Ficus Retusa Bonsai: How To Grow And Care?

ficus retusa bonsai

“Bonsai is not you who is working on the tree, you have to let the tree work on you.”

Most of us plan to bring a bonsai to our home, to have mental peace, and positivity, as a showpiece for our homes or just to acquire a fascinating hobby. But as a beginner, you might be confused about which one of the bonsai species will be perfect for your home or office. As plant enthusiasts, we have the perfect option for you. Ficus retusa bonsai is the right option for you to begin as a bonsai. 

But why is ficus retusa bonsai important? How to take care of and grow this plant in your home?

So, in this article, we will take a closer look at ficus retusa bonsai and how to grow and take care of them. Let’s begin!

About Ficus Retusa Bonsai

Ficus retusa bonsai are also known as Banyan Trees. It is a part of the mulberry family. They are considered to be a suitable indoor bonsai plant and are mostly preferred by people because of their ability to adapt to any surroundings and have strong resistance. They are long-living bonsai with a life span of over 100 years. But this only happens when you take proper care of these plants.

Ficus retusa has strong bright leaves with a unique trunk. Moreover, the emission of aerial roots gives the plant a classy look. It is because these roots can spread their long branches and take up a required area. Also, it is a plant that can easily survive in low levels of sunlight. If you choose to grow ficus retusa, then remember that they need a lot of attention. 

How To Take Care Of A Ficus Retusa Bonsai?

Taking care and growing a ficus retusa bonsai at home is very easy if you follow these simple guidelines that we have given below:

1. Watering a ficus retusa bonsai

Water is very essential for bonsai growth; or else, they will dry out and perish. To obtain the required nutrients, Ficus retusa bonsai needs irrigation. Although they are very drought-resistant, you should water them when they are entirely dry. The soil must be kept moist but not drenched. Also, always be careful while watering, as you can accidentally overwater them. 

Overwatering causes many problems to the plant and affects its growth greatly. You should check the soil first, by burying your finger at least an inch, to see if the soil has dried up or not. It will greatly help you in deciding on how much water this plant needs. It is also advised to let the ground dry up a little and not keep it damp since excess humidity can cause root rot.

2. Locating a ficus retusa bonsai

The placement of the plant is another crucial factor to consider for every beginner bonsai lover. Every plant requires a place where it may readily adapt to its surroundings and find a suitable setting. Similarly, Ficus retusa bonsai is a tropical plant that needs a consistent temperature to grow. Their ability to grow depends on receiving the proper sunlight and other facilities.

You should place a ficus retusa bonsai near a window in an indoor area. But keeping it outside proves to be a little advantageous as it increases the plant’s growth. Try to prevent any damage to the foliage by providing the correct amount of light. Excess of it can also damage the plant and even lead to its death. But if you find any foliage damage, then shift the plant to a little shaded area to recover.

3. Pruning a ficus retusa bonsai

Pruning involves giving the bonsai a shape. It has a significant impact on how it develops. Since bonsai are miniature representations of larger trees, each one needs a shape. The bonsai is adjusted and bent to achieve the desired result. Ficus retusa bonsai will respond well to the pruning process if properly taken care of. The best pruning time for ficus retusa bonsai will be during mid-summer to spring because that time is said to be their growing period.

You can cut the roots and branches which you don’t require. Try to be very careful while doing the process since ficus bonsai produces latex, a white substance that can cause burns in the hands. Pluck a few leaves and roots at a time, so that their growth is controlled and measured according to you. Pruning is an essential step for ficus retusa bonsai’s growth.

4. Wiring a ficus retusa bonsai

After pruning is done, you can also wire the bonsai. Wiring helps you to bend the thick trunk of the ficus retusa into a desired shape or direction. It also maintains the plant’s position. But branches can be a little stiff and broken easily if pressured too much. Hence, be careful while wiring the plant. The best to wire ficus retusa bonsai is after pruning or defoliation.

5. Defoliation of a ficus retusa bonsai

The defoliation process is used to get smaller leaves and free branching. By defoliation, you create an artificial winter dropping to achieve a new sprout. It is only performed with mature and fully grown leaves during spring or the start of the summer. 

You should always remember that every detailing technique should be carried out only with mature parts of the plant when it is in a growing stage and will easily grow back. Healthy plants are easier to change,  wait for a certain amount of time, and provide them with all the required nutrients and nourishment to foster their growth.

6. Fertilizing a ficus retusa bonsai

Fertilizing is the most critical process of a plant’s growth. The actual purpose of fertilization is to supply the bonsai with nutrients that the soil is unable to supply. The nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are found in fertilizers which are crucial for a plant’s growth.
Ficus retusa bonsai is a fast-growing plant hence, fertilizing it regularly is very necessary.

Furthermore, it is very beneficial to fertilize the bonsai during spring, summer, and autumn. And it is also their growing period which will require minerals in huge amounts. Fertilize the plant every two weeks a month to enhance its growth. But always be careful while fertilizing because over-fertilization can cause damage to the plant and hinder its growth.

7. Insects and Diseases of ficus retusa bonsai

Ficus retusa bonsai is a resistant plant but it can sometimes be infected by insects or diseases. 

