There are extensive on-going correspondence as we try to assist and every so often there is a story or photo that cries out to be shared!  We encourage those growing our trees to send in stories and photos and we'll share them in this "Mailbag,"  which will appear in the Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai!
      Hello David, I'm just writing to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and to show you two of the trees I bought from you a couple years ago.  The third one (wish I had a picture) was left outside during a short vacation and deer chewed on it and uprooted it.  It was so hardy that, after I stuck it back in the ground and watered it, it came back.  One is especially interesting because I buried the plant deep in a pot, the five trunks became individual trees with separate root systems and the original main body of the plant just sort of disappeared.  Anyway, they are all doing well and I hope you are, too.

        Chuck Clemens (West Branch, MI)  December 12, 2012


         Through emails like this, we're finding out that Dwarf Scheff is a really tough plant and that it does things very unexpectedly.  A while back, I received a photo showing a lava planting in a glass globe that was doing well.  Later another in "low glass bowls" also doing well.  I recently found a 5" diameter x 4" high glass cylinder that is also doing well!  For those with very low humidity,  this may be advisable.  Request some feedback and possible applications! 


          On June 10, 2011,  "SD-Florida" reported the use of low glass bowls that were attractive but also very effective and easy-care, including restoring a poorly watered one retreived from a college dorm (left). The one on the right is growing moss!  The entire report is posted at:


           On January of 2012,  Mrs. Pat Lipksy of Santa Rosa, California sent a number of photos in which she moved her two beloved lava plantings into a goldfish bowl to offset the dry winter and was worried because moss was growing within the higher humidity environment and with the warmth of a desk lamp! 


            Two December 2012 photos taken at Fuku-Bonsai: I happened upon a 5" diameter x 4" high glass cylinder two weeks ago,  added about 1.25 inches of our lava gravel with just a tablespoon of water and place a Small size HS8 Dwarf Schefflera Lava Planting on the gravel and set it next to a northeast window that never gets any direct sunlight. 

           IN TWO WEEKS TOP GROWTH SHOT UP!  WHITE ROOTS STARTED POPPING OUT! MOSS IS STARTING TO GROW!   I've never seen such dramatic change indoors!  So what to do?  I DON'T KNOW!

           I think the environment is too moist and will lead to pretty (but weak) growth.  I'll dry out the gravel the next hot sunny day and allow the rock planting to drain well following its weekly watering by submerging and place it on DRY gravel.  Even then, the porous lava gravel will likely hold some moisture to give off beneficial humidity. 

         POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS OF CONCEPT:  If you can find a 12" diameter glass cylinder with walls about 5" high,  it may be good to add an inch of lava gravel and place a 8LS8 Potted Bonsai in it to encourage aerial roots, moss, etc.

         Can such a glass container be used to reinvigorate plants that are a bit dried out?

         Look forward to feedback from those in dry areas.     

          Here's a photo of a customer plant that is badly dehydrating and showing vertical creases. Our recommendations:  Soak the entire rock under water for several days with the hope that the trunks will rehydrate. Another idea:  After a few days of soaking, place in a shallow bowl with water and place plant and bowl inside of a polybag with the hope both water and humidity will revive any life still in the plant!

         This emergency rescue still in progress --- more later. 


        A JEREMY ERB UPDATE!  The Fall-Winter 2012 issue of the FBnews  included a number of reports of various Fuku-Bonsai workshops.  But the one by Jeremy had us most impressed.  He did an Introductory Workshop Package by mail order, he and Meredith both graduated with PhDs, honeymooned in Hawaii and took the most difficult advanced workshop with the knowledge he may not be back for a while and he wanted the most difficult challenge of training a "wire-armature Dragon!"  This lifted the tree quite high and we were concerned whether he could get good enough growth in Ohio.  He took the workshop at Fuku-Bonsai in July 2012 and recently emailed to report that roots are developing well and already visible in the pot.  Will look for a spring update! His story posted at:  www.fukubonsai.com/3a2o.html  

         "EXCERPTS FROM THE MAILBAG"  will address questions and problems that we receive or learn about. Fuku-Bonsai has been a certified export nursery since 1973 and ships to all parts of the United States.  Our goal is to make our plants "customer-proof!"  But a major challenge is being able to write our cultural sheets in a manner that they cannot possibly be misinterpreted!

         Unfortunately, we've come to accept that people think they know best.  Most people with problems overwater their plants.  We tell them to look for white root tips which tell them all is okay.  If roots are rotted or black, the odds are they are over-watering their plants.  When the plants die,  the trunks become soft and it is easy to peel the bark off the trunk. 

         In a relatively fewer cases, plants are underwaterred and once they are rehydrated and survive, placing them in deeper glass containers and placing them on DRY gravel seems to add a bit of humidity to make a difference.

         It seems the critical instructions is to water weekly by saturation under water for 30 minutes each week, drain, and place the rock planting on to DRY gravel  AND DON'T ADD ANY WATER!

         Next to resolving problems,  the next major area of questions involve training and this will be covered in future issues.      ~~~David


The Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai is published monthly by email and is a benefit of Foundation membership. Annual dues are just $12 per year. For more information about becoming a member, go to www.fukubonsai.com/MPBF.html