Trees Suitable for the Tropics

kevinlovett86

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If you put a tree in a pot, that soil in the pot gets colder than the ground in the winter, so you could essentially get trees up to 2 zones down from the area where you live. You might just have to provide some mid day shade to protect from leaf scorch.

it would be really nice if we had some sort of chart that had all trees suitable for bonsai according to horticultural zone, so far you’re gonna have to adapt your search parameters to check if someone had the tree you want in the zone where you are
 

Forsoothe!

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The problem with that is the number of footnoted exceptions attributable to micro climates would make it unreadable. And that wouldn't reflect the most important caveat: individual care habits.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@Anthony - your definition is a fairly narrow definition, and not the only definition of tropical. In fact, I did not find it per se in the Wikipedia.

Any part of the globe between the Tropic of Cancer (23 degrees north latitude) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23 degrees south latitude) is one of the more common definitions of tropical. In this area, largely dependent on elevation you have a wide range of temperatures, including the "Snows of Kilimanjaro". Yet many, if not most, would consider Mount Kilimanjaro to be in the tropics, and be hard pressed to describe it as anything other than a tropical environment.

To the vast majority of North Americans, tropical is any area that is frost free. South Miami, west from there across to just south of Fort Meyers, Florida has gone more than 50 years between frosts. Most North Americans consider this to be the definition of tropical.

So when one North American or another refers to Southern Florida as tropical, give 'em a break. They are not speaking as climatologists. Frost free is all we generally care about . We are not Cacao farmers, or growing other thermophiles. Well, actually I have a nephew who was growing Cacao, in Belize. But that has nothing to do with bonsai. LOL
 

Forsoothe!

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Ah so, Anthony, that might be a critical difference! Wood is not as temperature sensitive as fleshy roots which are exactly the parts of hardy (cold zone hardy) trees that are damaged or killed by soil temps below 20°F. But even zero °F air temps are not terminal for lots of the same kind of trees, for short periods. Fibrous roots which have lower percentages of water content stand much lower soil temps. While I understand the mechanisms of cold lower temps, I do not understand exactly what the mechanisms are of higher temps. Can you explain?
 

Anthony

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This one kills - Chinese trees

90 to 69/68/67 to 64 deg F day to night

Indoor oak / West Indian Cherry / Ficus p are immune.

Good Day
Anthony
 

Timbo

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I can leave some of my "tropics" out much lower than 55 degrees before bringing them inside for the winter. Some of these trees are rated down near freezing. All but my ficus are from seeds so maybe they are use to the climate but my ficus does OK also....Drops it's leaves when I bring it inside, but that's pretty standard.

So it's the lower range of sub-tropics! Pretty close.
1920px-World_map_indicating_tropics_and_subtropics.png
 

Anthony

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There is a shift over in China, that moves temperatures up
or down for 50 to 100 years.
Probably happens worldwide.

For the Tropics, height / Altitude makes a difference-
in the 70's in school it was,

Tierra Tropicale
Tierra Templado
Tierra Fria

Once again root sensitivity.
Yesterday. a 12 inch cube Chinese Serissa [ 12 years training ]
was dumped.
Leaves. lost gloss, turned brown. fell.
Tiny shoots came out, died and suckers.
Death by root sensitivity.
Ixora suffers from it as well.

In the ground, no problem.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Forsoothe!

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There is a shift over in China, that moves temperatures up
or down for 50 to 100 years.
Probably happens worldwide.

For the Tropics, height / Altitude makes a difference-
in the 70's in school it was,

Tierra Tropicale
Tierra Templado
Tierra Fria

Once again root sensitivity.
Yesterday. a 12 inch cube Chinese Serissa [ 12 years training ]
was dumped.
Leaves. lost gloss, turned brown. fell.
Tiny shoots came out, died and suckers.
Death by root sensitivity.
Ixora suffers from it as well.

In the ground, no problem.
Good Day
Anthony
The ground temps vary very little over short time periods verses pots that follow air temps pretty closely. Even if the surface of the ground changes a whole 5° day to night to day, the root zone a foot down can't change much at all in a day. Add a 4 or 6 inch layer of litter and it takes forever to change the temps of the ground. Dark pots suck up sunshine's infrared rays, and if the winds are calm or blocked, the pots can go to 110° pretty quick. Let the pot dry out and all bets are off on survival. Again, it's the number of insults collectively presented in a short period that really matters...
 

Timbo

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What about some kind of shade clothe over the pot in those hot tropical area's? Seems it would keep the heat down a little, especially if roots are exposed. Keeps moisture in also I would imagine, just a thought.
 

Anthony

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@Timbo ,

not sure how that shade cloth affects air temperature,

Under a tree also has water vapour evaporating.
Down here the Sageretia t., grow under trees 16 foot branch high.
Not affected nor the last of the fukien teas.

Our high temperatures are in April nd May, 90 to 93 deg.F for
aound half an hour to 15 minutes,
86 deg.F is more normal. Humidty has been moving from 70 to
45 for the last 3 months.
Even with heavy rain, humidity is usually high 80's.

You have to go to deep valleys, flat land and high water tables,
or west facing low wind areas for high humidity.
Good Day
Anthony
 

bluesky

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A few years ago, I decided to never try Serissa again here in Madrid And last year I decided the same about Fukien Tea.
Important to note that we have high temperatures but low to no humidity here so anything that demands high humidity cannot survive outside.

But the Sageretia is fantastic, a real survivor. Lowest temp I keep them outside is 10ºc / 50F. They can survive lower but like Anthony said, definitely NO FROST cos they will die in one day. So I bring them indoors for 6 months a year.

In case you're interested I have posted a video about sageretia here.
Apologies for my ugly english accent, I don't like the sound of my voice, but it's the only one I have.
 

Timbo

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@Timbo ,

not sure how that shade cloth affects air temperature,
I don't mean air temp, just referring to the heat and wind beating down on the bonsai pots and roots. Even up here, my roots can dry out if exposed. Just a thought, not saying it will cure the issue.
 

kevinlovett86

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I’ve recently had this idea about leaf litter/mulch

I haven’t been able to test the ground temperature in the pot but my reasoning for this is to retain a bit more moisture otherwise I have to water twice even in the biggest pots.

maybe it does actually keep the soil cooler much like how you’d put a thatch roof on a building
 

Forsoothe!

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I use chopped up leaves to mulch over winter, so I have lots to mulch pot surfaces over summer. Once it is wet-down it forms a nice, stable mat that breathes. It keeps weeds out, holds moisture in because it has small air spaces inbetween the upper & lower surfaces that conducts heat poorly, readily accepts watering when dry, and deteriorates into the surface of the soil contributing to the organic fraction. The trees love it and tiny roots grow into it over time.
Aa posted 052220.JPG
 
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