philart

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Have any or you read Brooklyn Botanic Garden's book "Indoor Bonsai", published 2002?

I'm curious the thoughts of the membership here and experiences of people growing indoors, especially those growing year round. I read the book about a year ago via my local library, then recently picked up used copy via Amazon.

I live in a condo and have been growing as bonsai a schefflera, a ficus, and a portulacaria for a few years now. With encouragement of this book I've been considering branching out to sub-tropicals like pomegranate and chinese elm. The book argues that any number of tropical and sub-tropical species are suitable for indoor bonsai, though indoor conditions need to be adjusted for their needs, the plants can't just be treated as any ole houseplant. However, I've seen lots of comments on threads here that absolutely poo-poo growing sub-tropicals indoors year round.

Anyway, I'd love to entertain a discussion of indoor bonsai growing generally. Evidence/experience based contributions to the thread would be much appreciated. Outside of the BBG book and Jerry Meislik's ficus page, does anyone else know of good online resources for indoor bonsai?
 

Redwood Ryan

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IMO, I wouldn't trust a 14 year old book for information on growing indoors. Lighting has come a long way since then.

I'm not saying it's good, but you can check out my blog in my signature for growing Ficus indoors.
 

philart

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I just found that the BBG book's article on Chinese Elm that's making me consider it is re-published here.
 

philart

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IMO, I wouldn't trust a 14 year old book for information on growing indoors. Lighting has come a long way since then.
With the better lighting available now, wouldn't that imply that growing indoors should be even easier now? The plants certainly haven't changed that much since then.

Thanks for pointing out your blog.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Well with sub-tropicals the problem isn't so much the light as it is the lack of a dormancy, especially with Chinese Elm. In order to truly thrive it should have a rest period where it drops its leaves. Nothing truly grows year round, Ficus included. I notice a slow in growth around the winter months, but when it becomes spring (and the trees are still indoors) growth picks back up.
 

petegreg

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Indoor bonsaing... I think the most important think is to know what species are tropical and what are subtropical, their needs and the conditions they grow naturally in. And I can only share some of my 5-6 years experiences. I keep many species mentioned as indoor bonsai in many many books. Because of outside space available.

The species kept outside during growing season, but providing wintering in a cold room:

some elms (U. parvifolia)
Zelkova nire and serrata
Quercus suber and ilex
Pistacia lentiscus
Syzygium paniculatum
Rosmarinus officinalis
Callistemon citrinus
Punica granatum and nana
Nerium oleander
some acacias from Egypt
Albizia julibrissin
Rhododendron indicum Osakazuki
Ficus carica
Pinus pinea
Olea europaea and sylvestris
Fuchsia magellanica
Murraya paniculata
Camelia sinensis



The species kept inside but providing winter dormancy in the cold light room:

some elms (the rest of U. parvifolia)
Buxus harlandii
Podocarpus macrophyllus
Ligustrum sinensis and japonicum
Loropetalum chin. var. Rubrum

...and here is the list of species grown inside all year round, some under the grow lights:


figs - benji, triangularis, pumila, retusa
Sageretia theezans
Serissa foetidae
Carmona macrophylla
Eugenia myrtifolia
Malpighia glabra
Murraya paniculata
Duranta erecta
Zanthoxylum pipperitum
Portulacaria, Crassula
Operculicarya decaryi
 

coh

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If you're not familiar with him, check out Jack Wikle at http://www.fukubonsai.com/2b2a2a.html

He is one of the few that has had documented success with some of the "won't work" species, like juniper, cotoneaster, pyracantha, boxwood. Most of his trees are very small and are grown under standard fluorescent shop lighting fixtures.

Personally, I have been trying to grow a few tropicals indoors under lights - some ficus, a jaboticaba, brush cherry, water jasmine - with varying degrees of success. But they all spend the summer outside (up here, roughly mid/late May to September). The ones that seem to do best for me are the jaboticaba and the brush cherry. All of them start to look a little rough by the end of the winter, though, despite the fact that I use high intensity lighting (metal halide and LED).
 

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Ive kept Tiger bark ficus (Ficus retusa), Willow leaf ficus (Ficus nerifolia) and some Brazilian rain trees inside under lights for the last year, 7 or so months.
Most are under 6 four foot 32 wat T5 daylight florescent and a couple of the BRT are under 3 of those bulbs. The lights are on from around 7AM until 9 PM.
They all grew somewhat, but my feeling is that they would all be much happier if I had them outside during the summer like I did in past years.
Ive just gotten some additional benching and they will have space outside this year.
 

amcoffeegirl

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I have a several ficus indoors. They grow slowly but they do thrive. I have no special lights only a double wide southwest window. I think if I had a sunroom or 3 season porch it would be perfect. I'm not sure I would like to grow outside. Bugs, pests, rodents are not an issue inside. Plus no one can steal them. They are not valuable- only to me.
I also have 3 ficus at work
No outside lights- only growing under the t8 office lights. Sitting on the top shelf of my cubicle. Doing well.
Growth is a little slower than in my apt.
After comparing photos I can see that internodes are farther apart on indoor growth and leaves are a little larger. Makes sense
 
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sorce

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I rock 4 4ft fluorescents for 16-17hr's a day....radiators for heat, so less "indoor dry", and have success with Benjamin, that Wal-Mart ficus, and citrus.

