Serissa forest and container question?

Katie0317

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I bought a Serissa forest on Ebay and it contains about 17 mature serissa trees. It's in a hideous container but I don't think it's even included in the sale.

I'm in zone 9b so they should do well here but I'm wondering what kind of container I should get and what size it should be? I was thinking of a slab type container but it's so hot in Florida I wouldn't be able to keep in wet. I like shallow containers though and am wondering what your experience has been with a bonsai forest and if anyone has had one of serissa trees?

Thanks in advance for any input regarding size and height. I've been told the rule of thumb about the size of the pot and the trunk of the tree but am not sure how any of that relates to a forest. Is deeper better for the trees for keeping enough nutrients in as opposed to a shallow container?

Any ideas would be appreciated. Any idea on where to get it as well?
 

hinmo24t

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Florida might be fine to repot your forest now but I'm not sure. Its not recommended to repot for most of us until late winter early spring. Good luck
 

Katie0317

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I thought about that. I suspect he'll send them to me bare root and I'm uncertain what substrate to put them in. I may put them in dirt for now and wait until spring to plant it properly. I'm watching a Nigel Saunders (sp?) video and it looks like he has his planted in dirt?

Can any serissa people advise on soil substrate?
 

namnhi

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Do you have a picture of it? I wonder how much I can sell these for? 16 year old from cuttings.
20210815_083943.jpg20210815_083951.jpg
 

namnhi

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I thought about that. I suspect he'll send them to me bare root and I'm uncertain what substrate to put them in. I may put them in dirt for now and wait until spring to plant it properly. I'm watching a Nigel Saunders (sp?) video and it looks like he has his planted in dirt?

Can any serissa people advise on soil substrate?
My are in regular potting soil. I will repot them into regular bonsai soil that I got from Bonsai Jack this coming weekend.
 

Katie0317

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Do you have a picture of it? I wonder how much I can sell these for? 16 year old from cuttings.
View attachment 393839View attachment 393840
I can do a screen shot from Ebay. I had the option to buy it now, bid or to make an offer. I made an offer and he accepted it. He's actually sending the lovely (smile) pot they're in but that's a very good thing because I don't want to transplant them until spring. I like his though, he has some nice listings. I missed an elm that was spectacular and so underpriced it was silly. I saw it last night and thought I'd wait until 7:00 am to show my husband. Gone! I just didn't expect that. He's in N. Florida almost to Georgia and I suspect he's a good ole boy who just enjoys his plants. The type of person I'd love to run into by accident while my husband would be giving me dirty looks and motioning to the car. I enjoy characters! He seems super nice from the few messages I've exchanged and has trees from 25.00 to 2500.00. How old are your serissa trees?
 

namnhi

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I can do a screen shot from Ebay. I had the option to buy it now, bid or to make an offer. I made an offer and he accepted it. He's actually sending the lovely (smile) pot they're in but that's a very good thing because I don't want to transplant them until spring. I like his though, he has some nice listings. I missed an elm that was spectacular and so underpriced it was silly. I saw it last night and thought I'd wait until 7:00 am to show my husband. Gone! I just didn't expect that. He's in N. Florida almost to Georgia and I suspect he's a good ole boy who just enjoys his plants. The type of person I'd love to run into by accident while my husband would be giving me dirty looks and motioning to the car. I enjoy characters! He seems super nice from the few messages I've exchanged and has trees from 25.00 to 2500.00. How old are your serissa trees?
Around 16 year old. The trunk positions are pretty good. Will take more pictures after repot.
 

Katie0317

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Also, I've always seen these short. How tall should you let them get? I was going to chop them in the spring and propagate but do some people leave them tall. These seem crazy tall to me.
 

Divide_by_zero

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I thought about that. I suspect he'll send them to me bare root and I'm uncertain what substrate to put them in. I may put them in dirt for now and wait until spring to plant it properly. I'm watching a Nigel Saunders (sp?) video and it looks like he has his planted in dirt?

