Ficus Bonsai Care guidelines

Placement

The ficus is an indoor tree that does not endure frosty conditions. It can be kept outside in the summer as long as temperatures are above 60°F (15°C). It requires a lot of light, preferably full sunlight, so be sure not to place it in a shady location. The temperature should be kept relatively constant. Figs can endure low humidity due to their thick, waxy leaves, but they prefer higher humidity and need extremely high humidity to develop aerial roots.

Watering

Ignore labels stating your Ficus needs watering every day, you need to water on observation. The Ficus should be watered generously whenever the soil gets slightly dry. The Bonsai Ficus prefers room temperature soft water and it can tolerate occasional over, or under watering. We advise daily misting to maintain humidity, but too much misting can create fungal problems. The warmer the placement of the fig during winter, the more water it needs. If it’s kept in a cooler place it only needs to be kept slightly moist. Continue reading about watering Bonsai trees.

Fertilizing

Fertilize every two weeks during summer, and every four weeks during winter if the growth doesn’t stop. Liquid fertilizer can be used as well as organic fertilizer pellets.

Pruning and wiring

Regular pruning is necessary to retain the tree’s shape. Prune back to 2 leaves after 6-8 leaves have grown. Leaf pruning (defoliation) can be used to reduce leaf size, as some Ficus Bonsai species normally grow large leaves. If a considerable thickening of the trunk is desired, the Ficus can be left to grow freely for one or two years. The strong cuts that are necessary afterward don’t affect the Ficus’ health and new shoots will grow from old wood. Larger wounds should be covered with cut paste. Continue reading about pruning Bonsai trees.

Wiring and bending thin to medium Ficus branches is easy due to their flexibility, but you should check the wires regularly as they can cut into the bark very quickly. Strong branches should be shaped with guy-wires because they can be left on the tree for a much longer period.

Repotting

Repot your Ficus tree during the spring, every other year, using a basic Bonsai soil mixture. Ficus tolerates root-pruning very well. Continue reading about re-potting Bonsai trees.

Propagation and grafting

Cuttings can be planted at any time of the year, but they have the highest success rate during mid-summer growth. Air-layering will work best during spring, in April through May. In most cases, springtime is the best time for planting Ficus seeds.

Ficus trees can fuse by placing branches, roots, or trunks together and applying some pressure. This technique is known as approach-grafting and it can be used to form appealing structures. You can tie many young plants together to fuse them and build a single strong trunk. Fig tree branches and roots can also be grafted quite easily. If the growing conditions are ideal, you can even take aerial roots from one part of the tree and graft them into a different position. For faster healing, or closing of large wounds, young plants, shoots, or aerial roots can be grafted across wounds. An experienced grower can work on fig trees with a nearly unlimited range of creative freedom, which considerably increases the appeal of growing Ficus retusa as a Bonsai plant.

Pests and diseases

Fig species are quite resistant against pests, but they are still susceptible to several issues depending on their location, and time of year, especially in the winter. Dry air and a lack of light weakens the Bonsai Ficus and often result in leaf drop. In poor conditions like these, they are sometimes infested with scale or spider mites. Placing customary insecticide sticks into the soil or spraying insecticide/miticide will get rid of the pests, but a weakened Ficus tree’s living conditions must be improved. Using plant lamps 12 to 14 hours a day, and frequently misting the leaves will help in the recovery process. For more detailed information on these techniques.

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