I think a colder windowsill for winter with no lights would be good for subtropicals.

I only move inside to outside and back ONCE....would do the same to the windowsill.

Advances in lighting could prove a detriment if you don't research.

And if you let mites take hold...
You will have 0 success.

Other than that....you're golden.

Sorce
 

petegreg

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Yes, spider mites, scale insects, aphids and sometimes white flies brought to home love the trees grown inside.
 

philart

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The BBG folks recommend 6-8 weeks of lower temps and light to support a rest period for sub-tropicals (that they distinguish from dormancy for temperate plants )

I guess it depends on the plant, but many are identified as needing nighttime lows in the 50s or 60s. Not unreasonable temps to achieve indoors even in an apartment (closed off room or micro climate area).
 

petegreg

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Yes, those kept outside go dormant naturally and then they are placed in a cold room. And those grown inside are moved to the cold room in the same time. The cold room in my case is a laundry with winter temps 2-10 ℃ achievable.
 

Gunstock

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Indoor bonsaing... I think the most important think is to know what species are tropical and what are subtropical, their needs and the conditions they grow naturally in. And I can only share some of my 5-6 years experiences. I keep many species mentioned as indoor bonsai in many many books. Because of outside space available.

The species kept outside during growing season, but providing wintering in a cold room:

some elms (U. parvifolia)
Zelkova nire and serrata
Quercus suber and ilex
Pistacia lentiscus
Syzygium paniculatum
Rosmarinus officinalis
Callistemon citrinus
Punica granatum and nana
Nerium oleander
some acacias from Egypt
Albizia julibrissin
Rhododendron indicum Osakazuki
Ficus carica
Pinus pinea
Olea europaea and sylvestris
Fuchsia magellanica
Murraya paniculata
Camelia sinensis



The species kept inside but providing winter dormancy in the cold light room:

some elms (the rest of U. parvifolia)
Buxus harlandii
Podocarpus macrophyllus
Ligustrum sinensis and japonicum
Loropetalum chin. var. Rubrum

...and here is the list of species grown inside all year round, some under the grow lights:


figs - benji, triangularis, pumila, retusa
Sageretia theezans
Serissa foetidae
Carmona macrophylla
Eugenia myrtifolia
Malpighia glabra
Murraya paniculata
Duranta erecta
Zanthoxylum pipperitum
Portulacaria, Crassula
Operculicarya decaryi
Scientific names don't list or translate in Wikipedia, where is the bonsai Wikipedia?
Quick answers the tree sales are on the market.
 

petegreg

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@Gunstock, don't try to find eth in Wikipedia. Google search is closer.
For example google search for Malpighia glabra:
Screenshot_2016-05-20-09-12-45.png
 

M. Frary

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some elms (U. parvifolia)
Zelkova nire and serrata
O.K.
some elms (the rest of U. parvifolia)
There are others?
These elms are like some carpets?
Indoor or outdoor?
When they say the rest,which ones?
That tells me something about whoever compiled this list.
Like,maybe they don't know what they're talking about.
 

petegreg

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Yes Mike, the others are there. All are chinese elms, more trees (pieces). I gotta add cork bark chinese elm (U. P. 'Corticosa') to the first group.
 

petegreg

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I know, they would be happier outside. Some people say the indoor bonsai books are stupid. So I have got and have read lot of them, followed online care sheets... I'm not an advocate of indoor growing, but it works. I've just taken a pics of some trees I have mentioned above...sorry for mobile pics.
IMAG0884.jpg IMAG0886.jpg IMAG0889.jpg IMAG0887.jpg
 

M. Frary

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How do you determine which chinese elm is to be inside or outside?
Flip a coin?
 

petegreg

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Talking about CHEs now...depending on space available on my balconies and indoor window sills. No matter of elm Alfa, beta... But one shown in my previous post has been kept inside for 6 years. Sure in the growing season and providing winter dormancy in the cold room. Both sides of my coin. Nothing less nothing more. I think we should ask our officials to pass the bills of banning the sellers that sell the trees as indoor, ask money back from the authors and refund all people who think they did their best and the tree died.:)
And my wife says the trees belong to the nature and should grow untouched, so should we stop growing them in pots and abandon this beautiful hobby?
 
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