Tips for first Serissa Bonsai

JVicarious

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I just brought home my first bonsai. Looking at some of the guides online I think it needs some pruning after the flowering period. It still has wire on most of the growth. Any suggestions about where to begin are appreciated!

Thanks.
 

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Mellow Mullet

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Vicarious,

Nice looking serissa, how big is it? Also, please fill in the location on your profile, it makes it easier for others to give you advice when they know the climate that you are growing your tree.

First, if it is warm (>40 degrees F) put it outside, bonsai trees do better outside and very few people, with a lot of specialized equipment, can maintain a tree inside.

Second, the soil looks like potting soil, be careful not to overwater and maybe repot in the fall or next spring into some good bonsai soil. Search the forum and you will get many opinions on what good soil is, whichever you choose, just make sure it is well draining.

Third, the wire will be fine left on, watch for biting, then remove. I would maybe reposition some of the limbs into a lower position, especially the first one on the right. You could also nip the ends of the branches so you will start to get some ramification. If you wait until after the flowering period, you will be waiting a long time, serissa bloom all through spring, summer, and fall, if they are happy, so prune whenever you are ready.

Enjoy, serissa are fun.

John
 

Wilson

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Mullet is on point, start cutting back branches. Serissa bud back like crazy, so start that now. I see a double trunk, all other branches I would cut back. Like Mullet said, don't let it stay wet they don't like that. The bark on these will rot if it stay wet. Take cuttings when you trim branches, they root super easy!
 

Cypress187

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Woooow, its so tiny and cute! Welcome to the forum, man!
 

JVicarious

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Thanks for the replies! I will carefully lower the limb on the right and prune back some of the longer branches. Hopefully I can get the cuttings to root, it will be a fun side project to work on with my daughter.

I can move the plant outside for the spring/summer but my wife was concerned about insects, then possibly bringing something harmful back into the house in the fall that might harm other plants we have. Should we be worrying too much about this? Maybe we are overthinking?
 

lieuz

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First off, I really think you have a lot you can work with! Your tree most certainly would work well with a twin trunk style. I wanted to show you mine that looks oddly similar to what you have.
ser.jpg

I think this is what you could start with. The orange is what you have existing and the red is what future growth looks like.
IMG_4112.jpg
 

lieuz

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Oh I forgot to say, they love that sun. The more you give it, the more compact the growth. So definitely let this tree get that sun, I haven't dealt with bugs or whatever that much other that spiders on this tree. If you bring anything inside for the winter, you're going to encounter that bug situation but it shouldn't be an issue.
 

JVicarious

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Lieuz,

Thank you for sharing, as well as taking the time to draw up that sketch. It is very much appreciated. I am torn between letting that first limb on the left remain horizontal and going for the typical triangle, or trying for the "V" like your tree. Your tree seems to be doing very well. I love the moss, it has filled in rather nicely. I plan on adding some moss in the future, maybe after my first repotting down the road.

Also, the top was shaped to spiral at the nursery. I'm wondering if I should try to straighten this out and prune it back to keep the tree from getting any taller. It's difficult for me to predict how it will react to anything too drastic since I have no experience with this type of thing.

I have some critical decisions to make! This Bonsai stuff is lots of fun tho, makes me wonder why I didn't get into it much earlier.
 

lieuz

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I'm not entirely sure if leaving that left branch like so will work for the shape. I think it is simply too low. You should definitely shorten it!
 

JVicarious

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Did some pruning, Here's a pic from a few days ago. The lower left node is filling in nicely. Still wan't to gradually shape the tree into a triangle but don't wan't to do anything too drastic yet.
 

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Alain

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Hi there!
My own little contribution, based on my own little experience: serissa are really moody :)
You will have to learn how to handle and don't be scare to death by it mood swings. The good point is that your little buddy will let you know right away if something pissed it off so that give you the opportunity to react fast. It's not like a juniper for example that could be dead for awhile before even telling it! :)
 

f1pt4

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Hi there!
My own little contribution, based on my own little experience: serissa are really moody :)
You will have to learn how to handle and don't be scare to death by it mood swings. The good point is that your little buddy will let you know right away if something pissed it off so that give you the opportunity to react fast. It's not like a juniper for example that could be dead for awhile before even telling it! :)
They can be finicky especially if constantly moving them around. They love sun, so give them lots of it. If growing indoors leave them by a window and don't move them around except to rotate every few weeks. Outside just place it and forget it. But don't forget to water.

Mine suffered from chlorosis but was quickly fixed with some supplementation. Also don't panic if it drops leaves after moving it from inside to outside, it will quickly bounce back.

Don't over water, but they like water. Lol.

Rooting cuttings is also very easy.

Welcome and have fun.

Also get a few more trees as to not over work this one to death.
 

f1pt4

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Did some pruning, Here's a pic from a few days ago. The lower left node is filling in nicely. Still wan't to gradually shape the tree into a triangle but don't wan't to do anything too drastic yet.
A fellow serrisa grower I know told me to pluck all the flowers as they come up to promote overall growth of the tree. Less energy spent flowering more energy spent growing. You got a long way to go with yours before it grows into a bonsai, so I suggest plucking off those flowers.

If anyone has alternative points of view on this please let me know, as I've been plucking flowers off of mine for the past two years as they emerge. This last cycle I think I plucked off at least 100 within 4 weeks.

And she's happy. Growing like crazy. Under lights to boot.

Oh yeah. Get yourself at least one HO T5 fluorescent bulb to keep it happy over the winter.

The warm weather is coming. I think the last of the cool temperatures will pass after this weekend.
 

Alain

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They can be finicky especially if constantly moving them around. They love sun, so give them lots of it. If growing indoors leave them by a window and don't move them around except to rotate every few weeks. Outside just place it and forget it. But don't forget to water.

Mine suffered from chlorosis but was quickly fixed with some supplementation. Also don't panic if it drops leaves after moving it from inside to outside, it will quickly bounce back.

Don't over water, but they like water. Lol.

Rooting cuttings is also very easy.

Welcome and have fun.

Also get a few more trees as to not over work this one to death.
Totally! :)

Also: don't panic with yellow leaves, they do that all the time.
For the sun: mine actually doesn't like the direct sun. Well, it seems to like it at the beginning but a complete day in the direct sun and it looks really pissed. So outside it stays in a place that doesn't get direct sun except in the evening.
Otherwise: they are tropical but sub-tropical in fact. They need a dormancy period. So during winter mine was inside, in front of a window, but in a room that stays kind of cold (around 55) and it never looks happier.
For the watering this winter I watered it only once a week by soaking it's pot twice (i.e. I soak it, it drained out, i do it again) and it loved that! :)

In fact it seems to me that, although there are general rules, each one of them has its own temper and you will have to learn yours :D
 
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