First are the mealybugs, in which white cotton pests stuck on the branches. They usually leave lots of molasses behind them, which further blackens when fermented. An easy way to remove them is by cleaning the branches and leaves with water or you can use insecticide if in a large amount. 

The second is the red spiders. They are small mites that are found on the ficus retusa plants. It causes tiny yellow dots on the leaves after leaving. To prevent them, the best treatment is acaricide.

The third and final are the thrips. It causes the leaves to fold and that further invites larvae to live on them. To remove them, you have to cut the affected leaves and then insecticide them to prevent them from coming again.

How To Grow A Ficus Retusa Plant?

Growing a ficus retusa bonsai is very easy. You have to ensure to give proper care and attention to the bonsai so it grows healthy. Below listed are the steps that you can follow while growing the ficus retusa bonsai to make it grow healthy and strong.

Step 1: The first step is to remove the bonsai plant from the pot and all its soil. This is done when you directly bring a ficus retusa bonsai from a nursery. Be gentle and careful while removing the plant so that you do not damage the plant. 

Step 2: The next step is to remove the bottom fourth of the roots. Once you have cleaned and removed all the soil attached to the root, then follow this step. It should be done to ensure control and healthy growth of the plant. But remember that you don’t have to prune more than one-fourth of the bottom roots. 

Step 3: Once you have completed the pruning of the roots, then repot the plant in a new container that is larger than the previous one. It should be done so that the growing roots will have more space and freedom to grow in the container. Another reason for doing this is to change the soil to provide the depleted plant with the essential nutrients from the ground. 

Step 4: Then you have to water the plant thoroughly. Ensure that the soil is moist but should not be damp because then it can attract unnecessary pests and diseases. Hence, always limit the amount of the water supply. Also, have a drainage system at the bottom of the plant to avoid overwatering and add a thin layer of gravel with it. 

Step 5: Lastly, after every step that we have mentioned is completed, then spread the soil thoroughly around the container and below the roots so that no air pockets are left. Then, fill up the space in the pot with the prune root mass in the soil. 

If you follow these above-mentioned steps properly, then we are damn sure, your bonsai plant will grow nice and healthy.


Q1. How to identify a ficus retusa bonsai plant? 

Ans. Identifying a ficus retusa bonsai is very easy because they are unique bonsai plants. It is also said to be one of the most popular bonsai trees. It has beautiful, long leaves, and flecks in reddish-gray bark called lenticels. And also, with growth, ficus retusa bonsai produces foliage of aerial roots. 

Q2. Is it necessary to repot the ficus retusa bonsai? 

Ans. Yes, it is necessary to repot a ficus retusa bonsai because without repotting, it will not get the necessary minerals and nourishment. Since ficus retusa are indoor plants, the roots tend to outgrow from the pots and tangle with each other. Hence during repotting, the unnecessary roots are cut down and placed in a larger container. Repotting is also done to change the soil to provide the bonsai with essential nutrients.  

Q3. How often should I water my ficus retusa bonsai? 

Ans. You should regularly water your plant. Although they are drought-resistant plants, they still need to be watered. You should always check if the soil is dry or not. The dryness can be identified if you insert an inch of your finger into the soil to check it. If it is dry, then water it.  

Q4. How much sun does a ficus retusa bonsai need? 

Ans. Ficus retusa bonsai need at least four to six hours of sunlight. It is better if you can provide more than these hours, as the more light it receives, the better the growth. But be careful that it should not receive excess sunlight, which may cause harm to the plant. If your plant is a little weak, then keep it in a shaded area for a certain time to recover. 

Q5. How big can ficus retusa bonsai grow? 

Ans. Ficus retusa is an evergreen shrub or tree that grows quickly and has rounded, broad heads. It can reach a height of 10 meters. The massively spreading canopy is firmly supported by the smooth, light gray trunk, which is highly striking and can expand to a diameter of around one meter.

Q6. How do you prune a ficus retusa bonsai?

Ans. Ficus grows quite quickly. When there are 6 to 10 leaves, cut at least 2 to 4 leaves. The major pruning should ideally be done in the spring, but you can perform pruning at any time. During the growing season, ensure to keep the new growth clipped.

Q7. Why does my ficus retusa bonsai lose leaves?

Ans. The answer to this question can vary as the loss of the leaves just doesn’t depend on one factor. The most common one would be a change in the environment. Usually, when you change the location of the plant or if there are any seasonal changes, the leaves of the ficus retusa start to drop since they are not adapted to that environment. Then, there is also temperature and humidity which also cause loss of the leaves.

Q8. How long does a ficus retusa bonsai live? 

Ans. It lives to around 70-100 years and more if properly taken care of and given attention.


From the above article, you must have gathered almost all the required information regarding the ficus retusa bonsai plant. They are very beautiful and enchanting to grow. They prove to be an excellent home decor material as they provide a fresh and vibrant look to our houses. 

The tips that we have given are essential for growing a ficus retusa. If you’re cultivating the plant, keep these tips in mind and follow them exactly. If we missed any information regarding the ficus retusa bonsai plant, please drop a comment below in the comment section!

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