How do I start with a bonsai tree at my home? How do I know which bonsai tree to choose first?
If you are new to growing Bonsai plants at your home, you might find this task very overwhelming. Ficus bonsai plants are perfect to start as a bonsai plant. We know that cultivating a bonsai tree at home might scare you from getting an amazing experience, but the ficus bonsai will allow you to enter a magical world of bonsai and get some unique experiences.
In this article, we will explain why ficus bonsai is important, how to grow, care and propagate a ficus bonsai and some unknown facts about ficus bonsai that you need to know! So, without further ado, let’s begin!
About Ficus Bonsai Trees
Why is the ficus bonsai tree important and most common to grow as a bonsai all over the world?
The Ficus bonsai tree is one of the most beautiful and famous indoor bonsai trees. There are many species of Ficus plants available in which, some of them grow in tropical areas and are evergreen, but some are ephemeral. These Ficus trees are commonly called Chinese Banyan and common Fig.
The leaves of ficus bonsai are glossy and waxy, making the tree look beautiful. Also, the roots of the Ficus bonsai tree have a banyan style and they can be trained in the root over rock style.
Furthermore, ficus is a native of Southwest Asia. Some species of ficus trees are naturally dwarf. It is a low-care bonsai, if you are a beginner, you can find it easy to grow at home.
Unknown Facts About Ficus Bonsai Tree
Did you know that some species of ficus bonsai were used to build living root bridges in old times?
According to the surveys, there are 800-2000 existing bonsai trees of different species in the world. The popular species of ficus are tiger bark, macrocarpa, religiosa, willow leaf, Benjamina, golden gate, and Taiwan.
But, the most preferred species of ficus to make a bonsai is ficus retusa ficus ginseng. Sometimes grafters combine ficus ginseng with ficus microcarpa to make ficus ginseng microcarpa. The leaves of this bonsai are very attractive and have a pot-bellied trunk.
How To Propagate A Ficus Bonsai Tree?
If you are thinking of propagating a ficus bonsai tree at home, you can do this through seeds, cuttings, and grafting. Let us show you the different ways to propagate a ficus bonsai tree:
1. Propagating Ficus Bonsai Tree Through Seeds
Ficus bonsai can be easily propagated through seeds. Just follow the following steps if you want a healthy plant by this method:
- Take a flat bowl or tray, fill it with a layer of damp sand and immerse the seeds of ficus in them.
- Let them germinate at room temperature.
- Depending on the variety, the soil mix, and the weather conditions, it may take up to 6 weeks to germinate.
- After 6 weeks, you can observe the bonsai ficus sprouts. Now, take twine and tie them. It helps in potting.
- Take a shallow pot, fill it with sand and compost for potting the seedlings.
- After plantation, water and fertilize them. Put the plant outside.
- Fertilizer should be water-soluble and mixed with compost. Fertilize it once every 2 weeks.
- Let the roots develop and it can be ready to be kept indoors.
Check out this image of propagating a ficus bonsai through seeds!
2. Propagating Ficus Bonsai Tree Through Cuttings
You can also propagate a ficus plant by cuttings. Most people believe cutting is not easy and requires a lot of hard work. But it is not so. That is why, we have mentioned some steps below how you can propagate a ficus bonsai at your home easily through cuttings:
- Cut a branch of the ficus tree. Do not cut the branch completely at the joint. Leave a small part of the stem to let the main stem recover fastly.
- Leave the cutting for at least four weeks to recover from the wound.
- Now, place the stem in water for 2 weeks.
- Remove all the leaves of the stem cutting and immerse them in a pot with damp sand.
- Let the roots develop from the cutting.
- It may take 6-12 months for the cutting to develop the roots.
- Now, you can report it without disturbing the root system.
Do you want to spruce up your home by bringing and propagating a ficus bonsai in your home? Check out this image of propagating of ficus bonsai through cutting stems and keeping in water!
3. Grafting A Ficus Bonsai Tree
The next step is how you can graft a ficus bonsai in an easy way. Let’s check out the steps given below:
- Select a healthy scion with at least 2-3 leaves, bark, and nodes.
- Prune it by using a sharp knife, and cut it off at the top of the rootstock.
- Leave some bark on either side of the cut to prevent drying.
- It can be done at any time, throughout the year.
- Pruning should be done in cool areas.
