil(i have some in straight pumice) At this point I wouldnt mess with again until spring so just be careful not to over water and let the top inch or so dry before watering. In spring when it starts to show life again you can repot into a well draining soil but dont stress the roots to much since you have already stressed it before winter. Bougies are tough and if it makes it through the winter you should be ok.
 

JudyB

Queen of the Nuts
Messages
11,806
Reaction score
15,856
Location
South East of Cols. OH
USDA Zone
5b
If you have a seedling heat mat, I would suggest using it under your plant. Sometimes bottom heat can help roots regenerate. And it may help dry out the soil a bit faster as well, which is a bonus since the mix you have it in is the opposite of what you really want for bonsai. Good luck!
 

Gustavo Martins

Chumono
Messages
781
Reaction score
962
Location
Azores
I have had a bougie for the past 8 years. Outside. Not a bonsai. It's potted on regular potting soiling that's it. I trim it now and then just to makeshift smaller and water it when I remember. Never changed soil which with time has decreased exposing roots. The bougie just thrives on neglect. It blooms 3-4 times a year. Actually it's currently full of Bracts. Not sure this helps but this is my experience. Can you put it outside? Where do you live?
 

BulmasApples

Seedling
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
I have had a bougie for the past 8 years. Outside. Not a bonsai. It's potted on regular potting soiling that's it. I trim it now and then just to makeshift smaller and water it when I remember. Never changed soil which with time has decreased exposing roots. The bougie just thrives on neglect. It blooms 3-4 times a year. Actually it's currently full of Bracts. Not sure this helps but this is my experience. Can you put it outside? Where do you live?
I love in Ohio so it’s about to get real cold and eventually snowy. If I plant it outside it will have to wait until spring. What is the difference between a bougie and a bonsai?
 

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
3,048
Reaction score
6,545
Location
Alhambra,IL
I love in Ohio so it’s about to get real cold and eventually snowy. If I plant it outside it will have to wait until spring. What is the difference between a bougie and a bonsai?
Bougie=bougainvillea, the plant that you have. Pink pixie is a dwarf variety. Living in Ohio, you will not be able to "plant" it outside, it will need winter protection, inside. But once nighttime temps are consistently above 50 in the spring, put it outside until fall, with as much sun as you can give it.
 

Cable

Chumono
Messages
904
Reaction score
1,211
Location
Sheffield Village, Ohio
USDA Zone
6a
On that note, the topic at the next meeting of the Cleveland Bonsai Club is Winter Care for bonsai. Feel free to stop by! And you can also bring your pixie for some in-person advice.
 

JudyB

Queen of the Nuts
Messages
11,806
Reaction score
15,856
Location
South East of Cols. OH
USDA Zone
5b
I love in Ohio so it’s about to get real cold and eventually snowy. If I plant it outside it will have to wait until spring. What is the difference between a bougie and a bonsai?
Ohio is a large state with many climates, but I don't think bougies can be outside year round in any of them...
 

Cadillactaste

Neagari Gal
Messages
12,368
Reaction score
11,284
Location
NE Ohio: zone 5b (USA)
USDA Zone
5b
On a note of watering...when there are less leaves. Water accordingly...by watering less. When it has more foliage then it will need more water. Boogies are usually hardy trees. If you offer it the right after care I would imagine it would recover. A seedling mat as Judy suggested could offer it a good chance.
 

BulmasApples

Seedling
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Bougie=bougainvillea, the plant that you have. Pink pixie is a dwarf variety. Living in Ohio, you will not be able to "plant" it outside, it will need winter protection, inside. But once nighttime temps are consistently above 50 in the spring, put it outside until fall, with as much sun as you can give it.
Thanks for the info!
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom