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TOPIC: Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions

Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions 2 months 3 weeks ago #59200

So, I impulse-bought a bonsai tree at Home Depot yesterday because I was like "Oh cool tiny tree" and my quarantined lizard-brain just wanted another plant.

It's from a company called Wick & Grow, grown by Costa Farms. (???)
The tag literally just says "bonsai" (oy) but I did some looking into the most common bonsai species, narrowed it down to at VERY least being a conifer, and I really think it's some kind of Juniper species, but I really don't know. :/

The tag said it needed 3-4 hours of indirect light per day, never to have it below 50 degrees F, and to fertilise it every 6 months. (So I went into this going "Oh, my bedroom window sill gets about 3 hours of indirect sun in the morning, it'll be fine.) But I digress about how much this company done scammed me, as far as I can tell.

To possibly ID it: It's got thick, pretty sharp, dark-ish green needles that point in the direction of the tree's growth, and I found about 3 sections that had the "scaley" look that Junipers apparently have when they mature. It's all a very medium green, I'm not sure what kind of green I'd classify it as.
Pictures of the plant and a trimming off of it attached, with a closeup of the scaley bit.



I would like to identify the particular species just to get a better idea about if it'll grow any berries/cones/pods/tentacles/eyeballs I should know about beforehand, and find out what its watering, temperature, and sunlight needs are more specifically.
For now, I'm just assuming it's a Juniper of some sort and going off of Generally what this site tells me Junipers need, which is certainly not 3 hours of indirect sun and twice-yearly fertilising.

As for, like, the plant itself and how it's growing, it is currently about 1 and 1/2 inches tall (3 if you include foliage) and 5 inches long to the side. It's dramatically swooshed off to one side and has very thick foliage, especially in the middle of the plant.

So, the night I got it, I did prune it a little based on what I've read so far.

I cut off maybe 3 or 4 branches because they simply looked really wack to me and were covering up the trunk and making the whole bunch of foliage very densely crowded. There were also some small nubby sprouting branches at the base of the trunk and all along it that I just entirely removed.
I don't have any special bonsai tools, so I literally just cut the branches with regular scissors and left the small nubs to scar over. There are already tons of little knobs on the trunk, so they seem to be blending right in.

Before pruning it looked like this:

Now, trickier part, I live in the middle of pretty dense woods. The most direct sunlight any plants in the general vicinity of my house get is still filtered through gaps in the trees, especially indoors.

My plan right now, which is admittedly not the most scientific, is to keep the plant in an east-facing windowsill from sunrise to around noon, then I'll move it to our south-facing sunroom, which is entirely windows, for the rest of the day. The sunroom doesn't really get direct light until just before noon, just indirect, because of all the trees blocking the sun, but after noon it's pretty good.

ALTERNATIVELY, I could put it under/near some grow lights. (We have them already for growing some herbs and lettuce sprouts.) They're pretty strong as far as I know; they've sunburned our basil before. But still, IDK if they'll work for a bonsai. If anyone does know, that would help a lot.

I want to keep it mostly growing in the direction it is now, off to the side, so if there's any ways to accomplish that without pulling some Advanced Fancy Pottery stuff to keep it at a suitable angle, that would be good to know! (I'm not in a position I think to get special pots or anything, financially or just, in terms of special bonsai stuff in this area.)

About the soil and self-watering thing, here's the most "I am scared this thing will die" part.

This tree is in 100% pre-fertilised (with those little beads) potting soil, like, the organic almost mulch-y stuff you'd use for a flowerbed. The self-watering cord is a braid of strings that, through capillary action, draws water up into the soil continuously. So the soil is really wet and not very aerated.

My biggest concerns right now are re-potting this in the right material without splurging a whole lot, especially if I will need to get all the repotting materials within this month.
I can certainly acquire the clay pellets this is supposed to have, and probably the pumice as well. I don't know about lava rock, but I do have loads of that organic potting soil to mix in, too.
I know we own fertiliser, but it's also for those herbs and lettuce, I'm not sure what the exact composition of it is. Advice on fertilisers that aren't fancy/expensive, and that would be suited for this tree type, is appreciated.

Overall, what is you guys' assessment of the situation here?
How can I generally improve my current plan to help this plant grow well this Spring/Summer?

What do you think my timeframe is for re-potting this tree? (Is it very urgent, or something that I don't have to necessarily rush?)

Will a pretty medium-to-high strength set of 3 grow lights work for this bonsai?

Any ideas of what species it is?

Also, do you think a humidifier/similar will be necessary for keeping it inside?

Outside humidity around this time ranges from 50-70% and inside is probably around 50-60%, (at least where the grow lights and my windowsill are; the sunroom is probably closer to 60-70%). I also own a spray bottle/misting thing for some cacti and succulents.

There's a lot going on here, but yeah. I'm a big tomato and herb person, and somewhat cacti and succulents (mostly milk cacti) so that's where my gardening equipment and stuff lies, not sure how it'll mesh with the bonsai, but hopefully it won't be too bad!

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  • ElieZ
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Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions 2 months 3 weeks ago #59201

Hi and welcome to the site.

You are right. THis is a juniper. Hard to tell from here, but educated guess, procumbens nana.

Then.. Do not repot it. No need from pot size.
Do move it outside though. This is not a plant that will live very long indoors.

Just find the spot with the best sun and put it there. Do not move it around. Plants like stability.
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Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions 2 months 2 weeks ago #59207

Agreeing with Leatherback, I'll add that junipers j it st live cool, chilly, and cold., so that line about keep I above 50 is just plain wrong. Keep it outside unless it is going to be below 0F 20C.
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Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions 2 months 2 weeks ago #59210

Ivan Mann wrote: Agreeing with Leatherback, I'll add that junipers j it st live cool, chilly, and cold., so that line about keep I above 50 is just plain wrong. Keep it outside unless it is going to be below 0F 20C.


Actually....any advice to protect the tree from temperatures below 20 c is plain wrong as well.
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Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions 2 months 2 weeks ago #59211

.... he probably means -20....
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Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions 2 months 2 weeks ago #59212

Yes of Course.
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Grow lamp/sunlight, species IDing, AND soil/repotting questions 2 months 2 weeks ago #59216

lucR wrote: .... he probably means -20....


Yes.
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