Bonsai in potting soil

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I just got a Chinese elm from Amazon, and it came in regular potting soil. I want to wait until spring for repotting the bonsai, any advice on how to water it?
 
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Anyone?
 

ShadyStump

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Depends on how big a pot it's in, but a general rule with most trees in that sort of soil is to dig your finger down into the soil to check how damp it is, and water if the soil is dry more than inch or so down.
 

AcerAddict

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Is the tree alive? If so, then I reckon you can leave it in that soil for now. Being that it's primarily an indoor species, you may also be able to repot it in bonsai soil right now. A simple online search for "chinese elm care" returned literally tens of thousands of results. You may want to start there.

Plus, your two posts were only 35 minutes apart. Have a little more patience in waiting for a reply. Patience is a golden virtue in this hobby, and it is no doubt the toughest part of it to learn.
 

ShadyStump

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A tip for posting on forums like this, put as much detail and ask as many questions as you can in the first post.
Because we're often checking this on breaks at work, it keeps the questions and answers all neatly located in one place, and it also helps us know what we need to explain in more or less detail.
 

Cajunrider

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Is the tree alive? If so, then I reckon you can leave it in that soil for now. Being that it's primarily an indoor species, you may also be able to repot it in bonsai soil right now. A simple online search for "chinese elm care" returned literally tens of thousands of results. You may want to start there.

Plus, your two posts were only 35 minutes apart. Have a little more patience in waiting for a reply. Patience is a golden virtue in this hobby, and it is no doubt the toughest part of it to learn.
Chinese elm is primarily an outdoor species. Being so tough it can survive indoor longer than others. Unless proper artificial light is provided, it too will die.
 

TinyArt

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Depends on how big a pot it's in, but a general rule with most trees in that sort of soil is to dig your finger down into the soil to check how damp it is, and water if the soil is dry more than inch or so down.
A bamboo chopstick left stuck into the soil may help you check too --
(so humid where I am, mine got moldy!)

Your local library will have bonsai books, and the nearest bonsai clubs may have info on the web re: timing year-round care for your local climate, too.
 

rockm

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Arizona presents some challenges for bonsai. When to repot a subtropical elm is one of those challenges. If you're in Phoenix, there isn't much winter, so the tree may not go completely dormant (Deciduous trees are typically repotted as they begin to emerge from dormancy).

This question is best asked of someone from that climate. Have you contacted the Phoenix Bonsai Society? They have alot of onlin resources, including specific care for species:
 
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Depends on how big a pot it's in, but a general rule with most trees in that sort of soil is to dig your finger down into the soil to check how damp it is, and water if the soil is dry more than inch or so down.
Ok. How much should I water it if it's in regular potting soil?
 
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Maybe a cup of water? (I'm new to this hobby, don't really know anything about bonsai)
 

penumbra

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I am afraid to comment without more info so I skipped you by. Is it in a growers pot? bonsai pot? How big is it? How big in relation to pot and is it well rooted or just barely?
Pictures? Otherwise I can't say. I would be doing you an injustice to guess.
 
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It's in a growers pot. 8-10 in tall. 8 years old.
 
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Sorry for asking so many questions
 

ShadyStump

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Ok. How much should I water it if it's in regular potting soil?
Enough to wet the soil all the way down, but then leave it alone, just checking like I and others have mentioned.
That chopstick trick works great. Simple thing that did wonders once I actually started doing it.

If you haven't figured out the search function here yet, you can click on the magnifying glass icon on the top right of the page, and from there you can search this entire site for posts that answer your questions. It can be allot to sort through, and won't all deal with your exact situation, so still feel free to ask questions.
 

HorseloverFat

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Sorry for asking so many questions
That’s not the problem, traveller.

This is not a messenger-style platform.... it IS a message BOARD, though... gotta give us old farts time to grease the joints and focus through the bi-focals!!

There is much good information here.. and many people who are about to answer your questions... listen to them.

Pleasure to make your acquaintance!
 

penumbra

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Sorry for asking so many questions
That 's fine but what about the roots? Is it fully rooted? Are there roots coming out the bottom?
Simplest thing I can say with the information I have is let it dry slightly between watering, but in Arizona that Could mean a lot of watering depending upon the soil mix and the climate.
Where was it shipped from?
It should have a pretty stout trunk if its 8 years old. My three year olds were 3 feet tall prior to a cutback earlier this summer.
I know its a learning process, but the very last thing I would buy from Amazon is a bonsai. Or any plant for that matter. And this from someone who has made over 70 Amazon purchases in the past 6 months.
 

Shibui

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Maybe a cup of water? (I'm new to this hobby, don't really know anything about bonsai)
It is important to water thoroughly when you do water. Water should run through the soil and out the bottom of the pot t flush out stale air and waste products and introduce fresh for the roots so when you do water use enough water to wet the whole root ball thoroughly. Obviously that will depend on the size of the pot and how dry it was before watering. Extra water will just run through and away.
Constantly wet soil can cause problems so only water again when the soil has started to get close to dry. The cycles from wet to almost dry help reduce problems with roots. How often can change dramatically depending on ambient conditions, time of year, location, etc. Checking soil moisture is the only way to be sure. Use a finger or wood stick as mentioned earlier. Don't just rely on the look of the surface. You should gradually get a feel for the soil and your conditions for a guide to how often but remember it will change through the seasons.
It is not unusual to need to water a bonsai in a small pot twice a day in summer but not in winter as rainfall can provide all the water needed.
 

Katie0317

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Maybe post a photo?
If you bought it on Amazon and they said it was 8 years old, I'd say that's questionable. How much did you pay for it?
Is there a reason he couldn't put it in a small pot of quality potting soil to allow it to grow more?
Am curious what an 8 year old Chinese Elm from Amazon looks like.
In the future there are dozens of reputable online bonsai nurseries to buy from and Etsy has some nice trees for sale too. I've found three small mom and pop bonsai nurseries who are selling from our area and have invited us to come out to their nurseries to buy. They have beautiful bonsai trees for sale.
You might try looking at Etsy and typing Arizona into the search bar and see if any are near you.
A picture would help those far more expert than me to see what you got and it would help those new to bonsai to learn too.
 

Cofga

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It sounds like this is the one you bought. If so then I doubt Brussels sent it in standard potting soil as they are a reputable production facility. It should be ok, just don’t let it dry out, gove it plenty of light, or put it outside, they say it is an outdoor plant.

 
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