In October 2012 I received
an email from "D. H of Ohio:" About 4 1/2 years ago, I
bought a Dwarf Schefflera Small Size Lava Planting on
Maui at Dan's Green House. It has been a very successful
plant since that time, until now. About a month and a half
ago, I trimmed many of the branches off because I had let
the plant get quite large. A couple weeks ago, some new
growth began to appear. Recently, however, some of the new
growth has begun to turn black, dry up, and die. Also, some
of the other leaves have started curling up. Attached are
some pictures of my plant, the dying new growth buds and
leaves. I have watered the plant weekly or more and it sits
near a window for light. Is it possible to water it too
much in its bowl? Do you know what might cause this problem
of the black, dried, dying leaves? I want to save it before
more dies, if possible. Hopefully
you can answer my question or point me to someone who does
The top photo shows the lava planting had been sitting
in water for 4 1/2 years but only now dying! I advised
drying out the gravel, soaking the plant for 30 minutes once
per week, and placing it on DRY GRAVEL.
In April 2013 I received another email from "D.H.of Ohio"
Sorry it took so long, but here's the update, as promised.
I changed my watering habits, so that I now immerse the
plant once each week and have been putting a little water in
the bowl, too, but usually, there is a day or two near the
end of the week where the rock and the gravel underneath
both appear and feel dry. The reason I've been putting some
water in the bowl, too, is that my room is very dry and the
water evaporates quickly, so I don't want to now kill the
plant by giving too little water. During the transition from
the last time I emailed you, one of the two main branches of
the trunk dried up and stopped growing when the last set of
leaves died on that side. The other main branch now seems
healthy and stable. It has been a while since I've seen any
leaves blacken, dry up, and die and even a few new sets of
leaves have successfully grown. Thank you for you help.
The current growth seems to be
okay and it is likely that some roots have been able to
survive and must now be growing within the lava rock.
Dwarf Schefflera is a very durable plant that continues to
surprise me as it survives an exceptional amount of abuse.
These traits make Dwarf Schefflera the most successful
houseplant bonsai, especially if given good care!
NOTE FROM DAVID: This
mailbag feature is intended to give those in the True Indoor
Bonsai community an idea of the vast range of bonsai
interest. Each bonsai's care requirements are based upon the
need of that specific plant and the climatic conditions of
each grower's area. While the great majority of those who
grow Fuku-Bonsai's Dwarf Schefflera True Indoor Bonsai grow
them indoors, some grow them outdoors when night
temperatures are above 55°F and they achieve growth that
Happily, this trend is increasing and those with a lot of
outdoor bonsai skills and experience are growing (and
teaching) True Indoor Bonsai and giving them as gifts to
family and friends because they are so much easier to grow.
Older bonsai clubs are using our Introductory Workshop
Packages for their beginner bonsai classes and increasing
their memberships to include families, ladies, and youths!
Clubs are using our Intermediate Workshop II packages for
public demonstrations and are bulk purchasing to receiving
discounts and reselling Hawaiian Lava Plantings and our
Potted Bonsai to the public to benefit their treasury.
I would appreciate photos and stories of how bonsai clubs
are working with Fuku-Bonsai to create greater overall
interest in bonsai and strengthening bonsai clubs.
Most who grow the more difficult outdoor bonsai hesitate to
sell their bonsai trees to the general public who would
promptly kill them. So they are happy to sell our True
Indoor Bonsai with our cultural sheets so anyone who has
problems can call Fuku-Bonsai directly for help or if they
have questions. An annual MPBF club membership is just
$12 with one club contact person. The link to the
monthly email Journal can be forwarded to all club members.
MPBF membership is on an honor system. In the future,
some items will be specially produced and will only be
available to individual MPBF members of record.
I would appreciate photos and notes from those who grow our
Dwarf Schefflera outdoors in warmer climates or in warmer
seasons in colder climates. Also appreciated would be
reports concerning the growth rates between indoors and out,
and different growth characteristics when grown outdoors.
Our True Indoor Bonsai Dwarf Schefflera can be grown
outdoors if greater attention to watering and fertilizing.
The biggest mistake is believing that ALL bonsai can be
grown indoors. They can't. Outdoor trees don't
automatically become houseplants because they are bonsai.
There are very few houseplants that can be trained as bonsai
and Dwarf Schefflera has the best bonsai traits. We
specialize in Dwarf Schefflera that has a lot of character
within one inch of the soil line and this greatly increases
the potential for those who start with such prepared or
semi-trained bonsai stock compared to natural untrained
seedlings and cuttings.
In the few months since we've published the JOURNAL OF
TROPICAL & TRUE INDOOR BONSAI, there has been a wonderful
excitement as those in isolated areas where there are no
bonsai clubs are finding that it is possible to grow bonsai
and those who have only grown True Indoor Bonsai for a few
months are already starting to teach family and friends!
Many in the old-timer outdoor bonsai community know that our
late bonsai master Haruo "Papa" Kaneshiro inspired the
Hawaiian bonsai community to experiment and grow new plants
as bonsai. He also enjoyed growing succulents in
colorful pots. "Mama" Kaneshiro grew Schefflera
houseplant mame bonsai in pots and this was one of the
inspiration for creating Fuku-Bonsai. All of us in
Hawaii applaud and support the vision and commitment of the
late Japanese grand master Saburo Kato and we preserve,
promote and educate bonsai as a bridge to international
friendship and peace. We hope these values and the
spirit of Hawaii becomes an integral part of the True Indoor
Bonsai community. Please email me if I can be of
~~~David W. Fukumoto (email@example.com)