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Miniature Arboricola

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by Bonsai Beginner on February 22, 2004 03:03 AM
I recently, as in today, bought a 6-inch Arboricola. I have been doing research and it turns out that it is a tropical plant. It was outside in about seven degree weather today with some wind. I have no idea how low it would take to damage it but I've learned it is extreamly sensitive to cold. I wouldn't it consider it cold but I was wondering if it possibly had dome any damage. In addition I have found little about caring for the pant other than to keep it moist and avoid direct sunlight. Any tips would be helpful. It's future is a bonsai so if anyone has any special tips or guildlines for this type of plant please feel free to post. Thanks.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 22, 2004 03:04 AM
*done any damage.

Please excuse my terrible spelling.
by apples on February 22, 2004 05:48 AM
Aboricola is the umbrella plant right?
It will probably loose some leaves for shure depending how long it was in the cold. I don't know to much about it but if it dosen't die I can help with training it into a bonzai! I'm relitivly new to bonzai but I have a few books, lots of info and good web sites I can share with you! You should know the efects of the cold within the next few days. I don't think you should use tap water(or let it sit for 24h at least) and don't fertilize untill you know it's OK. I think it's a fast growing plant so you shoud see some sign of new growth within the next month.
Welcome to the gardener's forum. Some one who knows more will come soon but keep us updated and I'll get some of that bonzai info to you.
Good luck!

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 22, 2004 05:53 AM
Yes it is. Anyway I was hoping it wouldn't lose any leaves, because it was exposed for only a very short time, anyway I'll keep you posted on what happens to it. I've heard it's a very fast grower too. Apparently you can prune like crazy and it won't matter. In that case I'm hoping the leaves that it loses will grow back and it will be fine. I'd love for you to help me train it into a bonsai. It's supposed to be very easy to do so hopefully i don't kill it like I didd my last few attempts.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 23, 2004 04:26 AM
No leaves have dropped yet and all appears well. I havn't watered yet because it still seems quite damp. However on the leaves I've spotted what seems to be dust but it looks like the outlines of water droplets and is harder to wipe off than dust. It's only on the older leaves. Are these stains from having hard water? Should I leave them alone or wipe it off? Sould I water only around the base and avoid getting the leaves wet?
by lizheaemma on February 23, 2004 05:00 AM
The spots that you are seeing on the leaves I belive to a from the plant getting a pesticide treatment before it left the nursery. ( Which is a good things as you don't want to start out with pests.) Though it can be somewhat of a pain to clean off! I have been using unsented baby wiped on mine with no ill effect! I figure that if they are gentle enough for my baby's tush they they are safe for my plants! Though I wouldn't try it on furry plants! I get my Arboricola's leaves wet on occasion and not harm has come to it because of it, though don't get the leaves wet and put it in the diffect sun as the water drops will act as magnifine (sp) glass and burn the leaves.
Hope this is of some help!
by Will Creed on February 23, 2004 05:42 AM
Your Schefflera arboricola prefers lots of very bright indirect light. It can handle a few hours of ealy or late day direct sun, as well. It will grow faster and stronger in more light.

Water it thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. Don't repot it until it starts drying out every day or two. Go easy on fertilizer. Water will not hurt the leaves, although hard water may leave water spots.
by apples on February 23, 2004 01:40 PM
In bonzai it's somewhat important not to use tap water because in it's training it is usually under stress already and the chemicals can't help plus they cause build ups of calcium and things like that [Razz] . It's better for it to just get fertilized when needed and use distilled water. also in bonzai it's important for it be fertillized, because of the very small pot the tree absorbs the nutrients it needs very quickly.
Just out of curiosity I have a few questions. Did you buy it as a bonzai or is it just like a baby plant? Are you only wanting indoor trees? What kind of trees did you try befor? Where about in Canada, maby your close to me? I'm in Gatineu in the outaway region.

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by apples on February 23, 2004 03:19 PM
Heres a pic of a bonzai arboricola

