Serissa browning crispy leaves

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My Serissa started turning its leaves brown, dry and crispy, and also started dropping leaves. I’ve read forums saying it’s either overwatered or underwatered. Which is of absolutely no help. I figured I would get a much better answer here.

do I resume watering when the top dries? Do I let it dry for longer? Or do I need to increase its watering?

thanks for your help, will gladly answer any questions you have in regards to the plant!image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Is it indoors all day? If so, that might be the issue. Plants usually don't fare well indoors due to the lack of daily environmental changes (dew in the morning, heat during the day, dew in the evening, cool in the night, etc.)

Both over and underwatering lead to root death and progress with similar signs. I think keeping the soil damp is best, you can use a wooden chopstick in the soil to measure dampness. Overwatering shouldn't be an issue if the soil isn't organic, because a lot of air can exchange. In organic soils, that's usually not the case.
Best to keep things stable, instead of trying to over-correct it with over or underwatering.
 

TinyArt

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I have serissa, but my experience is limited and my climate allows me to leave them outdoors. However, I'll quote you a bit from Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Growing Bonsai Indoors (2013), in hope that it helps:

"Keep the soil slightly moist.... Keep humidity levels high by placing the tree on a tray filled with gravel and water, or mist the bonsai a few times a day, keeping the flowers as dry as possible. Don't panic if your tree drops some leaves occasionally. Just be aware that it may need less water when this happens."

Best wishes!
 
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Is it indoors all day? If so, that might be the issue. Plants usually don't fare well indoors due to the lack of daily environmental changes (dew in the morning, heat during the day, dew in the evening, cool in the night, etc.)

Both over and underwatering lead to root death and progress with similar signs. I think keeping the soil damp is best, you can use a wooden chopstick in the soil to measure dampness. Overwatering shouldn't be an issue if the soil isn't organic, because a lot of air can exchange. In organic soils, that's usually not the case.
Best to keep things stable, instead of trying to over-correct it with over or underwatering.
We’re currently experiencing a 38 Celsius heatwave. Do you think I should still set it outside?
 
Messages
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I have serissa, but my experience is limited and my climate allows me to leave them outdoors. However, I'll quote you a bit from Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Growing Bonsai Indoors (2013), in hope that it helps:

"Keep the soil slightly moist.... Keep humidity levels high by placing the tree on a tray filled with gravel and water, or mist the bonsai a few times a day, keeping the flowers as dry as possible. Don't panic if your tree drops some leaves occasionally. Just be aware that it may need less water when this happens."

Best wishes!
Thank you!
 

TinyArt

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You're very welcome! 🙂

One other bit: "Give serissa bright light and keep it in the same place all year long." (So maybe better not to move it, for now. Get it perked up first.)

The book is about $5 US used -- the indoor lighting info is dated, as LED has advanced and gotten cheaper too -- but the rest of the guidance on indoor bonsai should be solid.

If you're curious re: lighting, there's a current discussion here
 

Stormwater

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I have 1 that lives inside all year in a sunny window, two that go outside during the summer. I’m guessing it’s a watering or light issue.
 

Katie0317

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I have multiple serissa trees, both variegated and non and they're very picky about both light and water. Don't move them around and mine take a LOT of light and a lot of water,

Yours are dried out due to a lack of water. How much sun are they getting?

They're outdoor plants only and do well in hot humid parts of the country. I would think Maryland is hot enough.

Good luck.
 

Mellow Mullet

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Can't really tell much about the soil, but if your bonsai is what is commonly called a "mallsi" (purchased from Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, a shop in the mall, etc., those rocks could be part of the issue, most of them are glued on, and the soil underneath is usually not all that good. If they are glued on, remove them so that the soil can breathe. Put it outside, morning and late afternoon sun, dappled shade during peak heat of the day. Water only when the soil is barely moist, you don't want it to be soaking wet all of the time. Serissia have really fine roots, like an azalea, and they rot really easily. Don't be alarmed if it finishes dropping all of the leaves, they do this sometimes when unhappy.

Keeping it inside is not good for it, forget the humidity tray, it will do nothing. A small tray of water will not affect the humidity in a room one bit, your HVAC system is very efficient at removing it. Misting inside can lead to fungal problems. I am not saying that it is impossible to have a healthy tree inside, but you are gonna need a more elaborate system than just a sunny window, humidity tray, and a misting bottle.

Serissa are semitropical and enjoy some heat and time outdoors.

John
 

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