Dear editorial staff In mid-January my bonsai pepper has lost all its leaves, put the new ones but I noticed that some very small lateral leaves have become black and dry why? Thank you in advance

schinus molle

Dear Giuseppe,

despite what is commonly believed the pepper tree, also called false pepper in Italian, is an evergreen outdoor plant, and in fact many bonsai lovers find themselves with shabby plants, simply because they have kept their false pepper in the apartment all autumn and It is in nature a small tree with very decorative evergreen foliage, the botanical name is schinus molle, and is called false pepper because it produces clusters of, small berries that are very reminiscent of peppercorns and are often used as pepper (piper nigrum). Originally the schinus molle comes from Central South America, and in nature it lives in areas characterized by a very humid climate, but not very hot, as it lives in Peru and in other South American countries, on the highlands, where the winter climate can be quite harsh. . So your pepper tree can be grown outdoors all year round, in bright and possibly sunny locations, and withstands minimum temperatures close to -10 ° C. The reason your bonsai has lost all its foliage is due the fact that in the apartment the plant is in decidedly too dry conditions: your plant tolerates drought without problems and does not need excessive watering, on the contrary, it is good to let the soil dry between two waterings; however, having been brought into the house, it certainly found an excessively dry air, so it needed frequent vaporizations, with demineralized water, to increase the humidity present in the air around the plant. outdoors, and leave it in the air and in bad weather all year round, even during autumn and winter; in case of really very cold temperatures remember to cover the pot with non-woven fabric, to prevent all the earthen bread around the roots from freezing. Watering will be regular from March to September, thin out for the remaining months: it is important to avoid watering this too much plant, which is very afraid of water stagnation; so every time you water, check with your fingers that the soil is dry.If you really prefer to grow the plant indoors, remember that it needs a lot of sunlight, even direct, and good ambient humidity, and therefore vaporize the foliage frequently ; even if the plant is grown indoors, during the autumn and winter months, the schinus goes through a period of semi-vegetative rest, as the shorter days allow the plants to understand what season we are in, regardless of the climate; for this reason, it is advisable to reduce watering, supplying water only when the soil is dry. From September to March we also avoid fertilizing.

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