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 24, 2004 04:29 AM
I bought it just as a baby but the shaping is nice, just a little rough around the edges, needs smoothing out. I tried different types of pines before, one got sick and the others I planted from seed and they wern't to happy about the changing conditions. I had to keep them away from my cats! I live in alberta. I'll try wiping off the spots, thanks for the tip! Also I'd better water it and move it out of the shade. My window doesn't get alot of direct light,it should be ok there, that's where I'll move it. Thanks for the advice everybody!
by Bonsai Beginner on February 24, 2004 04:30 AM
The pic didn't work.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 24, 2004 04:39 AM
Also about watering, when I bought it it had a bunch of moss, for decoritave purposes I assume, growing around the bottom. I'm not sure what type it is but it is not the type that looks like what you get in the garden, on rocks inbetween cracks, this was definantly planted. Does it need more water with this extra plant? Also abou the bonsai, I'll remeber the thing about tap water, mine is VERY hard so I'll use the same water I do for my freashwater fish and Lucky Bamboo, the chemicals hurt them too. Currantly my plant is not under any trianing stress, I'm waiting to make sure the cold did not harm it before I train it.
by apples on February 24, 2004 05:17 AM
Hmm... I've only managed to get to pics t work since I've been here and they were at the same time but they were worth it!
Sorry about that. I don't realy understand how the moss works. The moss under my tree seems to have died but the only cause I can think of was maby it somehow drowned from me misting the tree so often [dunno] . If it worries you at all I'd just put on top of some dirt in a small empty pot and let it grow then just put it on the trees base when you want to present it to people or something. It will be less confusing in the long run to just make shure the plant is in it's best condition. To start your training I would put it in a 7" wide pot that is about 4" deep with very good drainage to help it get a good wide root system for it's trunk to thicken up and just let the shoots grow out for a while.
I also learned the hard way that seeds are hard to grow trees with if your not careful. Luckilly I still have one out of like 12 or something. It's been decided that it will be my families bonzai. As my mom got the seeds for my dad left them in the fridge untill I took them out and started growing them. Pines are also a very hard tree to grow for a beginer(people like us) they tack a lot of care and understanding. If your looking for another tree a good indoor one is a fig tree. I've started an ivy and they can also be trimmed back very heavily I'm told, though they take a long time to get good trunk taper I think but an easy side project while your training other trees. I don't know if you can tell but I find bonzai very adictive but maby I just naturally have an adictive personality. You'll know when the bonzai bug bites!
Oh.. one last thing if you want to see that pic you can just click on the red x's properties and it will show it's address.

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 25, 2004 02:32 AM
The pot it currantly has should be alright, it's deeper and not as wide but for the size of the tree it seems to work fine. I've figured out the effects of the cold; the newer growth is a bit droopy and discolored but it is perking up nicly in the sun. In the meantime I'm trying to figure out a basic outline for it and determine what style of bonsai would work best with it. After all training should have purpose right? It can't be randow so it's best to know where you need to get branches and where you don't. I'm thinking maybe upright formal, or broom style would work best with my particular tree. No use trying to make a cascade out of something straight trunked!
by apples on February 27, 2004 04:21 AM
I'm glad to hear it's alright! I wish I knew more about your trees growth habit. I there any way to post a pic. Generally in bonzai a lot of people focus on growing the the trunk taper then start worrying about the branches because banches that have been growing with the trunk are usualy to big in preportion. The best thing to do is to leave lower shoots on because they will help the bottom of the trunk become larger while pinching out the top to incourage more twiggyness(lack of better word [dunno] ) Then in the future cutting back the lower branches. What I do know about arboricola is it can be defoliated once a year due to it's rapid growth. This is also why it can be trimmed back so much. Also when this is done it makes the leaves smaller. With the styles your thinking of(especialy broom) I think you could just pick your main braches you want and just always keep them short, like very close to the trunk untill your satisfied with the taper and then just pinch out the growing tips after each leaflet comes out to make it twiggy. I hope this gives you some ideas and helps your insperation grow! I've also heard they require very little water and the less you water the smaller the leaves become but I'd save the starvation untill your happy with the trunk. Have you been doing much reading on bonzai. I've found that it's an art that requires much patience and in all that time that your doing nothing lots of reading [grin] . I find it makes me feel more confident about what I want to do in the future and more comfortable with the process in both doing it and not doing anything!

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 27, 2004 05:16 AM
Trust me I've been doing a lot of reading. I have one especailly great book that is VERY detailed, but I wanted your opinion on something. The trunk has been cut at the top so it's almost like a stick with two main branches erm branching out with tons of smaller ones branching of of those. I'm guessing it was a cutting of a larger one due to the uniqueness of the trunk, what would you suggest for getting it to taper? As I don't think I've yet found a style that doesn't require tapering. I'm not sure what to do! I've been to a bunch of websites but all they say is to get a taper, they arn't to helpful on how to make it taper. My last resort is to cut off one of the main branches to make a new trunk, but they are so beautiful so I really don't want to do that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am deciding what to do while it recovers. Also I'm thinking of keeping it as a shohin bonsai, which is smaller than 15cm. Currantly it's no where near as big, which gives me lots of time to work on the trunk if I start now, also it is very flexible! So I want to start as soon as the effects of the cold have been healed.
by apples on February 27, 2004 06:14 AM
Your last resort being to cut one of the branches to make a new trunk. Do you meen that the branches are already to wide? If that's the case then you might be better off cutting both branches to get two new possible bonzai and hope that the stump gets new shoots which is likely.
About fattening up the trunk in general pacience is absoloultly esential. With out door trees it's best to just put them in the ground for a few years and then dig it up and cut back the roots progressivly depending on what spieces of tree. With indoor trees this isn't posible so all you can realy do is put it in a very large planter with incredibly porous compost. Come to think of it, now that I've learned that your tree requires very little watering a huge planter with mostly sphagnum moss at the bottom would probably work best. With less watering the tree will also be growing a larger root system trying to serch for water which will greatly inprove the thickness of base.

