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Old 01-09-2022, 06:33 PM   #1
montcalm
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Can you grow trees in your house?

Why yes, yes you can!


I've had an interest in starting some bonsai trees for some time but I really had no experience with them. Really didn't know much about it. I've watched a number of videos and developed an interest in trying to create a miniature beech/maple forest - they look really spectacular and you can start them from seed.

Anyway, I kind of found out a hard truth in researching that they won't survive indoors. This kind of put a damper on it for me, but I may still try to do a small micro-forest.

Anyway, I had tried to keep dwarf Alberta Spruce in the house from fall to spring, and they never made it. I admit, I didn't put much effort into them and I think I put them outside too early and shocked them, but I figured this year, I'd try again.

So far - success!



These have been inside for over a month and they've been growing like crazy. They started shooting new growth a few weeks ago and seem very strong.

My secret:

I don't know if it's a secret, but it seems to be working. I keep them right up against this south facing window, rotate them daily, only water them when the top soil is dry, mist them every night and close the shade behind them to keep them cool and moist overnight.

I'm hoping they'll make it to spring and then I'll move them outside. Or maybe I'll keep going and see how long I can keep them inside. Not sure yet, an experiment on my part. I figure if they can survive the warm, dry winter inside, they'll go indefinitely. Also not sure I'll wire them or trim them, maybe just put them in shallow bonsai pots and see how big they want to get.

Anyone ever try this and have any success?
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Old 01-10-2022, 03:03 PM   #2
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What I'm reading from bonsai experts is this works, but is not sustainable.

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/dormancy.htm

If they do not get dormancy, they will eventually die. These were outside until mid-December, which triggered them to go dormant, but being inside in the warmth has broke it, hence the new growth. This might be what kills most of these guys if people move them inside and then back out as they break their dormancy.

I can't move them now, as now they think it's spring and are growing. They need to harden their new growth and form new buds before they can be triggered again.

They might be able to survive like this if I put them in the garage right after Thanksgiving. I believe that bringing them in for the holidays will likely break their dormancy and eventually kill them, or kill them outright if I try to put them in them in a cold, low-light area.

I think, in theory, they could stay inside after 6 weeks of dormancy, so say mid-January and then eventually go back outside, probably late spring to early summer at latest - probably be too hot sitting in a window with full sun.

Or I could just put them in the ground...
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Old 01-10-2022, 05:03 PM   #3
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Hmm - not sure these guys will stay dormant even in a north facing window, but that's an interesting idea.

I'm not super attached to these ones. They seem to be bred for death after the holidays, but I thought I'd see if I could keep them alive. I was super surprised when they started growing, but now it seems to all make sense to me (see above).

Still want to work on a Beech/Maple micro-forest. And maybe a White Pine bonsai.
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Old 01-10-2022, 05:26 PM   #4
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They may not need a dormancy. I was reading that temperate trees that will grow in the tropical climates do not. Some will, some will not.

I think Alberta Spruce, from everything I've read, do need it.
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Old 03-27-2022, 09:33 AM   #5
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Hmm... I swear there was at least one response in this thread, but maybe I was just talking to myself, as usual.


Both trees have made it - one is a little stressed right now as I had a woolly aphid infestation, which I'm not sure I totally eradicated, but it's left one a bit a droopy - although still green.
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Old 03-27-2022, 12:17 PM   #6
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Bay tree inside bonsai

We have a Bay Tree inside for 3 years now, doing great.For 16 years previously we moved it in and out each fall and spring. We need to repot and move outside for the summer. The following was cut and pasted from Google.

"Bay is one of those plants that attracts ornamental growers and herb gardeners alike. ... It's so versatile that you can grow it as a bonsai on a windowsill, or let it sprawl out into a tree for your patio in a half-barrel planter."

Ours is about 4 feet tall and very bushy, out of control. The current pot is 16 x 20 inches...heavy....we use the leaves for cooking and bug repellant in dry foods...
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Old 03-27-2022, 12:40 PM   #7
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I only have a mild interest in Bonsai.