Can any serissa people advise on soil substrate?
Actually I think Nigel's used equal parts perlite and safe-t-zorb the last time he repotted his serissa. Personally I've used a mix of equal parts turface, granite grit and fir bark in the past.

And to everyone who is about to tell me their opinion. I know turface is evil but it's always worked well for me ...
 

Divide_by_zero

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Also, I've always seen these short. How tall should you let them get? I was going to chop them in the spring and propagate but do some people leave them tall. These seem crazy tall to me.
Yes they look much taller than I've ever grown them, and I've never used serissa in a forest either, but it really depends on the image you're going for and what you find pleasing I guess.
 

Shibui

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You can use most species for a forest planting. Forest actually makes something reasonable out of plants that are otherwise just sticks so can be a good use of material and get you a much quicker bonsai.
Yes, the trees are way too tall for good proportion. They have probably been allowed to grow to help thicken the trunks which is common practice in bonsai to speed up development. Just because they are tall now does not mean they have to be tall for ever. You should have cutters so learn how to use them. It is up to you whether to trim these short now or later. Pruning will slow trunk thickening so your forest trees will stay thin. Deferring the trim will accelerate thickening but few beginners can think years ahead so the choice is yours.
When doing initial reduction pruning go quite a way lower than the planned final height. trees usually grow up ward so it will be the regrowth that fills in the canopy. Cutting lower and allowing regrowth also adds taper to trunks and encourages back budding to make more branching. Pruning is good for bonsai in so many ways.

Pots:
Rock slabs are really difficult to maintain. Not only does shallow soil dry out quick but the rock can actually conduct more water out of the soil and evaporate it even faster like a radiator.
Shallow pots are also hard to keep watered. The larger surface area allows more evaporation and shallow soil cannot hold much water. My groups have done so much better since moving to slightly deeper pots.
The pot this group is in is overly deep. Something about half that depth would be appropriate but don't be in too much of a rush. The deeper pot will allow you much more room for error while you learn to care for trees in smaller pots.
Don't worry about nutrient holding. We water a lot which leaches nutrients out of any shape pot but we compensate by replacing them more regularly. You need to be far more concerned with water capacity and retention.

Pot depth = trunk thickness really only relates to older, thicker trees and even then it is by no means rigidly applied. It would be almost impossible to maintain thin trees in really shallow soil so use whatever looks good and provides a stable looking base. As mentioned I now use post on the slightly deeper side for many trees, especially those that are still developing because smaller and shallower pots really slow growth and development.
 

Katie0317

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I agree with you about the depth of the pot it's in. I would acclimate them to new lighting and the heat for a while before I did anything and I intended to prune these way back.

I'd read that pot depth and size on serissa plants is tricky because they're finicky about water. I'd wondered what other people had experienced with them and there are a lot of threads here with peoples serissa trees taking a turn for the worse and bad things happening without any provocation. They're picky plants, or at least appear to be.

The forests I've looked at are in pictures...I've looked at a lot. I look forward to seeing them in person. They tend to look far more interesting when they vary in height. I don't care for ones where all the trees are the same height yet I admit I've seen some like that and they can be beautiful too. The ones with taller and shorter ones tend to be more interesting and balanced to me though.

I think there are about 16 in this container so I paid very little per tree. They're eight or nine years old so they take a long time to fatten unless they're fed aggressively or at least that appears to be the case based on the other posters trees which are 16 years old.

My plan was to chop these next spring and propogate the longer ones. They're worth saving!

I really and I mean really need to know about soil substrate! I'd planned on an akadama, pumice and lava mix but am open to suggestions. (I'm not sure that will hold enough water I had someone give me a very long commentary on why he uses turface instead of akadama and it didn't make as much sense to me as it did to him. I think that's my biggest concern after seeing and reading how picky they are about water...