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 29, 2004 07:45 AM
The branches arn't too wide, but the are wide enough that if I cut one off, with a small portion of the trunk it would make a new extension of the trunk if you will. Meanwhile, I've been to the gardening store and I saw some absolutly beautiful aboricola bonsai, that like me the had the same problem. They ended up cutting of one of the main branches or encouraged sprouts from the very top of the trunk, I'm hoping to do the second one, any ideas for helping that along? New growth is already shooting out along the branches so I'm thinking now would be the time to look for new shoots along the top as well. Currantly it is in a pot which is about as deep as it is tall and wide as it is wide, the roots have a good deal of room to grow. Also there is a good deal more moss on top than I'd once thought so I'm hoping that underneath that is a thicker base to the trunk, I shall investigate.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 29, 2004 07:50 AM
Um just to clarify further my 'last resort'. If I cut one of the branches off with the small portion of the trunk the remaining branch would be the new top of the trunk, as flexible as it is it could easily be bent straight to match the rest. With that idea, I'd get an excellant taper quickly by the looks of that branch, however I really don't want to go to such measures, I'd be much happier getting shoots from the top and waiting the extra time, pruning only the sides and the roots if the need it while the top shoots develop.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 29, 2004 08:07 AM
I've found a picture that resembles mine closly, Take a look at this:


It is almost exactly the same except the two main branches closest to the the top are non-existant and the to existant ones are much fuller, with at least a dozen tiny branches branching off of them. Do you see how the trunk is very stick like? Kind of like it was cut from another and sprouted new branches? That's my problem, only worse because I don't have those two main branches extreamly close to the top, mine are in the same spot as the ones lower to the ground. Hope you can help.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 29, 2004 08:18 AM
Agian another image with the same stick-like trunk. Please ignore the extra branches.

by Bonsai Beginner on February 29, 2004 08:18 AM
by apples on February 29, 2004 09:06 PM
It would be best to remove all of that new growth other wise the tree will send all of it's growing energy into the branches instead and their would be little chance of it getting new buds on the trunk. I've heard of a technique were you make a cut into the cambnium layer(don't know if it's spelled right) under a possible bud to force it to form a new shoot. The possible bud will simply be a little bump(tell me if you find some their very small) probably white or brown. We'll have to look around to get details on it but it might work. Last thing for now. By stick you meen that it's the same width the whole way right. Broom doesn't requier to much of a difference just a little wider at the roots that are exposed.

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 29, 2004 10:01 PM
Alright I will look for any new buds near the top, and by stick I do mean all the same width. Anyway I will investigate underneath the moss and check for buds and get back to you later today. Thanks again!
by apples on February 29, 2004 10:05 PM

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on February 29, 2004 10:16 PM
Ok good news on the trunk, It has a wider base then I previously imagined, bad news on the buds, there either are none or are too small for me to notice, the only one I see is a new one underneath one of the main branches and then of coarse the buds that were present when I bought it have opened. I don't really want to cut anything off yet because some of the new growth that wasn't in buds when i bought it is still looking sickly and drooping. [tears] The more mature leaves are strong and healthy though so I'm thinking that even if those few bunches don't make it I still have the newest growth and the older. Also another thing I found were tiny bugs! They are tiny black bugs that can fly extreamly well, they resemble gnats and I'm fairly positive that they are, my question why are they hanging around my tree and can they hurt it?
by apples on February 29, 2004 11:14 PM
It might still be better to just cut off the new growth because since it's not in the best condition it could cause them to use up even more energy on them and drain the plants energy. Remember that it's a hardy plant. My anut and uncle have one that they thought was dead because they watered with vinegar insted of water. they rinsed it through very thuroughly and all the leaves fell of but it came back in a month or so! Also you can cut all the leaves off once a year to get smaller leaves so it shouldn't hurt it.
As for the bugs soap them with a few drops of ivory soap to a liter and if that doesn't work I think BT is the thing to use. It's an organic pesticide I think.

