Just When I Thought I Had It All Figured Out

Ohioisonfire

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Good evening ladies and gents,

A few months ago I bought a couple junipers, a ficus ("ginseng" I know I know..) and a schefflera. All of course before I knew what to look for, or anything at all for that matter. Well the junipers I hacked up and they seem to be doing fine outside, to my surprise. The tropcials are inside in the sunniest spot.

When I bought the ficus it was in a pot with no holes so it was repotted and the schefflera was root bound so it was repotted as well. In of course ...... potting mix from Menards! It worked great in the summer and would dry out in a couple days but now that it's dark and cold all the time they don't seem to be drying out anymore. I watered them a day and two weeks ago and they are STILL pretty darn wet when I check with the trusty chopstick.

Being the young uneducated noob that i am, I come here to ask you:

should I panick and try to get these guys in a more appropriate mix? or is this just normal for tropcials indoors in the winter?
 

aml1014

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Now is not the time to be repotting tropicals if you don't have a greenhouse. They'll be fine, just let them dry out some between waterings, next summer you'll be safe to repot into a suitable soil mix.

Aaron
 

Solange

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I generally agree with Aaron. But... A half of a month is a long time to be wet! The soil could probably be improved, but at this point what concerns me more is the question of how big are these pots. Meaning what is the overall soil volume to the volume of roots? I am guessing you have way too much potting mix for the plants. At least that is what it sounds like. Is it possible to pop them out massage some of the soil off and pot into something smaller without disturbing the roots too much?
 

Ohioisonfire

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Thats in line with what I've been reading. It just seemed as though 2 weeks and no where near dried out was excessive. I am hoping to set up some lights after christmas. Even if what I have isn't worth it or doesn't survive I can be more prepared for the future.
 

Ohioisonfire

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That is very true Solange, thinking it would be a good thing I put them in pots that were more than likely too big. A lot of soil for the amount of roots.
 

Solange

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One thing you'll get a hang of over time is the changing water needs of your trees. I am always shocked when I bring in my tropicals for the winter and how the watering changes, takes me a while to relearn every year haha. You'll even begin to notice the difference before and after a big prune. What you were getting away with in terms of soil volume and type in the summer is now I think proving to be detrimental because of those changing needs. Let us know how it turns out and what you decide to do. Ficus and schefs tend to be pretty bulletproof, and they can hang with being too wet or too dry for a while, but it does sound worrying.
 

sorce

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Now is not the time to be repotting tropicals if you don't have a greenhouse
What if you HAVE a greenhouse....
But it is not built?
Or a model one?

Just kidding.

I don't have a greenhouse....
Just a couple lights on close 16hrs.
I could repot anytime of the year.

@Ohioisonfire You already know you picked subpar material.....

So why not repot?

If you don't, you get to practice your chopstick technique all winter....
With a blah tree that may or may not live.

Woop de Doo!

If you do repot, you get a chance to understand roots, how much and how they grew, you get to practice repotting, and you get to generally fiddle.
With a blah tree that may or may not live.

I mean, unless you get a huge kick out of a dirty chopstick.......!

Do it!

No Harm No learn!

Sorce
 

aml1014

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What if you HAVE a greenhouse....
But it is not built?
Or a model one?

Just kidding.

I don't have a greenhouse....
Just a couple lights on close 16hrs.
I could repot anytime of the year.

@Ohioisonfire You already know you picked subpar material.....

So why not repot?

If you don't, you get to practice your chopstick technique all winter....
With a blah tree that may or may not live.

Woop de Doo!

If you do repot, you get a chance to understand roots, how much and how they grew, you get to practice repotting, and you get to generally fiddle.
With a blah tree that may or may not live.

I mean, unless you get a huge kick out of a dirty chopstick.......!

Do it!

No Harm No learn!

Sorce
I guess I'll have to agree with you. Remember my ficus thread, in which I repotted the tree 4 times within 6 months? Well that Benji is a G, and it's taught me a few things, like how tough a tree really can be.
@Ohioisonfire Do the repots, all or nothing I always say. If they live, great, if they die, go get some nicer trees!

