New Sweet Plum bonsai dropping its leaves

Just Rosie

Sapling
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Hello,
I am very, very new to bonsai. I recently purchased a "discount" bonsai (Sweet Plum), which was a whopping $8. It didn't have very many leaves, and most of the leaves were very dark green. But, it did have some new growth with leaves, so I wasn't too concerned. When I brought it home, the dark green leaves began dropping like flies, and now all that's left is the new growth, some of which looks wilted and has dropped as well. I did water it, because for the first time in plant history it actually seems more dangerous to underwater than to overwater. I did set the bonsai outside at one point during the daylight hours, but temp could have dipped below 55F. I brought it in in the evening, and it has been inside ever since. I'm probably not giving it enough light, as my only window is north-facing and shrouded by trees, but I supplement my plants with artificial lighting.

Anyway, I've attached pics below. What can I do to save this baby? (For some reason it's only accepting one of the photos, but at least you can see the problem. If I can figure out how to attach more, I will)

IMG-8807.JPG
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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No Caillou?

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Sounds like it was not healthy when you bought it. Sweet plum - aka Sagerettia - is not an ideal choice for indoor bonsai, best as an outdoor bonsai in a climate that is warm enough to be frost free most winters. I suggest you return it to the vendor and pick up something easier to grow indoors. Perhaps try a Ficus. The Ficus are the fig family, and generally are much more tolerant of indoors growing than most other plant sold as bonsai.

If you have no experience growing any sort of houseplant, or container gardening of vegetables, there is a steep learning curve ahead. Expect many fatalities.

Do not try to grow a juniper or any conifer as "indoors bonsai". The effort will be met with dead trees and frustration. It doesn't matter what plant vendor labels say, junipers do not grow indoors.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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In an effort to help, where in the world do you live, just general city and country, so those who offer help can make suggestions appropriate for your locality. This is an international forum, some of our members are in Spring-Summer mode, while our North American members are hunkering down for winter. You can add location to your profile or just mention it in the dialog here.
 

Just Rosie

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Sorce — Thank you for the Welcome!
Leo — Yes, definitely not healthy when I bought it, which I think is why it was sooo cheap. (It's a beautiful tree for under $10!) And thank you for the advice. Some places I was reading said it could be kept indoors, which is why I thought it would be ok. I am in North GA, USA (7B? Hardiness zone? Hope that's helpful). But it definitely is too cold for a tropical tree at this time. I might get away with leaving it out during the day, but some days the temp drops below 55F. Since returning is not an option, would you suggest I leave it out during the day where it has access to more light? Or would you risk leaving it indoors where temp is regulated but there isn't as much light? I can always get another grow lamp if you think that would help 😄
 

Just Rosie

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Also — thanks for the suggestion on ficus! My first Bonsai is actually a ginseng ficus, and he has been doing great in my north facing window. He even has some supplemented light now, so hopefully this year I'll see some serious growth! (I've probably had him for about 3-6 months)
 

coachspinks

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My experiences with them....they are tough plants but tend to drop their leaves when their environment changes. They bounce back though. Mine have acted just like you describe. I think they like more light than the literature says. Be careful of overwatering it. It is likely planted in poor soil and is stressed. True story - I am just south of Atlanta and have one in a pot that was outside when temps doped to 21 a couple of weeks ago. It is fine. Didn't drop a leaf. I don't recommend that but this one lived in the ground here in Georgia for 3 years. Each winter it died back to the ground. The next spring it would push new growth. Since it wouldn't give up I dug it up and put it in a pot.
 

Just Rosie

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Coachspinks—That makes me feel more hopeful! I certainly won't be testing my little guy to that extreme, but perhaps I can leave it out during the day and bring it in at night.
 

coachspinks

Shohin
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For now I think leaving it in a sunny indoor spot may be best. The changing back and forth is what I have found they don't like.
 

Anthony

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This is a zone 7 outdoor hedging plant in China.
Not Tropical.

Check for root sensitivity in a bonsai pot.
If sensitive - zone 8 or 9
Good Day
Anthony
 

Just Rosie

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CoachSpinks—Thank you, I'm going to try leaving it indoors in a window under a grow light. I'm purchasing a much more efficient light so hopefully that will get him through the winter!

Anthony—Thank you for the clarification!
 

Just Rosie

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Hey guys —
So the sweet plum has been pretty steadily declining. Many of its branches have died back, which I have (maybe erroneously time-wise) pruned back. I have scratch-tested the remaining branches and trunk, and there is still some green, but it is muddied.
At this point, I’m willing to try anything that could save it, as I would prefer a live tree to a dead one.
Is there anything at this point I can try to do to rescue it? I was thinking of just going ahead and putting it outside during the day when temps are around 55F, then bringing it in when they drop anything below 40-45F. I know that was previously discussed and dismissed, but I’m wondering if it’s worth trying to save the tree at this point. I have accepted I may not save it, but I figured I’d ask you guys to see if you had any final thoughts for it.
 
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