(Montcalm, mostly I wanted to respond because I felt bad for you maintaining a "solo thread." But I see Chairrock has also responded, so now you have a little company!)

We have a Bonsai Ficus Ginseng, that was a gift from a friend. We've had it a couple years, and have not really taken care of it. It's doing OK, but I think it could do a lot better. This thread prompted me to look up some instructions, and try to take a little better care of this plant.

Chairrock, many years ago we had a regular ficus. Your description of the big tree being out of control prompted me to remember it. It was one of those supermarket ficus trees, and at first it did poorly; it was down to seven leaves. But then I took really good care of it, and started putting it outside every summer. After about ten years it had grown into an ENORMOUS tree, way too big for the house. When inside in winter, it was ceiling high against the ten foot ceiling, and filled the entire end of a room. The pot was so heavy I had to make a "sedan-chair" style carrier, so two of us could carry it in and out. We finally donated it to Glens Falls Hospital, as they we accepting donations of large indoor plant for a new ward. It was pretty funny driving down the street with this enormous tree sticking out the back of the car. I hope that tree is still doing well.
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Old 03-27-2022, 04:56 PM   #8
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No need to pity post.

I was joking because I think chairrock had posted about his Bay tree in here before but somehow it disappeared.


I'm not sure I'm going to bonsai these... someone in know told me to root prune in the fall and transplant in the spring... we'll see if they don't wind up in the ground before that. These might actually be happier outside in the ground if I can find a good place for them.

Also, if I continue this tradition each year I'm going to have quite the forest of dwarf trees.
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Old 03-27-2022, 06:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
No need to pity post.

I was joking because I think chairrock had posted about his Bay tree in here before but somehow it disappeared.


I'm not sure I'm going to bonsai these... someone in know told me to root prune in the fall and transplant in the spring... we'll see if they don't wind up in the ground before that. These might actually be happier outside in the ground if I can find a good place for them.

Also, if I continue this tradition each year I'm going to have quite the forest of dwarf trees.
I was just sharing that bay is an easier bonsai potential than some, if bonsai was your interest.
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Old 03-27-2022, 07:20 PM   #10
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Yeah, no issue, thanks! I was just pointing out that I think you had a post here earlier that was deleted for whatever reason - either that or you posted about that Bay tree elsewhere and I imagined it was in this thread...


BTW these trees are putting a second round of new growth. They grew about 3-4 inches and I was going to prune them but they shot out some new buds before I got over the aphids. I think they'll grow again this summer and may even bud again. I saw one of my firs do it last year, perhaps because we had such a wet year. The second set didn't grow much, but they definitely can. I think if I don't let these go dormant they're just going to shoot buds out until they die.

Anyway, I'm aware there are number of tropical trees that can be made to bonsai or kept small and indoors. Many of them I'm not really a fan of - maybe a Chinese elm, those are kind of nice. But it's something I'll have to buy.

I'm just experimenting with these because they are everywhere around xmas and I think people just keep then for the holidays and let them die. I wanted to see if I could keep them alive, and how they might do. In the process I'm learning some things about plants, so that's a plus.
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Old 03-28-2022, 08:45 AM   #11
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A friend got one of those little table top Xmas trees this past year (looks like some kin of fir). After the holidays she put the pot outside next to her flower bed. It still looks great, so it must be pretty hardy. She's going to plant it this spring in a back section of her property
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Old 03-28-2022, 10:02 AM   #12
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I've not tried any other species except the Norfolk pine, and those died on me too. Apparently those can stay indoors indefinitely. But I wasn't humidifying them and they probably dried out.

With the Alberta spruce, they would either dry out indoors or die (I assume from shock) if I put them outside.

Apparently there are species of northern conifers that don't go dormant, or don't have those issues i.e. Norfolk. But any that can survive in tropical climates can stay indoors - I also think if they can tolerate the cold that they won't be shocked if you move them.

