Identify this plant/tree
May 1, 2019 12:57 PM   Subscribe

This small potted pine tree (pic) was given as a gift. I have been watering it sparsely with med/low light and it is starting to yellow a bit. Can you identify what species it is or how to take care of it?
posted by roaring beast to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
That looks to be a (juniper?) bonsai. Scale is hard to determine, though. How large is it? There are many online resources for the care of bonsai.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:06 PM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

The pot is about 4 inches tall and the plant about 5 inches.
posted by roaring beast at 1:09 PM on May 1, 2019

It’s a juniper of some sort. That’s an outdoor tree in a tiny pot. It will never flourish if kept indoors year round, though it may limp along for several years if you’re careful and supplement light with a grow lamp. Often they yellow /brown out, drop needles and die within a year or so when people get them as a gift and try to treat them like houseplants.

If you are anywhere in North America the basic care is it keep it outside all year, ideally sunk into the ground a bit or sheltered for winter. It may be potted wrong. It should have extremely good drainage and be watered several times per week.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:15 PM on May 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yellowing of leaves can be a sign of overwatering in any plant. It sounds like you're not, but some plants are more sensitive than others. Checking the soil with your finger on dryness can give a clearer idea on knowing when to water. Some guidelines on watering bonsai trees.

It also may just need extra light. Some plants can lose their color if they're meant for brighter conditions and aren't getting it.
posted by pdxhiker at 7:13 PM on May 1, 2019

It's tough to tell from the pic, but rather than a pine or juniper, I think that could be rosemary. Again, an outdoor plant that prefers full sun and well drained soil. No plant in a pot likes to have their soil dry out to crispiness, but herbs in general like to keep their roots pretty dry. So ideally this would go into a bigger pot with good drainage, outside in full sun. Water in the mornings. Maybe every other day depending on the climate where you live.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:37 PM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nope, I've looked again and I guess it is juniper-ish. Sorry, disregard my previous answer.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:39 PM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

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