- Make sure that there are no air pockets or dead roots on the cutting before you cover it with a piece of bark.
- Covering the cut with a piece of bark helps it to recover from the wound and securing it with a rubber band helps to fasten the growth of new cells.
- Water the tree regularly and thoroughly.
Given below is an image of propagating a ficus bonsai through grafting!
Now, you know the processes required to propagate a ficus bonsai tree, but you must be having some questions in your mind like, how should I take care of this unique bonsai tree? Does it require a lot of attention and maintenance? So, to clear all your doubts, let’s find out!
How To Care For A Ficus Bonsai Tree?
This is the most fun and creative part to grow a bonsai but also the most challenging part. Watering, mixing and fertilizing is easy and can be done with instructions but pruning and wiring a bonsai plant can take years to master.
So, we will start with light requirements, but make sure to read the unknown facts of ficus bonsai trees in the end!
1. Ficus Bonsai Light Requirements
These bonsai Ficus trees are allowed to be kept indoors, but near a window, because they can tolerate low light. You can also grow a ficus bonsai outdoors. Ficus bonsai tends to live in warm climates, but not in hot climates. Since their leaves are delicate, you can keep your bonsai ficus tree in direct sunlight, but make sure, direct sunlight does not burn the leaves in the afternoon.
Ficus bonsai trees cannot tolerate sudden weather changes. These bonsai trees dislike cold conditions, so keep your bonsai ficus tree indoors during winter. Always place the pot of ficus plant in a tray filled with water and small pebbles. This does not allow the water enter into the pot through the drainage hole but helps to maintain the humidity.
2. Ficus Bonsai Watering
Watering plays a crucial role in caring for the ficus bonsai tree. As their pot is a small one and could not store more water, it should be watered regularly. Check the moisture of the soil, and water the bonsai thoroughly. Before watering, make sure to water only if the first layer of the soil in the pot becomes dry.
Also, always check before watering that your ficus bonsai tree is moist or dry so that it should not be under-watered or over-watered.
Some old bonsai watering tricks that you must know are:
- By lifting the tree up and by its weight, you have to decide whether it should be watered or not.
- Put the bonsai Ficus tree in a bowl of water such that the plant absorbs the water through the drainage holes. You can follow any of the processes to water the plant.
3. Soil Mix For Ficus Bonsai
Ficus bonsai trees can be planted in a basic bonsai soil mix. It does not need any special mixture to get planted. Generally, the soil mix of any bonsai contains various organic and inorganic materials.
Peat, sand, clay granules, gravel, and also leaf molds are included in the soil mix. It prefers a slightly acidic soil of pH ranging between 4.5 to 6. Kanuma bonsai soil is one of the best soils used for planting bonsai trees.
4. Misting The Ficus Bonsai
Misting the leaves of your plant daily keeps it healthy and green. Mist your ficus bonsai tree often on a dry day. Do not put these ficus bonsai trees near vents. Place the humidity tray below the pot to keep the foliage humid.
5. Fertilizing The Ficus Bonsai
Ficus enjoys fertilizing and responds quickly. Fertilize your bonsai ficus tree regularly to increase and maintain the nutrition level. The best time to fertilize your bonsai is in the spring season because the new growth starts in that season. It increases the growth and enriches the soil.
The best fertilizer for ficus bonsai trees is an organic fertilizer, if you cannot get it then try using a chemical one by diluting it with water. The ratio must be 1:1. Fertilize ficus bonsai trees every 10-15 days, during the growing season. In winters, you can fertilize it once a month.
6. Pruning Ficus Bonsai Tree
Ficus can tolerate heavy pruning. Also, it is a fast-growing tree. You can prune up to ⅓ of the new growth. Pruning encourages new growth of the plant. Prune your Ficus bonsai tree regularly during the growing season to maintain its shape.
Pruning a stem of ficus may lead to bleeding at the point. It bleeds a white sap that becomes a strong sealant after drying. So, do not cut the complete stem, leave a small part of it. It will dry in 2-3 days, then just pinch it off. Doing this method, avoids the fungal growth of the wound. Also, remember to wear gloves and take required precautions while pruning.
7. Wiring Ficus Bonsai Tree
There are many appreciated techniques to train the ficus bonsai tree to achieve different shapes and styles. To get their desired shape for your ficus bonsai tree, use the thinnest wire to hold the branches of the tree while you train it. Always wind the wire in the growing direction of the branch. This does not allow the wire to get loosen.
