Leaves turning yellow

Fishyfish22

Seedling
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Location
Chicago Illinois
USDA Zone
5b
I brought my tropicals indoor for the winter and the leaves to most of them have started turning yellow.

Is this normal? I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, this is my first winter trying thisb
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
26,767
Reaction score
35,676
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
What situation did you bring them to?

I like to purposefully defoliate upon bringing them in, but if your situation isn't better than the last thing they felt outside, they might not take it well.

Once you bring em in from 50 to 72 degrees, with appropriate lighting, they'll respond well.

Sorce
 

Traken

Shohin
Messages
252
Reaction score
472
Location
Western Chicago 'burbs
USDA Zone
5b
What types of tropicals do you have and what sort of environment did you move them to? A lot of tropicals can really resent being moved around, so you may have some yellowing/dropped leaves, but it’d probably be best to know what you’re moving them to. I have a tropical mimosa (leucaena leucocephala) that loves throwing off leaves when I bring it indoors. It’ll recover though.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
26,767
Reaction score
35,676
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
The equation is this.

Bring them in and the tree takes 2 weeks to drop inactive yellowing leaves, then 2 weeks to grow back indoor leaves that work.

If you remove them yourself upon bringing them in, BIP...

It takes weeks to grow new indoor leaves that work.

So it save you 2 weeks.

Or more if you include the trees susceptibility to other disease in a weakened state.

Defoiloation of tropicals upon bringing them indoors is usually best.

Surely upon bringing them outside.

Sorce
 

coh

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,497
Reaction score
6,073
Location
Rochester, NY
USDA Zone
6
I brought my tropicals indoor for the winter and the leaves to most of them have started turning yellow.

Is this normal? I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, this is my first winter trying thisb
Really need to know what kind of trees you have.

Here's what works for me - I have 2 willow leaf ficuses. In the fall I keep them outside as long as possible (they're still outside, though I have to bring them into the garage most nights now...35 last night, brrr). I don't defoliate when I bring them in but I do trim back to open the canopy and allow more light into the interior. I then keep them in a cool room (50s night, 60-65 day) in front of a window. They usually maintain their foliage for a couple of months, but then start to drop leaves later in the winter. So I defoliate them when I put them back out in the spring and get a solid growth during the summer.

I used to put them under bright (metal halide) lighting but even then I wasn't able to get much growth during the winter, and they'd still start looking ragged after a couple of months. So I've pretty much given up the idea of getting any significant growth during that time. If you have better conditions perhaps you can get decent growth.

I also have some microcarpa type ficuses which seem to hold their leaves better. Again, I don't defoliate and the two larger ones go in a cold mudroom where there is some light and temps range in the upper 30s to near 50 for most of the winter. They are too large for my grow light area and seem to tolerate this treatment pretty well.

Other tropicals can be pretty touchy (serissa, fukien tea, etc) so again - tell us what you have.
 

Carol 83

Masterpiece
Messages
4,451
Reaction score
10,274
Location
Alhambra,IL
I don't defoliate mine, when they come in, right or wrong. The bougies will usually shed some leaves, but recover pretty quickly. The willow leaf ficus will drop leaves eventually, no matter how much light it has.:(. The BRT's don't much mind coming in at all. The Natal Plum's also show no ill effects from coming inside. Different species react differently. That's why, as mentioned above, if would be helpful to know what trees you are talking about.
 

Fishyfish22

Seedling
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Location
Chicago Illinois
USDA Zone
5b
What situation did you bring them to?

I like to purposefully defoliate upon bringing them in, but if your situation isn't better than the last thing they felt outside, they might not take it well.
Sorce
indoors the average day temperature is 80 degees/60 degrees night, approximately 60-80% humidity throughout the day.
This is what i'm using for lighting: all 8 bulbs 14 hours a day

Outside, the temperature was dropping to the 40s/50s, nighttime. as far as light goes I was using the sun.
I did not defoliate, would that be appropriate to do now or would it be too late?

