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I have a cute bonsai sitting by my desk, it's a juniper.

It looks like this

I have a window and it gets around an hour a day of direct sunlight. For the rest of the day it has a mix of indirect and florescent light.

Is that enough light?

I don't want it to die, but I don't want to have it away from my desk for too long. If I put it outside for 3 hours of morning light will that be enough?

I live in USDA zone 11 in the southern hemisphere, so it's summer here, now.

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1 Answer 1

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Although Junipers grow in hot and dry areas they are not tropical plants. They are better described as

widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the mountains of Central America.

Any plant with that kind of range is very adaptable which makes it a good choice for bonsai growers. Wherever they live they like full sun and this makes the current light levels of your plant too low to sustain it in the long run.

The problem with putting it outside for a few hours each day is described here:

Sudden changes in lighting can also have a negative effect on plant health. For example, plants that have been produced under high-light greenhouse conditions often drop leaves when relocated to low-light home conditions and severe leaf drop can result in plant death. This is quite common in Ficus species. Conversely, plants that are moved from a fairly shady location to a sunny window often exhibit signs of scorching and wilting. Even plants that prefer bright lighting will react this way if they are not properly acclimatized

To rephrase this "plants like it just the way it is", constant changes in the intensity of the light can stress a plant. You would be better off to provide a stronger source of supplemental lighting. LED or Compact Fluorescent lights are now on the market that are corrected to provide a light that is closer to sunlight. They can often be found at hydroponic stores or hardware stores.

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Wow! I didn't know that! I wasn't aware that sudden changes could cause such problem! Thanks! @Coomie: Please go by Kevinsky's answer, you can use flurescent bulbs as he suggests. –  jaczjill Mar 1 '13 at 12:30

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