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Ficus Bonsai Tree Care Sheet

Tender/Evergreen/Very Easy to keep/Ideal for beginners

 

Introduction.


This Bonsai tree care guide describes how to look after a Ficus Bonsai tree, which is arguably the number one best indoor Bonsai and all round beginner Bonsai tree available.  This is due to the fact that Ficus adapt far better to our modern central heated homes than most other indoor Bonsai trees as Ficus are native to Southern and Eastern Asia where they often grow on the forest floor under the shade of the forest canopy, because of this they can tolerate low light levels and high temperatures, and due to their thick waxy leaves they can handle lower humidity better than most indoor species, making the Ficus an ideal indoor Bonsai subject and would be the best and safest choice for a beginner to start with. The Ficus species are among the most popular Bonsai trees due to the fact that they are very easy to grow and they are very diverse.  The Ficus genus consists of over 800 species, these include, Ficus Benjamina, F Retusa, F Neriifolia Reg, F Benghalensis, F Religiosa, F Buxifolia, F Microcarpa, all of which make excellent indoor Bonsai trees. 

Where To Keep Them/Watering.


Ficus Bonsai trees are a tender species (not frost hardy) and don't tolerate temperatures below 15c very well, temperatures slightly lower than this for short periods wont kill your Ficus Bonsai, however prolonged exposure will eventually result in ill health, this means the only times you can leave your Ficus Bonsai outdoors all day and night is in June and July (in the UK).  The rest of the summer you can place your Bonsai tree outdoors on hot days and bring it back indoors in the evening, or you may choose to keep your Ficus Bonsai tree indoors all year round which is possible however it will do your Bonsai tree a lot of good to spend as much time outdoors as possible in summer.  Although Ficus Bonsai trees can tolerate lower light and humidity levels in your home, it is far better to place them on a bright window sill away from a heat source, avoid cold draughts and large temperature fluctuations as this can cause leaf drop through stress.  As with most if not all indoor Bonsai trees a humidity tray is recommended, however as Ficus are more tolerant of lower humidity you could try your Ficus Bonsai without at first, if your Bonsai tree does well then it should be ok to continue without a humidity tray, if your Ficus Bonsai does not do well, your home may not be humid enough and a humidity tray may be necessary.  The tray should be a few inches larger in width and length than the Bonsai pot, and the Bonsai pot should not come in to direct contact with the water in the tray, the feet of the Bonsai pot should be placed on some small stones to raise the pot above the waters surface, or you could place fine gravel up to the rim of the tray and place the Bonsai pot on top of the gravel.  Make sure the humidity tray has the water topped up at all times and as the water evaporates it will rise up through the leaves of your Bonsai tree and help to keep the local area more humid.  Your Bonsai tree will also appreciate the occasional misting with a sprayer (filtered water is proffered, as unfiltered water can leave a white residue on the leaves) misting will also encourage aerial roots to grow which can become one of the main features of Ficus Bonsai trees.  You should aim to keep the Bonsai soil moist but never constantly waterlogged, you can do this by watering regularly but sparingly, although you will need to increase the amount of water given in summer when the Bonsai tree is in active growth.   

Repotting/Wiring/Feeding/And Pruning.


Your Ficus Bonsai tree will need re potting every 2-3 years, the best time of year to do this is in spring, however as an indoor subject Ficus Bonsai trees can be re-potted any time of year, you can cut the roots back hard on Ficus and they will bounce back, although just because you can doesn't mean this is always necessary.  Akadama and or Moler Bonsai soil mixed with fine potting bark would be a good choice to repot your Ficus, you could also add some pumice granules to aid drainage, pumice will also hold a certain amount of moisture for your Bonsai tree.  It is important not to fertilize your Bonsai tree for around four weeks after re-potting as doing so can burn the new roots that your Bonsai tree will be developing, after this period carry on fertilizing as usual.  You should fertilize your Bonsai tree from spring onwards when your Bonsai is in active growth with a balanced fertilizer such as Chempak, you will usually fertilize your Bonsai tree once a week but feeding guidelines will differ from brand to brand so it is best to refer to the instructions on the particular brand you decide to use.  When your Ficus Bonsai stops putting on new growth in winter you should stop fertilizing until growth resumes in spring.  Wiring can be carried out on Ficus Bonsai trees at any time of year, branches on Ficus Bonsai may only take a few months to set so keep an eye on the wires to make sure they don't cut in to the bark.  Trim new growth back to shape all year round when your Bonsai tree is in active growth, you will notice a white milky sap coming out of the wounds, this is nothing to worry about and this will naturally seal the wounds caused by trimming.  Your Ficus Bonsai tree may also benefit from leaf pruning (defoliation) in early summer, partial defoliating is usually best as full defoliation can cause some branches to die back, removing only the largest leaves ensures some leaves are left to keep the sap flowing through the branches, this will encourage a new crop of smaller leaves to grow and will also allow light to reach the twigs and branches. 


The best way to ensure you keep your Bonsai tree healthy is to do as much research as possible(Internet and or books) on the particular species you own and also Bonsai in general as this will give you a broader understanding of the subject and will give you a far better chance of success with your Bonsai tree.



I hope this care sheet has been of interest and helpful to you, if so you might want to read the other care sheets on this site.  It is up to you to use the information given here responsibly and Bargain Bonsai holds no responsibility as to how you use it.

                                                                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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