I picked this up in a yard sale, the old man seemed to know a lot but our language barrier made it difficult to follow and remember his instructions, ridiculously I forgot to even ask him the name of this particular tree, I gathered a few bits of information but some step by step basics would be highly appreciative, I would be mortified should this beautiful thing deteriorate under my care.

from what I remember, he said...

**its not an indoor plant

**I should cut the black cord after approx 2-3 months, he explained it encouraged the tree to grow slanting to one side as intended or as is aesthetically more pleasing?

**the soil under the rocks should be moist/damp at most times and if dry I should water the soil.

recommendation for watering (I found heavy handed but what the hell do I know), **put the tree under a sink and let the water reach just above the pot, submerge it all until level with the bottom of the roots.

that's as much as I know, if anyone can identify its name and give or confirm the old mans instructions to be sound, that would be highly appreciative...I paid $40 AU, I think that's a good price although again I really have no idea, thanks

EDIT : i should mention its fairly cool weather here in Sydney AU, not a lot of sun, Autumn although rather cold

click here** for close up of leaf

name please

1 Answer 1


You scored! This is one beautiful bonsai. I think it is an azalea. Needs to be watered every day by dunking. It has a larger than normal pot and thus more soil to hold the water longer so I'd need to see some scale thrown into the picture.

The critical thing right now is where has this bonsai been living prior to the garage sale? Was it in the sun or was it under a porch roof. Get it out of the direct sunlight and under a porch roof for now for sure.

The old man was explaining how to water your tree by submerging the entire pot and waiting until it stops bubbling ensures your plant's roots get water. Did he say every day? He is correct.

Ask him when he last fertilized and with what fertilizer. They have to have a little fertilizer, but not too much! Don't give it anything until you are able to find out what the schedule this tree has been on...find out what the guy used. It is obviously also in the bonsai construction process. Ask him when he last root pruned. Where out of doors was this tree kept? Also, find a source of distilled water or a friend's well water. Do not use tap water.

Think about taking a bonsai class with this new family member. It will out live you and if you can keep it alive and thriving you will get a black belt in horticulture! This old guy might be a bonsai master! See if he teaches. Find someone who can translate! Use a computer to type, translate back and forth?

How cold does it get down under for the winter? Plants in pots have their very tender roots exposed to the cold. I need to know how cold because if it freezes, the soil freezes you will need to bring that guy indoors for the winter. That will take a few weeks of acclimatization to accustom a plant from out of doors to the indoors. Gotta ask that guy what he recommends. A covered porch is a great halfway house but not for cold winters.

  • Thank you so much, the old man said it was kept outside but did not elaborate, it dosnt "freeze" necessarily in winter, you've given me a lot to work with I will definitely be coming back to look over your answer to make sure I'm doing everything correctly as well as communicating with the old man with regards to the fertilizer, thankfully he said I could come back to him should I need help, thank you so much
    – newbie
    May 13, 2018 at 4:30
  • If he told you to come back, he has some serious investment in this plant and cares that his baby, truly is happy and healthy. Do you have a friend who knows Japanese? Chinese? Mandarin?...You would be taking advantage of a great situation here...an EXPERT Bonsai master...he'll give you personalized information few are privy to knowing! You'd make major 'wash on wax off' points if you read up on Bonsai or took any old class on Bonsai. Make SURE you stay in touch with him! Talk about Mr Miyagi? A mentor for cheap? (Karate Kid the original movies). You could be the karate kid.
    – stormy
    May 14, 2018 at 0:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.