Aaron
 

GrimLore

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should I panick and try to get these guys in a more appropriate mix? or is this just normal for tropcials indoors in the winter?
A plant staying "wet" is not normal but both of those are pretty tough. Instead of repotting yet again I would suggest you get them near a very sunny window with good air movement until you get a light. Also - Prop the pots up an inch or two allowing air flow underneath and the drain holes to be functional for now. It actually sounds like a part of the problem is the drain holes are sitting on a solid surface... ;) Once they dry up a bit go lightly on the water. Ours get watered every 1 to 3 days depending on the plant indoors but it is a light watering and they seem to do fine.

Grimmy
 

Ohioisonfire

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Thanks for all of the suggestions guys, I am going to go home tonight and look things over and try to decide what I should do. Leaning more towards the re pot just trying to decide into what.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@Ohioisonfire - You have it correct, only water when the plants actually need it, and if it once a month, that is okay.

I would not repot, - knowing that is ''best practice''- if your growing area for the tropicals is warm and sunny you can probably get away with it, but your issue points out something many forget when growing indoors.

AIR MOVEMENT - I have been growing orchids & bonsai under lights for over 20 years, and currently have over 1000 orchids under lights. (Bonsai is my hobby away from my other hobby - orchids). In each of my light gardens, and near the main window sill growing area, I have FANS. Pick up a cheap 10 or 12 inch fan from local box store, and set it up to blow air across the growing area. In my light garden, grassy leaves will wave in the breeze no mater where you set a plant down. The goal is a light breeze, but vast majority of plants could tolerate constant gale force breeze if they got enough water.

Have a fan keeping air moving will help your soil to dry out more quickly and uniformly, it will help get oxygen into the soil, it will help keep pests down, spider mite and mealy bugs have a harder time getting going if there is good air movement. A fan will also help you to keep the pots & leaves cool in full sun. Sun on a windowsill can heat up plastic pots to the point of cooking the roots, a fan will help with this problem. My orchids grew much better once I added fans to the collection.

I leave my fans on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nothing fancy, and really a great improvement to my indoor horticulture.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I forgot to add the most important benefit of adding fans - they really help keep fungal and bacterial infections at bay. I never had to use a fungicide indoors, once I added fans. This is key.

I even have a fan running 24/7 in my unheated well house, where I winter my marginally hardy bonsai. It is cold in there, nothing is growing, but the fan keeps everything free of fungal rots. It does mean I might have to water the plants in the well house, but usually I only have to water once every month - but I do check once a week.

So add a fan for fungus and bacterial disease control, this is the number one benefit of adding a fan.
 

AlainK

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I even have a fan running 24/7 in my unheated well house
Wow, impressing!

I can see you are a real nature lover, even going to extreme means to show your love of nature - so far as to deplete the rest of the world for your essential, personal, ecological project.

All right, kidding aside: it's as if your aim in life was to raise children in wheelchairs and breathing assistance 7/24 : I have friends who have to, but it wasn't a choice.

But, OK, you've chosen to create and raise a freak, no problem.

 

Solange

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Wow, impressing!

I can see you are a real nature lover, even going to extreme means to show your love of nature - so far as to deplete the rest of the world for your essential, personal, ecological project.

All right, kidding aside: it's as if your aim in life was to raise children in wheelchairs and breathing assistance 7/24 : I have friends who have to, but it wasn't a choice.

But, OK, you've chosen to create and raise a freak, no problem.

That's harsh man! What do you do to overwinter, just take a piss on your trees every now and then and threaten them with the burn pile? Lol
 

AlainK

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What do you do to overwinter, just take a piss on your trees every now and then
;)

You have good sense of humour, I appreciate.:cool:

I think I already posted something like:

I put my trees in the back of my garden. I dug out some 20-30 cm deep by 5 by 2 metres, put some fabric on the ground, and dried zelkova leaves up to the first branches. For higher pots, I use pine bark too.

The idea is to keep the roots at about 10 cm (4 inches) below "soil" level. It's usually well enough...

As for taking a piss on my trees, I usually do it in the spring when they need and extra shot of nitrogen. :p
 
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