Hi I have a pepper bonsai for about a month .. for about 15 days my bonsai has a part of the tree that is losing leaves and many are dark and dry .. I water it once a day and keep it indoors with a window close where the sun does not shine anyway. what am I wrong?! thanks

Sophora prostrate little baby

Dear Dario,

with the name pepper tree bonsai I saw several bonsai trees in the nursery, some were specimens of false pepper, schinus molle, a tree native to South America, with minute and lanceolate leaves, evergreen, very pleasing to the eye, with small yellow flowers in spring, followed by red fruits; the leaves and the bark of schinus are very aromatic, and therefore it is very easy to understand if we have a sapling of this species, just rub a leaf. Other pepper trees that I have seen belonged to another species: sophora prostrata; shrub native to New Zealand, with tiny evergreen, shiny, roundish leaflets. These two saplings can live in the garden in Italy, even as bonsai, although it is better to shelter them at home if we live in an area with very cold winters, and in any case if they live outdoors in winter they need at least the protection of the fabric, especially on the pot, but also on the foliage. They are grown in very bright areas, possibly with at least a few hours of direct sunlight, especially from September to March; if you have kept your sapling in a dimly lit place for some time, try to move it to the light gradually, a little at a time; however, in the very hot months it is not advisable to place a bonsai in full sun, because it could suffer sunburn or suffer from drought, so find a semi-shaded position already now, but with at least direct morning light. Both species can tolerate even long periods of drought without problems, and consider that in general it is always inadvisable to water the plants every day, thus keeping the soil always soaked with water; a soil that is always wet favors the development of molds, fungi and rot, and also does not allow the roots to exchange gas with the outside. It therefore seems to me to be appropriate to suspend watering until the soil is completely dry. Since your bonsai clearly shows symptoms due to root rot, you might think about repotting it, extracting it from the pot and cleaning it well from all the soil; the dark or soft roots will be removed, using a very sharp and clean shears; then sprinkle a little fungicide on all the roots and clean the pot well, then sprinkle it with fungicide. Then reposition the sapling, with some new and clean potting soil, consisting of a part of akadama and a part of universal potting soil. Then place the pot in a bright place, and water only when the soil has a dry surface.

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