Wrap the wire from the base along the trunk to the anchor and stem. Leave it for 6-7 weeks. Then you can remove the wire as the tree has habituated to maintain the shape. Removing the wire does not mean unwinding it, it should be cut off to avoid breakage in the stems. Wiring should not be done soon after repotting. Remember, you should not wind it too tightly.
8. Repotting Ficus Bonsai Tree
Repotting a ficus bonsai tree should be done once every 2 years. Use a basic soil mix to fill the pot. The best time to repot your bonsai ficus is in the spring season. Water your bonsai ficus thoroughly after repotting. It should be placed in shady areas after repotting, to avoid the new growth in roots. Do not train your plant soon after this process. Use only shallow pots for this bonsai tree.
9. Insects And Diseases
- Scale in ficus bonsai plants:
The most common insect that troubles your ficus bonsai is scales. It is nothing but a wax shell that looks like dark brown or black bumps which contain insects and grows on the branches of the ficus bonsai. They may secrete a sticky sap, which leads to the discoloration of the branches.
- Mites in ficus bonsai trees:
Mites are the dark red or brown spots, growing on branch tips and spreading throughout the tree. This leads to discoloration of the leaves.
- Mealybugs in ficus bonsai trees:
Mealybugs are like a cotton patch growing on the leaf bases. They can be infested at roots, after repotting.
- Other common problems faced by ficus bonsai trees:
Root rots occur due to overwatering. Falling of leaves starts to occur after a certain time. If the leaf-fall is continuing, then place it in a warm area and let the soil dry before watering. You will observe the new growth in a week.
Furthermore, discoloration of leaves occurs due to lack of sunlight and burning of leaves occurs due to overexposure to the hot sun.
Also, do not use insecticides that contain Malathion, your bonsai tree does not enjoy it. It is better to use dormant oil to treat pests. Of course, you cannot treat mealy growth on roots with this oil. You need to use some poisoning techniques to avoid this type of infestation. But take the help of the professionals before doing it or you might be harming the plant.
Q1. How much sun does a ficus bonsai tree need?
Ans. Although focus grows well in both direct and indirect sunlight, it is better to keep the tree in shady areas. Do not leave the plant outdoors in the hot sun, it may damage the foliage. In summers it is better to place your bonsai ficus tree a bit away from the window if you’re growing it indoors.
Q2. Can a ficus bonsai tree be left outdoors?
Ans. Yes, but you have to bring them inside your house if the temperature falls. Also in the afternoons of summer, bring them indoors to avoid damage to its growth. You can also keep them in the shade if you cannot get them inside.
Q3. Why are the leaves of my ficus bonsai tree falling off?
Ans. Ficus bonsai trees leave their leaves mostly in two cases, under-watering and over-watering; you should water your plant daily as it consumes more water. You cannot help the plant over from the loss of foliage in this case. If you put your bonsai trees outdoors then over-watering will be one of the most common reasons. Water your plant only if the upper layer of the soil becomes dry.
Q4. How much water does a ficus bonsai need?
Ans. Watering a bonsai ficus tree is a little tricky because you have to be careful to avoid underwatering or overwatering the plant. Beginners should use a moisture meter or just check soil moisture with their own hands. If the soil is a little dry up to 1 centimeter deep, then you should water it. Otherwise, wait till the upper layered soil becomes dry.
Q5. Where should I place my focus bonsai tree indoors?
Ans. The best place to locate your ficus bonsai is a south-facing windowsill. You can even place it in an east or west-facing window sill but it will need your attention in winters.
In this article, we have covered why ficus bonsai is important, how to grow, care and propagate this bonsai and some unknown facts you need to know.
However, ficus bonsai trees have a striking appearance which attract most people to bring it in their homes. They have brown barked and curvy trunks that make them eye-catching. Dark green-colored thick and glossy leaves with pointed sharp edges enhance the look of the tree. It looks better if you place it in the living room but you can also place it on the office table. Using a shallow pot such that the roots are visible may increase its beauty.
If you like this article, please mention it in the comment section down below. Follow us more, to get important articles like this one, also don’t forget to read the previous article of bonsai, “Ficus green island bonsai: How to Grow and Care”.
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