Bought a juniper from a street vendor...How can I fix this mistake

CheleJess1021

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I just bought this potted juniper from a street vendor to celebrate our marriage (Wed Oct 21st). He told me to only water once every two days lightly. From what I've read on y'alls beautiful forum is that is wrong and I should water it much more. Can anyone add to this? The soil looks good throughout. It just got cold in Dallas, TX. (8A) I'm wondering if I should keep it on my juliette balcony or will it thrive in the window I've pictured in this post.

We are also headed to our honeymoon in Miami from Wednesday the 28th to Sunday Nov 1st. I've posted a screenshot of the weather, pic of tree in the window sill, and pic of tree on the juliette. Should I leave it inside or out?

Any other advice would be much appreciated. This plant means a lot to me, so before giving up, I want to give it all I have. Thanks for listening to this dope!
 

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hinmo24t

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?? juniper are on lighter watering side. thuja heavier water...my j chinesis is outside and i never water it aside from rain,
or once a week in winter. during hot summer maybe every other day while everything else daily (or w.e.)
 

Mayank

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I just bought this potted juniper from a street vendor to celebrate our marriage (Wed Oct 21st). He told me to only water once every two days lightly. From what I've read on y'alls beautiful forum is that is wrong and I should water it much more. Can anyone add to this? The soil looks good throughout. It just got cold in Dallas, TX. (8A) I'm wondering if I should keep it on my juliette balcony or will it thrive in the window I've pictured in this post.

We are also headed to our honeymoon in Miami from Wednesday the 28th to Sunday Nov 1st. I've posted a screenshot of the weather, pic of tree in the window sill, and pic of tree on the juliette. Should I leave it inside or out?

Any other advice would be much appreciated. This plant means a lot to me, so before giving up, I want to give it all I have. Thanks for listening to this dope!
As you will find out from others there are many factors that have to be considered. For example, if your juliet balcony does not get sun but your window does then its the lesser of two evils.
I'm assuming that you do not have an outdoor space or yard, etc right?
I agree with "should always be outside in full sun" (which I certainly believe in and all my junis whether shimps or JGJ or whatever are always outside in full sun except for when I bring them in for a short period for viewing pleasure) but if your juliet balcony is the only available outdoors and it gets sun there then hey it is what it is.
Watering should be done when dry and not on a schedule. Poke your finger into the soil upto the first joint and pull it out and see if the tip of your finger is wet. If so then no water. Your soil appears to be pretty organic and a lot of people (myself included) prefer more inorganic soil. However, if Dallas/Plano is dry and 90s plus in summer then maybe some organic may help it from getting completely dry and dying. My junis get watered sometime twice a day if its sunny and 80s 90s so again no hard set guideline works for all sitchs. Watering it and bringing it in for the five days is probably the safest bet in case the balcony is full sun but I don't know that so I'm only guessing.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Congrats on your marriage.

While you are travelling, don't worry about the tree being outside. Its best off in your hotel rooms, where you can keep an eye on it. Don't leave it in closed parked car in the sun, put it down on the floor of the car, or in the trunk, keep it at temperatures comfortable for humans. A hot car can kill your tree.

When you water, take it to a sink. Flood the pot with water, let it drain for a few minutes, then flood it a second time. Let drain, then return to the windowsill or where ever you are growing the tree. Once you are back home, return it to the outside growing spot after watering.

Then check to see if it needs water daily. Actually only water it when the potting mix approaches being dry. If it is bone dry - that is "too late" you should have watered yesterday. If it is barely damp, that is the perfect time to water. Repeat the flooding the pot exercise. If the tree is still wet when you check, don't water, check again the next day.
 

Michael P

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We need to know what direction your window and balcony face. There is a huge difference between north facing and south facing. I am in Dallas too, and would probably water it well as Leo describes then leave it on the balcony during your honeymoon.

Have a wonderful time!
 
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Congrats.

Just double check the pot has drainage holes in the bottom before you do anything else.

Its a juniper so my care would be as follows:

1. Keep it outside in full sun.
2. Water when the top inch or so of soil is dry.
3. When you go away. Leave it outside. Water it well before you go and cover the top of the soil with some plastic to hold water in. (Only the top of the soil... leave the bottom open - I assumr there are drainage holes)
4. Dont think about pruning / shaping / styling / jinning / carving / etc for 1 yr of healthy growth.
5. Enjoy your honeymoon.
 

ShadyStump

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CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
As a relative newby myself I'll throw out the K.I.S.S rule: keep it simple, stupid. An INSANE amount of info around here, so don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Take it slow.
Looks like it was potted in regular nursery garden soil, not the more traditional bonsai soil that's more aggregate and inorganic material. That's fine for now, and also why you shouldn't water it as much as folks around here talk about. Your soil will retain allot more moisture. If you're decent with house plants, think of it the same way, but remember that the shallow pot will dry out slightly faster.
All plants like sunlight, especially trees, so keep it in the sunniest spot you have.
Don't worry about any of the artistic stuff like shaping, wiring and pruning until you have a handle on caring for it. I did the exact opposite and I made SO much firewood.
Otherwise, best of luck on both your new endeavors.
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