What types of tropicals do you have and what sort of environment did you move them to? A lot of tropicals can really resent being moved around, so you may have some yellowing/dropped leaves, but it’d probably be best to know what you’re moving them to. I have a tropical mimosa (leucaena leucocephala) that loves throwing off leaves when I bring it indoors. It’ll recover though.
As far as total Trees I have indoors, the species are
Azaleas, dwarf black olive, Brazilian rain tree, Chinese Elm, Chinese Sweet Plum, Dwarf Barbados Cherry, Dwarf Jade, Ficus Too Little, Serissa Foetidae, and Surinam Cherry

species with with leaves yellowing are
dwarf black olive, Chinese Elm, and Serissa Foetidae

Here is the dwarf black olive and Serissa currenly for example. None of them were yellow before bringing them inside

Strange thing is with the serissa only the inner leaves are yellowing whereas most seem to be for the olive
266625266626
 

Forsoothe!

Masterpiece
Messages
3,652
Reaction score
4,182
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
6b
I've done every possible action, all the way to zero action in my small greenhouse with almost every tree on the planet. I've repotted them, or not. Feed or not. Trimmed heavily, or lightly. Sprayed everything for bugs immediately, or brought them all in and treated as necessary. They all have their own regimen, I suppose, but my results have all been about the same no matter what I do. They look OK until an extended cloudy period in late November or December and then go to hell in a handbasket. We can have several weeks of cloudy every day, or last winter we had a lot of sun coming out at 4 PM and sundown by 5 or 6. Not useful. Figs don't look as bad as most, but they don't look good, either. Bougies will try to refoliate, over and over, and every time I bump one all the leaves fall off. BRT same, same. I've decided to just trim to fit them into space alloted and treat as indicated when I do that this year. They won't look any worse, or any better I'm betting, and I'll just lollygag my way through winter and do more of the heavy lifting closer to spring when they start to perk-up in ~March.

Hoseplants I treat differently. Just figs and a Coffee arabic. I start adapting them to low light about the middle of August and they just park. They are in a south window and an east window, neither of which are what I would call good light in winter, just light. They slowly defoliate one leaf a day until it's time to go out again in May. The Coffee is un-bonsai-like because of bigger leaves which I tried to reduce by defoliation this year which was a mistake. Yes, the leaves are smaller, but not small. They respond poorly to wiring. It took forever to refoliate, kind-of, and only began to look more sprightly since coming in the house. They are handsome and real shade plants and do very well inside the house. I don't think I'll put them out next summer at all.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
26,767
Reaction score
35,676
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
80 degees/
That's a little hot IMO, I feel there is quite the delicate balance of the temps we leave them out till, and the temps we bring them into.
Sure sun is great, but if full sun for one more week outside means too high of a temp differential, that one week of full sun negates it's purpose. Especially since sun power is lessening, and you have good lights.

Lessen the differential, and you'll likely get less leaf drop.

However, the problem I see, and the problem with me giving this advice, is, I tend to forget "tropicals" for me, is really just a couple ficus.

That said, the list of trees you are keeping indoors is near the entire list of trees every book has ever stated is "tropical" or "indoor" bonsai. All of which will require a bit different treatment. I would be hasty to narrow it down to a couple that are easiest and focus on them.

Unless of course you delight in the difficulty, which I completely understand, as I enjoy difficulties myself. However, actually creating a bonsai is a great difficulty in itself, so it satiates the need for difficult. As we only have so much intellectual energy, our spouses might not appreciate the energy we waste on tackling these 2 difficulties.

Sorce
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,039
Reaction score
14,806
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
You listed the following trees:
As far as total Trees I have indoors, the species are
Azaleas, dwarf black olive, Brazilian rain tree, Chinese Elm, Chinese Sweet Plum, Dwarf Barbados Cherry, Dwarf Jade, Ficus Too Little, Serissa Foetidae, and Surinam Cherry


Of them, the dwarf black olive - genus Bucida, is the most tropical of the list. They really don't like temps below 50 F or +10 C. Much cooler and they shed all their foliage. A freeze can be fatal. It will probably be fine, drop some or all its foliage, it will then sit semi-dormant until it decides it is consistently warm enough that it is safe to grow again. Don't panic, it should send out new leaves. Even if it takes until January, don't worry. Bucida has some capacity to survive in wet-dry monsoon type tropics, so they can sit semi-dormant for several months without a problem. It will grow when it is ready to. The cold told it that it was time to take a break.