I just wondered about the depth of the pot they're to go in and while I like the shallow ones I agree that they're too difficult to manage. I'll go with something deeper. Any suggestions about shape would be interesting to hear because I don't have any ideas about it yet. No shallow pot then! No slab which I really like the look of. Something about 3 inches?
 

namnhi

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I agree with you about the depth of the pot it's in. I would acclimate them to new lighting and the heat for a while before I did anything and I intended to prune these way back.

I'd read that pot depth and size on serissa plants is tricky because they're finicky about water. I'd wondered what other people had experienced with them and there are a lot of threads here with peoples serissa trees taking a turn for the worse and bad things happening without any provocation. They're picky plants, or at least appear to be.

The forests I've looked at are in pictures...I've looked at a lot. I look forward to seeing them in person. They tend to look far more interesting when they vary in height. I don't care for ones where all the trees are the same height yet I admit I've seen some like that and they can be beautiful too. The ones with taller and shorter ones tend to be more interesting and balanced to me though.

I think there are about 16 in this container so I paid very little per tree. They're eight or nine years old so they take a long time to fatten unless they're fed aggressively or at least that appears to be the case based on the other posters trees which are 16 years old.

My plan was to chop these next spring and propogate the longer ones. They're worth saving!

I really and I mean really need to know about soil substrate! I'd planned on an akadama, pumice and lava mix but am open to suggestions. (I'm not sure that will hold enough water I had someone give me a very long commentary on why he uses turface instead of akadama and it didn't make as much sense to me as it did to him. I think that's my biggest concern after seeing and reading how picky they are about water...

I just wondered about the depth of the pot they're to go in and while I like the shallow ones I agree that they're too difficult to manage. I'll go with something deeper. Any suggestions about shape would be interesting to hear because I don't have any ideas about it yet. No shallow pot then! No slab which I really like the look of. Something about 3 inches?
If you interested in cutting, just put the clipped in a pot with potting soil in a shady spot. Water every few days should do. In my case, I let the roots grow through the pot. They are in pond basket.
 

Katie0317

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If you interested in cutting, just put the clipped in a pot with potting soil in a shady spot. Water every few days should do. In my case, I let the roots grow through the pot. They are in pond basket.
Namnhi, I had several overgrown stalks on the water jasmine I bought and I planted them in a nursery pot of potting soil and used root hormone to help them room. I'm also doing this with a very fat jade stalk.

What dp people use containers with holes in them? It must have to do with oxygen but I don't know what it's about. I really appreciated understanding the rationale behind doing something rather than jumping in and doing it. Also, why and this one has be confused....Why do you let the roots grow long through the bottom of the basket. When I repot the plant I'll let be cutting the roots anyway. Please help me understand the reason for doing this. I'd appreciate it.

It never occurred to me to leave the trees as long as they currently are but I'm going to do nothing other than let them acclimate to a new environment until spring. In February I'll cut the stalks and shape the plants and repot after cutting the roots.

As for wiring, do people usually wire Serissa trees to shape them? I imagine they do but I'be just been mostly reading so I haven't seen that yet.

The forest I have in mind might use about half the trees I bought and some will be taller than others. They won't be the same height but they'll all be a reasonable height meaning nothing overly tall.

Thanks to anyone who can address the various questions I have. A slab or tray pot is out and I'll get something with sides and I'm guessing about 3 inches deep or does anyone familiar with these plants suggest a deeper pot?

And substrate???
 

namnhi

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Namnhi, I had several overgrown stalks on the water jasmine I bought and I planted them in a nursery pot of potting soil and used root hormone to help them room. I'm also doing this with a very fat jade stalk.

What dp people use containers with holes in them? It must have to do with oxygen but I don't know what it's about. I really appreciated understanding the rationale behind doing something rather than jumping in and doing it. Also, why and this one has be confused....Why do you let the roots grow long through the bottom of the basket. When I repot the plant I'll let be cutting the roots anyway. Please help me understand the reason for doing this. I'd appreciate it.

