indoor joshua tree

bonsai_tree_owner(6)April 22, 2010

i want to grow a joshua tree indoors. can they survive indoors?

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cactusmcharris

I think they can survive indoors, if you're careful with the lighting/water/heat, but perhaps another question is 'will they flourish?' and my answer would be 'not much if at all'. These should be inside only for cold weather - the rest of the time they're best grown outside.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 2:00PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

are there any links that describe their characteristics like their temperature, lighting, water, soil tolerances?

do they have a dormancy?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 5:17PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

cactusmcharris is correct, Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) is not a houseplant.

If you are truly into Bonsai, let me make an analogy:
Would you grow a maple or white pine indoors?

x

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 6:31PM
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norma_2006

The Huntignton Gardens doesn't even grow one in the desert garden. Where would you get such a plant? And why grow it inside? Norma

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 7:20PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

no. of course not. those are outdoor trees. they are seasonal.

good indoor plants are tropical or subtropic rain forest plants like ficuses, spider plants or some creeper vine plants.

i did had success in growing a cactus on the window sill. it grew 7 inches in 7 years. then aphids bore holes in it and died.

i thought i might have some luck with the joshua tree.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 7:22PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well no one says you can't try. But it sounds like the folks who responded might know something about this. Since you now have its botanial name, perhaps YOU can try a search for its particular likes & dislikes & then see if you can accommodate them.

Or try more C&S plants, there's lots of other plants out there that one can try w/ perhaps better chances of success.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:38PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Joshua tree/Yucca brevifolia is not the easiest Yucca to grow even here in its native southern California in a garden setting, as it comes from higher elevation Mojave desert that sees real cold in winter and blistering heat in summer, as well as very, very little rainfall at any time of year, but primarily in winter. It is not in any way a subtropical or tropical growing Yucca, and is seldom even grown outside desert locations. I don't know whether it is even grown much in lower/warmer Colorado desert locations such as Phoenix or Tucson, Las Vegas would probably be a more likely spot for successful gardening with this.

It would probably be rather picky about growing conditions indoors, and require specialized care to succeed with it. Does anyone recall whether this species is being successfully grown at the Stanford Cactus Garden? I don't think there are any at either Strybing or UC Berkeley Botanic Garden, while there may be one at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, but I don't recall.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 2:00AM
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curiouscomputer

Hello,
Bonsai_tree_owner, I would like to suggest an alternative plant. Sedum multiceps. Looks similar to a joshua tree, but a lot smaller...

My S. multiceps died over the winter, or I'd post a picture of it. You can find it on Google though. Wait, I just found an interesting link... (i'm not affiliated with this website btw.)

-curiouscomputer

Here is a link that might be useful: http://bonsaitreesforsaleonline.com/grow-bonsai-sedum-multiceps-bonsai-succulent-miniature-joshua-tree-2

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:28AM
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cactusmcharris

It's a low-down dirty shame that even Sedum multiceps requires a disclaimer.

That's a better plant for inside than your originally-intended one, Bonsai, and much more suitable to the diminutive hacking that y'all do.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:45AM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

thanks. it sounds like logical alternative. i will do more research on it and experiment.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 11:46AM
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norma_2006

Sudum multiceps is a miniature, in a 3" pot, goes dormant during the sumer months, Looks nothing like a Johsha tree even in a stretch. Johsha Tree are you kidding us? Norma

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 12:23PM
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cactusmcharris

No, Norma, you're not being kidded. Many folks (I include my humble self in that crowd) have thought the same thing.

Just let your imagination drift, enter a different space-time continuum, and it's quite easy and a little delicious to see S. multiceps as a miniature Y. brevifolia. Squeeze your eyes really tight and you'll see it, too.

This doesn't require a stretch in the least.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 12:37PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

s. multiceps have a dormant period? i have bad luck with plant dormancy. esp. when you have a senior citizen family member playing around with thermostat and the air conditioner,reeking havac on my plants. :)

i had a juniper bonsai tree same as in the karate kid movie. my cellar was cold and perfect from its dormant period. my father left the heat on in cellar and my juniper died. :(

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:53PM
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cactusmcharris

Yes, it is as Norma says.

