Hi, I bought a 16-year-old apple tree bonsai in October. The seller told me that in the months subject to freezing it was better to take it for cover, so I always took it to the cellar in the light. When it needed water I bathed it, now I ask mine hasn’t bloomed or budded yet, can it be dead? (I state that when I bought it the bonsai had lost many leaves since the seller had moved it from the greenhouse to a flower shop) thank you


Dear Jessica,

apple trees are grown in most of Italy, testifying to the fact that it is a rustic plant in our country; in fact, the varieties used as bonsai often derive from Asian, Chinese or Japanese sepcias, and therefore generally prefer a slightly more humid climate, than the Italian one, and with less extreme temperatures, i.e. a little less cold in winter and a little less hot in summer. Therefore, usually, these bonsai plants are grown outdoors, but protected in winter, that is, just place them on the terrace near a wall of the house, for example, or covered with a layer of non-woven fabric; mind in summer, from June to the end of August, it is placed in a semi-shady place, so that they do not suffer from the torrid heat of the afternoon hours. That said, to have abundant flowering, it is essential that the plant enjoys good brightness, and therefore from late August to early June, it is important that your bonsai is exposed to full sun, with direct sunlight. So it may be that the positioning in the cellar has inhibited the production of gems, as a cellar, however “bright”, is not equivalent to direct exposure to sunlight for as many hours as possible. In addition to this, keep in mind that the flowering buds are produced from apple trees already in June of the previous year, and preferably on the shortest branches; for this reason the pruning of the plant is carried out trying to favor the development of short branches, but without making excessive pruning, especially in autumn, to avoid pruning most of the future buds. Since your bonsai was purchased in the fall, unfortunately you cannot know what were the prunings carried out in the summer by those who sold you the plant, who may have drastically pruned it before selling it to you. Also consider that, during the winter months, apple trees are leafless, and it may be that your watering has been excessive, leading to the development of root rot, which may have disturbed the development of future shoots. Unfortunately it is difficult to understand what the conditions of your apple tree are, which today should carry a large quantity of buds, which are gradually getting bigger; if he doesn’t even have one, it’s worrying; to see if the plant is still alive, try cutting off the apex of a few twigs to see if it is still alive. If so, try to move the bonsai to a brighter location with direct sunlight.

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