The ficus genus is a large family with more than 1,000 species. These trees are adaptable and sun loving. They range from low-growing shrubs to tall, upright trees, and vary from deciduous to evergreen. Even with the variations, ficus trees adapt to moist soil environments and adjust well to pruning. These characteristics make the ficus an ideal selection for bonsai, in the indoor and outdoor environments.
Plant in a well-draining container that has a depth equivalent to the trunk's diameter and a width that is about two-thirds the height of the tree.
Incorporate equal parts of nutrient-rich soil, organic compost and peat into the soil mixture. Line the bottom one-third of the container with the soil mixture. Place the ficus in the center of the container. Fill the container with soil. Avoid placing soil over the root flare or the upper most portion of the rootball. Make sure that no fine, feeder roots are showing, and press the soil firmly around the ficus.
Irrigate the ficus thoroughly and infrequently to allow the soil to dry slightly between irrigation. Check the soil levels before each irrigation to prevent over-watering. Irrigate the bonsai until the water flows from the drainage system.
Place the bonsai in a warm location that receives at least six to eight hours of full sunlight daily. Provide a location that has morning direct sunlight with afternoon and evening indirect sunlight, for best results. Keep the ficus away from sources of direct temperature variations, such as heating vents and air conditioners.
Feed the ficus bonsai approximately once monthly throughout the growing season with a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer such as an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 combination. Apply the fertilizer at half the label 's recommended strength. Water the fertilizer thoroughly into the soil.
Remove damaged and dying branches and stems in early spring, using pruning shears. Thin out the interior branches to promote increase sunlight and air circulation throughout the tree.
Repot the ficus bonsai every two to three years, or as needed to prevent it from becoming root bound. Complete the process in the early spring before the onset of the growing season. Take the ficus gently from its container and remove the excess soil from the root system.
Remove about one-third of the root system, using a sterile root hook. Trim away dead or damaged roots, using sharp, sterile shears or scissors. Plant the ficus in a clean potting container, using fresh, clean soil. Follow the same planting process to repot the ficus. Water your ficus deeply to promote a good establishment. Irrigate the ficus until the water flows evenly from the drainage holes. Replace the ficus in its warm, sunny location.