It never occurred to me to leave the trees as long as they currently are but I'm going to do nothing other than let them acclimate to a new environment until spring. In February I'll cut the stalks and shape the plants and repot after cutting the roots.

As for wiring, do people usually wire Serissa trees to shape them? I imagine they do but I'be just been mostly reading so I haven't seen that yet.

The forest I have in mind might use about half the trees I bought and some will be taller than others. They won't be the same height but they'll all be a reasonable height meaning nothing overly tall.

Thanks to anyone who can address the various questions I have. A slab or tray pot is out and I'll get something with sides and I'm guessing about 3 inches deep or does anyone familiar with these plants suggest a deeper pot?

And substrate???
Cool that you also have water jasmine. I have about 6 or 7 of it.
The colander or pond basket suppose to air prune the roots so they don't circle the pot. I set the pond basket on the ground so the roots able to grow into the ground. I will remove the ones that grow pass the basket. When you let them escape, it helps the tree grow faster.
 

Divide_by_zero

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And substrate???
Your proposed mix sounds quite workable. I have no experience with akadama (shipping would make the dirt the most valuable part of many of my trees😃) but it is widely used by many folks and I've never heard anything against it. My rule of thumb has always been:
1. Local or readily available
2. Drains well
3. Cheap

Advice worth every penny you paid for it.
 

TinyArt

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Looks like a really nice find for designing a forest landscape!

Floridian serissa care article:
(it's on D&L's website, too, but this version might be easier on the eyes)

You've probably found threads/comments by Mellow Mullet here, too 🙂
 

Katie0317

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Cool that you also have water jasmine. I have about 6 or 7 of it.
The colander or pond basket suppose to air prune the roots so they don't circle the pot. I set the pond basket on the ground so the roots able to grow into the ground. I will remove the ones that grow pass the basket. When you let them escape, it helps the tree grow faster.
Thank you for explaining that. I noticed that the person who showed the picture of his water jasmine...the roots were straight.
Looks like a really nice find for designing a forest landscape!

Floridian serissa care article:
(it's on D&L's website, too, but this version might be easier on the eyes)

You've probably found threads/comments by Mellow Mullet here, too 🙂
@TinyArt, I saw that you're here in central Fl too? Are you active in any of the local bonsai organizations? I always say Florida is 6 months of heaven and six months of hell...Hell is almost finished! Thank goodness.

The serissa is very temperamental regarding water and it doesn't like being moved either. I didn't know that when I bought it. I'd admired it as a shohin tree and had hoped to get one but didn't read about it first. I only paid a few dollars for each tree, it was not an expensive purchase but I'll respect it as if it was.

I can believe this delicate tree didn't like Miami! Have you visited D&L nursery? I may try to get up there...I used to ride horses in the forest there with a group on a regular basis and it's not that far north but it's almost like Gainesville to me...It's very different being just that little bit north. Colder in the winter but just as hot in summer.

I'll take some pictures when I sort these serissa trees out next spring and repot them. I hope @Mellow Mullet will see this and add any info. The article you referred me to suggested they like a % of organic substrate but which one I wondered? Also suggested adding epsom salts. I use epsom salts on my roses so I get that part.

I'd like to get the substrate right.

@Divide by Zero, thanks for sharing your substrate formula...I don't mind paying a little extra for the akadama. I've read up on it and I like what I"ve read. How it wears down between potting...

@namnhi Thank you for explaining the reason for planting in a basket with holes or a colander. That's why the person who posted his serissa plants...The roots are straight. I think I've seen those basket for sale on Amazon, the ones with the sides cut out is square shapes.

How do your water jasmine do in Houston? I've spent time in Houston (We lived there for a few months) and it's a cool town. The thing I miss the most is City Market...LOVED that place! And the mexican food and bar-b-que! I'm having a pot made by someone who's posted his work on Bonsainut and gave him very specific measurements and I think he's going to nail it! Can't wait to see it. Am going to put the water jasmine in it. I"ve never seen one bloom. Are yours good bloomers?

Thanks all...
 

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