Brazilian Rain Tree, Ficus & Portulacaria (mini jade) - all come from wet dry tropics. - when it gets cold at night, it means the sky is clear, no clouds, which is a signal the dry season is coming. These species will normally drop a fair number of leaves as it cools in the Chicago area. No big deal, they all are opportunistic, in that if you water them, they will keep growing. They will replace a good part of their foliage, but keep growing as long as you keep watering them all winter.

Azalea - these are more or less temperate to subtropical shrubs, not tropical at all. In Autumn it is normal to loose all of the interior leaves. They will ride out the winter looking like plucked chickens with tufts of foliage at the ends of twigs and few or no leaves along interior branches. No big deal, perfectly normal. I would leave these get a touch of frost outside, maybe to 28 F, then bring them in. They will like a cooler growing area, 80 F is a bit on the warm side for their winter dormancy. But they do grow Satsuki azaleas in Hawaii, so just see how they do for you this year. In the future I would try to find a cooler location to winter them. I keep mine in an unheated well house, that hovers between 32 F and 40 F, and has zero light for the winter. If you get temperatures below 40 F (+4 C) metabolism is slow enough that light is not necessary. A healthy azalea will have no trouble with dark cold storage. Yeah, yeah, I know there are the ones that insist you need light on conifers and broadleaf evergreens even at temperatures below 40 F, and technically there is a very small amount of metabolism between 32 F and 40 F, but guess what? Over 40 years of doing bonsai, the years I had lights in the well house, I had no noticeable improvement with growth. In addition, when lights were added, I sometimes had problems with trees waking up weeks earlier than safe to put outside because of the extra heat from the lights. My Satsuki azaleas are "good enough" with a winter in the dark, cold well house.

Azalea don't have to winter at temperatures below 40 F, often temps as mild as anything below 60 F at night is good enough. This is why they can be grown in middle elevations in Hawaii. 50's at night are good enough. But when you winter them above 40 F (+4 C) you must have lights. At temps above 40 F, metabolism is active enough that light is necessary. They won't grow much during dormancy, but at temps above 40 F, they need the light to make the sugars to keep themselves healthy.

Chinese sweet plum - I never could keep one alive, so I can't tell you anything about them.
 
Last edited:

Fishyfish22

Seedling
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Location
Chicago Illinois
USDA Zone
5b
so quick update...
As you all said, a lot of the yellow leaves fell from the olive. the Chinese maple leaves got grey and dry, sort of crispy. Serissa leaves started turning yellow and dropped as well.

Interestingly enough, after the initial down... everything sort of took off.

Here you can see the leaves grey. I was told to defoliate them completely.... I had re potted and root pruned the same tree a few weeks beforehand so I was worried and thought it was a goner... I hadn't watered it as often as I should, suddenly the tree was demanding much more water.
267626

This is after defoliation. I noticed that the tips aren't green, there's no growth or anything on the tips. I left the few leaves that I saw had a decent amount of green on them.... This was done Sunday morning.

267627
Today, Monday morning, I went in to check on the trees and I was actually shocked to find this. Not just one branch, the entire tree's buds are bursting and growing.
267628

The dwarf black olive has also started putting out really rapid growth of new leaves.
267631
Serissa and Dwarf barbados cherry have even started flowering again.. Chinese sweet plum has started putting out whole new branches
267632267633
For some reason, the leaves on my ficus too little are growing larger, does anyone know why this is? I have both a smaller individually potted one and a forest, both are experiencing this. It happened over the course of a week.
267629267630

Essentially my questions now are this:
what is happening to the ficus? Is this normal?

and is it normal for the trees to be growing this fast?
especially after repotting/complete defoliation?

It's all happening over the course of days, when I had them outside during the spring and summer this sort of growth or change would take weeks.
I plan to make a picture dense thread about my journey growing them indoors including my setup and everything i'm doing later on.
 
Top Bottom