The ficus is a miniature version of a banyan tree. Introduced in the latter part of the 1950s, the ficus tree can now be found worldwide. Due to its excellent root system, it makes an attractive bonsai tree. As the tree grows, the roots twist around into an interesting design. Part of the roots show above the soil and add to the design and beauty of the tree. There are over 800 ficus species, with more than 2,000 varieties from which to choose. The Banjamina variety is an excellent beginner bonsai plant.
Keep the ficus bonsai plant indoors all year long. It is permissible to take the plant outside occasionally to allow for some sunshine and fresh air. It is especially beneficial to keep the plant indoors particularly in the winter. Keep the ficus bonsai in a room that never gets below 60 to 65 degrees Fahreheit. If leaves are dropping off, it may be that the room is too drafty. If that happens, move the tree to a location that is also warm but less drafty.
Expose to full sun. The ficus bonsai tree does well with full sun, so it is necessary to put it in a sunny location in the home or office. Grow lights that are available at the local nursery can be used to provide additional light if natural sunlight is lacking.
Water the ficus tree regularly. As is the case with most bonsai trees, the soil needs to dry out before watering. Test the moisture level of the soil by sticking your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, that means it is time to water. It is a good idea to check daily so that the soil is not dry for long periods of time.
The best way to water your ficus bonsai tree is to soak the tree in water, in a sink or tub, for about 10 minutes. Allow the water to drain and then put the plant back where it is normally kept.
Prune the tree. The ficus bonsai needs less trimming than many bonsai trees, but an occasional pruning in the spring will keep the tree growing in the desired shape and will add to the overall health of the tree. Since excessive pruning is unnecessary, simply cut back any wayward branches that detract from the overall design of the tree.
Repot the tree in the spring. As a general rule of thumb, the ficus bonsai tree should put into a larger pot every two to three years, but if growth is especially fast it can be repotted after a year. After repotting, put the tree in the shade for a couple of weeks so the roots have a chance to take hold. Then return the tree to a sunny location.