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Thread: New Serissa Foetida losing leaves. Help?

  1. #1
    Bonsai Apprentice Kourtneyhk is on a distinguished road
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    New Serissa Foetida losing leaves. Help?

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post, but I KNOW there are much more experienced people here than I could easily find in person

    A friend sent me a Serissa Foetida bonsai for my birthday. It was shipped to me and arrived September 18th, so last Saturday. I've read that they need moist soil, not dry, not drenched, so I've been using my moisture meter to monitor and watering it accordingly.

    However, it's lost some leaves, and a few more fall off every day. I'm wondering if, since I've only had it for a week, this might be residual loss due to stress from shipping and a new environment, or if I may be doing something wrong?

    It is sitting on a window sill, where it does not get direct sunlight. The room doesn't drop below 55 degrees at night, and it doesn't get hot. I have a trip tray below it with small gravel so it has a little 'humidity bubble' around it.

    Any ideas? I really appreciate any help you can give!

    --Kourtney

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    Super Moderator iamurthman has disabled reputation iamurthman's Avatar
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    Hi Kourtney, and welcome to the forums! Sounds like a little transport shock. The tree should be about 18" to 2' back from the glass of the window. Temps fluctuate alot more inside that zone than out in the room. It should begin to show new growth once it settles in, about a week to ten days.

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    Bonsai Apprentice Casey M. is on a distinguished road
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    I bought a pyracantha from a bonsai master in late August, and I did extensive pruning to it. All of its existing leaves darkened and browned, then began dropping. New growth almost immediately sprung out from branches and replaced the old. The tree's new leaves hardened off and the tree is doing fine. That whole replacement process took place over a period of about a week and a half.

  4. #4
    Bonsai Apprentice Kourtneyhk is on a distinguished road
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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for your help! I've been keeping up on the watering, and I've had the tree for two weeks. It's still losing leaves. I'm just really worried, as this is my first bonsai and it was a gift from someone so I really don't want to lose it! The room it is in has been getting cold at night, around 55, so I closed all windows and increased the heat that gets to it a little bit. I also don't have a grow light for it, and was wondering if that might be an issue as well? When I looked at it, it seems like there are a few leaves that are turning yellow. Again, I'm just really worried, I really don't want to mess up and kill it!

    Thanks again for all of your help! Any more tips/advice/things I should change?

    --Kourtney

  5. #5
    Bonsai Sensei digger714 is infamous around these parts digger714's Avatar
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    One thing. If the tree is not growing, then its not drinking as it normally would. I would check it everyday with a wooden chopstick to see if its too wet. Also, no fertilizer until its growing again. It could be that your giving it too much water. Put the chopstick to the bottom of the pot, leave for 10 minutes or more, and check. If its damp, then let it be. If its dry, then water. If you had the time, the ultimate time to water would be just before they are starting to droop a little bit. I was amazed how little they need water when indoors. I have to keep myself from watering too much. It was the hardest thing to learn for me at first. Serissa are tough trees to work in a pot, depending on where you are. It just takes finding the right light, and humidity for them. Good luck.

    Are the leaves turning yellow, then falling? If so, definately overwatering.
    Last edited by digger714; 10-03-2010 at 05:24 AM.

  6. #6
    Bonsai Apprentice Kourtneyhk is on a distinguished road
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    I have a moisture meter, and I've been watering it when it gets to "4", 3 being in the dry range, 4 being in the moist range. I was told to never let the soil completely dry out, as they are so sensitive to the water schedule. And today was the first day I noticed any leaves turning yellow. So maybe i should let up on the watering?

  7. #7
    Bonsai Apprentice Seanstar1 is on a distinguished road
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    I have two serissa Foetida that I grow under a grow light, and the leaves stopped turning yellow when I let the soil feel dry on the top two to three inches of soil before i water them. Does your soil feel slightly moist or does it feel moist because moist can/will lead to root rot and yellow leaves. The leaves are/were probably falling because Serissa Foetida don't like change. They lose some leaves in order to cope with the change in light or watering schedules.

    So just use the chopstick method every now and then just to make sure the meter is completely correct. It does seem that it's a little overwatered though.

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    Administrator SirSpeedy1 has disabled reputation SirSpeedy1's Avatar
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    I have had a Serissa since May. It constantly has at least two yellow leaves. I leave them on till they fall off at the slightest touch. A couple drops of superthrive in the water once a week or so seems to help.
    They are very sensitive to changes so try not to move it around too much, even turning, untill it seems to have settled down some

  9. #9
    Bonsai Apprentice Kourtneyhk is on a distinguished road
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    Hey everyone,

    The leaves are turning yellow, and then falling. Not all of them, but lately larger portions at once. I've noticed on a couple leaves, there are brown spots after it's turned yellow.

    I last watered the tree on Monday. I pushed the decorative rocks aside and felt the soil, and it is moist. I've been watering the tree every 5 days approximately, following the moisture meter.

    Here's where I'm really confused. I did my research on the species and how to care for it before I got it, and there has been a lot of back and forth on the watering! One said to keep the soil very moist all the time, as if it dries out it would very easily die. Another said to keep it moderately moist, which is what I've been doing, but apparently I'm watering too much! I trust you all more than a caresheet, I'm just really confused!

    So how exactly do I 'perform' the chopstick test? Just stick a wooden chopstick in the soil (how deep?) and leave it there for 10 minutes, then check to see if it's moist? I'm going to buy a grow light tomorrow, and I haven't given it any fertilizer yet.

    Thanks again for all your help! I really appreciate it!

    --Kourtney

  10. #10
    Bonsai Sensei digger714 is infamous around these parts digger714's Avatar
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    Hi Kourtney. I am sorry to hear about the serissa, but they are tough, and we can probably get it back. I would cut back just to see. Put your chopstick into the pot all the way to the bottom. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes or more. Ill forget sometimes and leave for an hour. Check it and see if the wood is damp, wet, or or dry. After you do it for a few weeks, every day if you can, youll get a feel for what it wants. The decorative rocks actually shouldnt be on until you get it back healthy. Alot of water evaporates, and so as much air as possible would help. The soil probably needs changing, but wait until it gets healthy again to do it. I used chopsticks for about a year, learning my trees watering needs for indoor and outdoor trees. I was amazed how much i was overwatering. You want to play with it, and think water is always good. I call it killing it with love. Anyway, try that for a few days, and see if its seems better. Where are you located? Im sure it was kept outdoors this spring, and summer, and might be wondering why its coming indoors since its just coming up on time to bring in, depending on location. Anyway, good luck again.

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