CheleJess1021

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As you will find out from others there are many factors that have to be considered. For example, if your juliet balcony does not get sun but your window does then its the lesser of two evils.
I'm assuming that you do not have an outdoor space or yard, etc right?
I agree with "should always be outside in full sun" (which I certainly believe in and all my junis whether shimps or JGJ or whatever are always outside in full sun except for when I bring them in for a short period for viewing pleasure) but if your juliet balcony is the only available outdoors and it gets sun there then hey it is what it is.
Watering should be done when dry and not on a schedule. Poke your finger into the soil upto the first joint and pull it out and see if the tip of your finger is wet. If so then no water. Your soil appears to be pretty organic and a lot of people (myself included) prefer more inorganic soil. However, if Dallas/Plano is dry and 90s plus in summer then maybe some organic may help it from getting completely dry and dying. My junis get watered sometime twice a day if its sunny and 80s 90s so again no hard set guideline works for all sitchs. Watering it and bringing it in for the five days is probably the safest bet in case the balcony is full sun but I don't know that so I'm only guessing.
Thanks so much! This advice is exactly what I'm looking for and a great stepping stone into the world of Bonsai! Hype level +10
 

CheleJess1021

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Congrats.

Just double check the pot has drainage holes in the bottom before you do anything else.

Its a juniper so my care would be as follows:

1. Keep it outside in full sun.
2. Water when the top inch or so of soil is dry.
3. When you go away. Leave it outside. Water it well before you go and cover the top of the soil with some plastic to hold water in. (Only the top of the soil... leave the bottom open - I assumr there are drainage holes)
4. Dont think about pruning / shaping / styling / jinning / carving / etc for 1 yr of healthy growth.
5. Enjoy your honeymoon.

Thank you!!! Sun seems to be the consensus. Boy am I glad I found y'all!

Yes there is one drainage hole at the bottom. Do you prefer a certain pot over others? Why or why not? Is it the same premise with Beta Fish (Will she grow bigger/faster in a larger pot?)

Would some shrink wrap work over the soil?

It's going to be hard to not get all mr. miyagi on it with scissors, but I'll heed to your advice Sensei.

Thank you for the well wishes. I may live stream Narnia(juniper) while we're gone.
 

Colorado

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I would water it right before you leave and just leave it inside while you’re away. True - Bonsai should not be kept inside generally but a couple days inside is not going to kill your tree. I do this all the time with shohin junipers when I have to travel for work.

If it’s left outside with no one to check on it, it could dry all the way out and then you’ve got a dead juniper.

I’d water it before you leave and then get it outside when you return from your trip. I definitely would not plastic wrap it which creates and anaerobic environment. Just my 2 cents.
 

hinmo24t

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Thank you!!! Sun seems to be the consensus. Boy am I glad I found y'all!

Yes there is one drainage hole at the bottom. Do you prefer a certain pot over others? Why or why not? Is it the same premise with Beta Fish (Will she grow bigger/faster in a larger pot?)

Would some shrink wrap work over the soil?

It's going to be hard to not get all mr. miyagi on it with scissors, but I'll heed to your advice Sensei.

Thank you for the well wishes. I may live stream Narnia(juniper) while we're gone.
thatll be an exhilarating live stream ;)
cool tree - good luck with Narnia
 

Tieball

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Thanks! I'm all in! I talk to my tree every morning and tell her how beautiful she is and strong she's going to be. Her name is Narnia and the ceramic frog that sits on the soil is Prince Caspian. My wife thinks I'm batty.
Your wife has a good point.
 

Michael P

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Can you can stand one more suggestion? The forecast for Dallas while you are away from home is cooler than normal, but no freezing temperatures. If you are worried about it drying out (southern exposure?) you could fill a cheap plastic nursery pot with mulch and put the bonsai pot inside it buried a little deeper than the rim of the pot. Let a thin layer of mulch cover the surface of the soil in the bonsai pot. Then water bonsai and mulch before leaving. This will protect the tree from drying out and also from any extremes of temperature.

Having grown bonsai in Dallas for 45 years, I am obviously in the "leave4 it outside" camp. Please let us know how it looks when you get back. And just a word of caution, many of us kill our first bonsai. If yours does not survive the honeymoon it is much more likely caused by mistreatment before you bought it than anything you did.
 

Mayank

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Guys its basically 4 days. Leaving it inside is not going to hurt it for four days!
And since we still don't know how much light that balcony gets (since OP did not share that info) bringing it in reduces any risk of drying out or damage from any storms or crazy stuff that can happen when he's gone.
Someone said earlier outside 100% of the time. NOT TRUE!!! I always bring my lovelies in to enjoy for brief periods. I'll bring each one to my office at least from M-F (so 5 days) at least once a year for people to enjoy like my elm when it is in fall colors or my hornbeam or my junis for parties etc and then they stay in for a day or two cause they look so pretty (of course Covid changed all that). So yeah maybe 95-98% but not 100% :p
 

hinmo24t

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Guys its basically 4 days. Leaving it inside is not going to hurt it for four days!
And since we still don't know how much light that balcony gets (since OP did not share that info) bringing it in reduces any risk of drying out or damage from any storms or crazy stuff that can happen when he's gone.
Someone said earlier outside 100% of the time. NOT TRUE!!! I always bring my lovelies in to enjoy for brief periods. I'll bring each one to my office at least from M-F (so 5 days) at least once a year for people to enjoy like my elm when it is in fall colors or my hornbeam or my junis for parties etc and then they stay in for a day or two cause they look so pretty (of course Covid changed all that). So yeah maybe 95-98% but not 100% :p
some cool perspective
 
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