Water it in the summer, and, like watering a Dudleya or Tylecodon in the summer, Pierre says 'POOF', and it's gone.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:35PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

ok. does a jushua tree have a dormant period?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:45PM
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cactusmcharris

Its scientific name is Yucca brevifolia, and its common name is Joshua Tree and it doesn't really have a dormant period (it will grow when it can), but it does slow down a lot in winter and in the heat of summer - TTBOMK, its home of the Mojave Desert doesn't get a monsoonal rain. Spring and Fall are the most active times.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:10PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

thanks

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:34PM
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norma_2006

I have seen forest of them growing in high altitudes in our Calif. high deserts, with even snow on the ground. They don't like to be moved. In fact it is stealing if you do and there is a heavy fine. If you find one to purchase I would do so. The Huntington doesn't grow them because they can't keep them alive. Take the hint, if the Huntington can't grow them why does any one here think they can. That is rather cheeky. (an old English expression.)I say do not water in the summer. Norma

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:16PM
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cactusmcharris

Norma,

Turning that around, isn't it at least equally cheeky to think that if the Huntington can't grow them then no one else can?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 9:49AM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

Yucca thompsoniana looks almost identical to Yucca brevifolia; it is easier to find and it is cheaper.

x

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 3:42PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

thanks all for the info. lets see if my green thumb for my indoor bonsai tree and indoor dessert cacti is lucky with the yuccas.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 7:16PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I was visiting the Tilden Botanic Garden in Berkeley today, and discovered that there are at least a dozen Yucca brevifolia planted in the desert section of the garden, ranging in size from about 14 feet tall at the largest, to 18 inches tall. None of them have branched at this point, and I would imagine that the tallest is at least 40 to 50 years old. Interesting to note, that the dwarf Sedum multiceps does very much resemble the landscape character of the Joshua Tree, if one adjusts for the difference in scale.

More to the point, given that even relatively old planted Y. brevifolia are unlikely to branch until very old, they wouldn't seem to make an ideal candidate for a bonsai specimen, which are typically intended to resemble an aged specimen of the species in question.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 9:50PM
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norma_2006

Sedum multiceps, is that what is being discussed here, or have we switched topics again, The desert 'Josha Tree grow very large and gets very old. Or is the request about Sedum multiceps, miniature 'Josha Tree' Two different plants, grows two different ways, comes from two different locations. Could there may be a communication problem here? All of a sudden I realized that the inquiry may mean something we least expected. Sedum multiceps may be grown by a person who knows how to grow succulents. Norma

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 6:06PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

honestly, i am try to grow both plants. i like experimenting and challenges.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 7:27PM
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norma_2006

Sedum muticeps is a winter grower, grow in the shade in the summer, and do not water, perphaps a drop each month. They are easy to grow and propagate if you know what to do.
Jeff you do not water this plant during the summer month when it is dormant. They are Aeonium, no water if hot summer months. But do what you want and kill the plant. Norma

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 7:49PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

thanks for info. i will try my cellar again. its cold in winter if someone does not touch thermostat and i can make it sunny or shady

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 7:47AM
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cactusmcharris

BTO,

S. multiceps is a winter grower - in winter, it will want heat and water. In summer, no water is suggested.

Norma,

Thanks for the information. I think you might be confusing me with someone else, however. There's no confusion on my part here.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 11:29AM
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sagebrush36(6)

I grow everything from seed. A friend of mine got some Joshua Tree seeds when visiting Arizona and sprouted them, as I did the Organ Pipe cactus seeds he gave me. He is growing them indoors in the Boston area. At last communication, he said they were doing fine. They were sprouted in 2008.

I never take no for an answer, if I really want to try something.

When I return to Boston for the summer, I will check on his Yuccas and report back. Will be there the end of next month.