I was going to look into some to start for indoor plants, but I have to be honest, it's kind of a PITA. I'd rather have something that was a little less fussy and lower maintenance inside. I've been growing jade and spider plants indoors, and they are pretty easy. The only issue I've had recently is the aphids, which infested the spider plant. I assume they were in the Alberta spruce from the nursery. I wasn't expecting to have an insect infestation in February.
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Old 03-28-2022, 10:23 AM   #13
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There are several methods for controlling aphids. Probably the best soluition is lady bugs. I seem to get a minor infestation of lady bugs every fall within the house. I see a couple of them on windows most often. I'm sure they are feeding on aphids and maybe other pests in my wife's house plants. Lady bugs don't seem to affect anything else and apart from one occasionally randomly flying around free and landing in odd places, they are a nice and beneficial addition to the household wildlife.

Whe there was a DEC tree nursury in Lowville, They would buy huge jugs of lady bugs to release into the tree seed bed fields.
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Old 03-28-2022, 10:30 AM   #14
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Hmmm... we have some in the house at times, but they don't seem to stick around. Maybe they don't have much to eat and are just looking for warmth.

I shouldn't even get into the wildlife we've been harboring in the basement though. We seem to have a very healthy spider and centipede population. I'm not sure what they're eating, but I don't mess with them. My wife really doesn't like them one bit.

And of course stink bugs - we seem to get them coming inside in fall and overwintering in the house. Then in the summer they are gone. Not my favorite but they really don't cause any issues. Maybe the centipedes eat them?

I managed to grow a 6" crayfish in my basement sump crock. I was surely not aware that it was in there when my sump pump failed last year, and I nearly needed a change of shorts when pulled that thing out in the dark corner of my basement.
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Old 03-28-2022, 11:45 AM   #15
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We had the aphids on the spider plant thing too, a couple years ago. The spider plant stays indoors most of the year, but get's planted outside just in the warmest couple months.

What I read is that the aphids are eating fungus on the soil. If you water the plant with a 3 to 1 mix of water and hydrogen peroxide it keeps the fungus down, and that reduces the aphids. Seems to work; has not seemed to harm the spider plant.
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Old 03-28-2022, 11:54 AM   #16
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I used isopropyl alcohol right on the foliage, and that seemed to work.

We never had issue with our indoor plants before because they don't go out, and don't have many visitors. I'm sure these came with the spruce. I treated the spruce, and like a dummy, neglected to treat the other plants. Soon enough they had them, so I wound up retreating everything. We'll see if I got 'em.
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Old 03-28-2022, 11:59 AM   #17
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Actually, like a lot of things I was never into plants or gardening before I had kids. I guess maybe I wasn't home enough. I used to think it odd and a waste of time - especially like old Italian guys and their yard gardens, I just didn't get it.

Then after I had kids I did a little landscaping to my yard to make it nicer for them, and fix some other things up, and I turned out really getting attached to my plants. Something awoke an ancient agrarian urge. I'm not at the point of talking to them or anything, but I do take care of them all to some degree.

I grew some wildflowers last year and it was fantastic. I didn't know what I was doing and didn't seed them right, but I wound up getting so many bees - I never even knew we had so many around. I'm thinking of planting a whole section of my yard like that this year.
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Old 04-13-2022, 10:34 AM   #18
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Funniest story about the ladybugs and aphids...

One of my boys (in Kindergarten) comes home a few days after the post mentioning this and says something aphids. I couldn't figure out what he meant at first, but eventually I got out of him that his teacher told him that ladybugs eat aphids.

I was a bit perplexed at this at first and I thought he asked her about it (because of my aphids) but eventually I found out they were just learning about insects and she mentioned that. I have no idea if he remembered me talking about the aphids and that's why he mentioned it, or if it was pure chance. But either way, it's been confirmed from multiple sources!
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Old 04-13-2022, 01:10 PM   #19
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I grew up not far from the former DEC tree nursery near Lowville, on the Black River at Dadville. The facility manager forester lived in the house with his large family of 9, which is now converted to the area DEC field office. Two of the family boys were my age and we all grew up with the 100 acre nursery and the river as our playground. To control aphids, and maybe other harmful bugs as well, the nursery would buy and import lady bugs by the millions to release into the tree seedling fields.
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