Rescuing a Neglected Indoor Bonsai

I thought i’d share with you a very interesting uh parcel and letter that we received from a customer this morning i was about to go and do the work but as always i realized that many of you youtube viewers may find it useful to see what i’m about to do now we get all sorts of requests and letters and this was a letter that accompanied a parcel and this parcel contained a tree that has been badly neglected and so badly neglected it’s almost dying but luckily it’s not entirely dead there’s a few green shoots in there so it is just about alive so i know that i can bring it back to health and very briefly i won’t show the person who sent the letter to me and this is a chinese privet and this is what the tree looked like and this is what it looks like now the story behind it it says as discussed this poor bonsai plant needs some help it belongs to a friend of mine who currently stranded over in australia due to covet and entrusted to my care and of course see last time i was away for two weeks and it was left south-facing window and the heat and husband forgot to water the tree and what do you expect if you don’t water it for two weeks this is what happens so this poor tree didn’t get watered for two weeks in a hot south-facing window and it’s almost dead i won’t tell you who the writer is but because it has sentimental value this lady is desperate to get me to revive the tree by the way chinese privet may look nice when you buy it but it’s a very very difficult subject it is so difficult that we refuse to stock this variety the ordinary english privet is extremely good and it is used a lot as outdoor bonsai but chinese privet when grown indoors for some reason don’t do well the chinese privet and carmona are notoriously difficult but that’s not the point i can still revive the tree so let me show you what i would do to revive this tree now i’m in the office here and because we are in the office i can’t make too much of a mess so i will take you into the back greenhouse which is our workshop and i will show you what i’m about to do so here is the tree in our workshop and what i’m about to do is to remove some of the soil and then i will do the famous peter chan moss trick so let’s take it out of the pot and with most of these commercial trees they’re not tied in that’s not a problem and they use a very open soft peat like i think this is coco peat probably type soil nothing wrong with that so i’m going to remove some of the soil not all of it some of it the roots are still quite turgid as you can see so the roots are not in bad condition so that’s the amount of soil i remove and i then put it not back in the bonsai pot you can but i prefer not to i just put it in a much larger you can put it in a larger bonsai pot or what i prefer best is an ordinary flower pot because there’s a lot of room and space and the medium i use is this is called sphagnum moss those of you who have seen my videos will have heard me talk about sphagnum moss and this is how it’s spelt sphagnum moss and this is what it looks like we sell it but you can also buy it from garden centers or from florists the florists use it for making wreaths and various things and it is available it’s not that it’s not available what you mustn’t confuse this with is the moss that grows on paving let me just show you what that ordinary moss is that we use as a surface dressing and the one that we use for surface dressing is this this is not the same as sphagnum moss you can try and use it if it is very fluffy and soft but spagnum moss is long strand this sort of moss see this moss that grows on the surface of the pot that is not what we call sphagnum moss so sphagnum moss is a completely different thing and that i found over very many years of experimentation i’ve been experimenting with sphagnum moss for more than 30 years and i absolutely swear by it and i buy the best quality moss this moss that i have in the bag here comes all the way from new zealand for some reason they have some lovely moss and because it’s exported to the uk i don’t mind using it so i fill the pot up with sphagnum moss and then i just put the tree in there and then i top it up and because the more moss is quite damp you can add a little more water to it and that’s all you do and i will now take it into my conservatory because i have a conservatory where the temperature is like five degrees three to five degrees sometimes it gets to about 10 degrees and that is the perfect environment for growing and reviving this tree so i will put it in there and i would say that definitely within two or three months it will be right as rain i will show this tree again when it revives but meanwhile i thought i would just broadcast this video because it’s a very very common uh problem that people who are not familiar with bonsai uh you come across so if you forget to you know water your tree and it’s half dead this is the best way to revive it i’m not saying it’s the only way you can try and put it in very fluffy type of ordinary uh soft bedding compost you know cocoa peat let me just show you this is our ordinary compost you can use something like that which is very soft that might work but i find that the sphagnum moss is a surefire always works never fails to work so i hope this little video will help you to encounter all these difficult sort of problems typical problem is forgetting to water the tree and i can just show you this tree will live again where there are little dead tricks they’re dead you can remove it but there’s no need to where the new shoots will grow they will grow in any case when the new shoots grow then we can decide on what to remove and what to keep so there you go [Music] you

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