Sagebrush

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:13PM
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norma_2006

Perhaps if you give them desert sand. No water during the summer months and snow in the January, they will do fine.
Sedum multiceps I was currently growing 20 just gave 10 away for the Huntington Sale, they were already dormant for the summer, we grow them in the shade during the summer months. I like your spirit of at least trying, take the suggestion of Pirate Girl and Google both genus of plants. It is fun to try new things. I hope the information that the group supplied will be of assistance for your success. Norma

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 2:10AM
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norma_2006

They grow at 3500 ft elevation, in Calif we have two locations, have any of you seen our forest of them and where they are located? Both places there is winter snows some of the years. Norma

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 4:56AM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

I have been to the Joshua tree forest in northwestern Arizona 50 miles north from the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. beautiful but deadly area. the Joshua trees were beautiful and majestic. the scorpions were deadly. Our guide told us to rest in the Joshua tree forest but don't sit down anywhere. Of course, I said why? He kicked away some desert brush. and some enough, there were a lot of scorpions crawling around.

anyway, changing the subject, i had no luck raising Joshua trees indoors even the house had a hot sun room. the problem 1 is the seeds came from a starter kit that my sister-in-law bought in las vegas and problem 2 maybe at night, high dew points. i live in zone 6 now. eastern michigan west of the great lake, huron.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 3:18PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

does anyone a big time, repetitable plant company that sells fresh joshua tree seeds?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 11:24AM
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cactusmcharris

BTO,

Have you searched using the phrase 'Yucca brevifolia seeds'? Methinks that might help you find a reputable company from which to order. Once you find them, let us know who they are and we'll give you our opinion.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 12:19PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

here are the top hits off of google. if these aren't big time, reputible companies, please recommend some good ones.

http://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Tree-10-Seeds-brevifolia/dp/B000UFWQKM

http://www.seedandgarden.com/shop/products/Joshua-Tree-Seeds-YUCCA-brevifolia.html

http://www.cactusstore.com/category_70/SEEDS-Succulents-Y.htm

http://www.bouncingbearbotanicals.com/joshua-tree-seeds-p-696.html

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 4:50PM
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cactusmcharris

Go to the link - you will get what you order. I've never heard of those other places, but the link is the real deal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mesa Gardens

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 6:01PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

cactusmcharris,

have you ordered with mesa gardens before?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:49PM
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cactusmcharris

No, I haven't, but many people I know and trust have, hence my recommendation.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 9:32PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I have and they did good by me. They differentiate between the seed collected this year and the ones collected years before so their list does change from year to year. I like that. Agave seed loose viability with time. There list can be a little hard to understand but use your head and all things become clear. some people are thrown off that there are no pretty pictures. SHEESH.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 11:18PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

thanks a lot. i will try them.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 3:22PM
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bonsai_tree_owner(6)

is there a special yearly harvet season to buy the freshest seeds?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 3:33PM
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cactusmcharris

The best answer to that is to email them and ask, or even better yet give them a call.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 3:47PM
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hanzrobo(11)

I lived in the high desert for 5 years. It is dry, dry, dry 95% of the time, mostly hot-very hot-freezing. It doesn't normally drop lower than 10�. The plant is beautiful but nothing you want to nuzzle. I would definitely go with seed - first because the trees are illegal to remove, second because they are covered with parasites in the wild. We had one in the front yard for 4 years (bought from a local nursery) and it didn't grow, rotted at the base and died.
You're in Michigan? That's some serious Dr. Frankenstein stuff.
I support you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 8:41PM
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land3499

A friend from AZ sent me Y. brevifolia seeds a little over three years ago. Like Norma, I had heard that they don't like being transplanted, so I potted up five seeds in a 12" pot. They were extremely slow-growing for the first two years, then seemed to get a growth spurt in their third year, about 3" high.

The combination of the neighbor's dog and squirrels led to their demise :)

My guess is that any attempt to bonsai-ize this species will just lead to a very small rosettes.

-R

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 7:17PM
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KASanty_bataviacsd_org

I have a Joshua tree that I started from a seed. It has grown indoors (I live in Buffalo) for 4 years. I keep standing water in a bowl and the pot sits in that. I have had to transplant it a few times into bigger pots. I use a bag of catcus soil. The plant is very thick/strong and about 2 ft. tall. Not sure what to do next with it - maybe just keep getting bigger pots!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 9:28PM
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clw92_telus_net

I live in Calgary, Alta. Have a tree I started from seed about 4 years ago. It is only about a foot high. We get very cold snowy winters, but never above 30 in the summer. Do you think it would grow outside? Thks

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 5:57PM
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cactusmcharris

No, it's too cold next door for Y.b.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:20PM
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