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on March 01, 2004 12:49 AM
Alright I'll wait a few more days, then pinch them off if they arn't getting better. I guess it's hurting the plant more than helping it hey? I mean if it's draining energy rather than helping make it. As for the bugs I shall soap them like you said. I've been trying to drown them by knocking them into water but the keep flying away so I'll use soap. Thanks alot. Also I think the mass is creating a breeding spot for them because inside of it it's moist and cool. I'll let it dry out completly, to kill eggs and stuff, before I water it next time.
by Bonsai Beginner on March 01, 2004 12:57 AM
*moss not mass, sorry for the confusion. Btw, my topic is on fire! [grin]
by Will Creed on March 01, 2004 01:46 AM
The new growth is not draining energy from your plant. The growth hormones are concentrated in the growing tips so that is where all the new growth is. Constant pinching will sometimes cause the growth hormones to move lower in the stem and cause new branches, but that is rare with an Arboricola.

To get new growth closer to the main stem, you have to cut the existing stems back to that main stem. In fact, that is what someone else did to get the side growth that is on yours.

Fungus gnats emerge from the gnat larvae that are in the top layer of the soil. The winged adults only live for about a week and then die on their own.

Remove and discard all loose suface soil from the plant, getting right down to the top of the rootball. Also get rid of all the moss. Be sure to allow the top quarter of the rootball to dry in between waterings. Not only is that better for the plant, but the larvae cannot survive long in dry soil. Adding a thin layer of sand on the surface of the rootball will also serve as a deterrent to the gnat larvae.
by Bonsai Beginner on March 01, 2004 05:12 AM
Wow, thanks alot for the advice. I'll remember that, and I guess I won't pinch them off. Thanks for the information on the gnats.
by apples on March 01, 2004 07:39 PM
All I ment was that the energy is directed there insted of to where you'd like it to be. If I can find out more about that tecnique I'll tell you but I was refering to if it was used. As I said befor I wish I knew more about arboricola's growth habit.

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on March 02, 2004 01:16 AM
I know what you are refering to, I've read about it, unfortunantly I'm unable to acess my book as of just now. I do remember that it usually onl works well on select trees. [tears]
by apples on March 02, 2004 07:55 AM
Well... I'll have to think and keep my eyes open for more ideas for you. It's fun trying to help you as all my trees are in no need of training at the moment, but spring is coming! I'll have fresh new wild bonsai material to feed my adiction! I hope I'm being somewhat helpfull and not just confusing you. I'm kind of board at the moment so to finish unconfusing the things I've sugested... The new growth I would take off because the closer to the trunk all of your growth is the more likely it will be to sprout from the trunk. Also it would do no harm either way but the more compact the growth on those branches the less thick those branches will be compared to the trunk. A conterary method is to alow periods of free growth and then pruning it back after. This lets the roots grow more. A tree should get a period of free growth once a year anyways in spring and with your tree I would think at the same time as pruning it back then complealy defoiated as well. One thing I'm unclear of with arboricola is what grows back after pinching. Is it just a new leaflet that will eventualy turn into a new shoot? Or is it like a branch with the leaflet on the side? Well I hope this clairifies something as apposed to being more confusing. I hope you can get everything planed out well!

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on March 03, 2004 01:31 AM
Thanks for unconfusing things. I have no idea how big the root system is so I think I'll let it grow for a bit more at least until I know more about the growth patterens because there is no point getting rid of it if it won't help. One of the bunches though seems damaged beyond repair and turning brown, it'll be dead soon so I'll take it off. When there is a bud it slowly unfurls into the tiny umbrella and as it grows a new tiny branch grows too. It's so cute to watch! [flower]
by Bonsai Beginner on March 03, 2004 01:34 AM
Oh and after pinching it is a branch with a leaflet to the side, I have a few of those already on. Btw, the canopy already has a nice shape, in a little bit I might do some matenance pruning to keep it that way while I wait for a shoot on the top.
by apples on March 09, 2004 11:43 PM
I haven't been on this site long enough to post anything for awhile. They seem like neat plants!
I was thinking you might want to check out a bonzai forum that I'm on. I've found the bonsai masters on it to be a little moody but they have good intentions and alot of expirience to share. Bonsai Help is the site. [Wink]

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Bonsai Beginner on March 10, 2004 02:37 AM
Thanks, I'll check it out.
by apples on March 10, 2004 02:49 AM
Looks like the link isn't working but the adress does so if you just type that in...
Sorry. I don't know what I do wrong but seems I can't get those sort of things to work [dunno]

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.

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