The ficus bonsai is a tropical fig tree with over 600 species and variations. The ficus can tolerate most combinations of soil and lighting conditions, and, thus, is an ideal selection for first time bonsai owners.
Plant your ficus bonsai in a potting container. If you have purchased a pre-grown ficus, change the soil while repotting the tree. Use a nutrient rich soil that is gently mixed with sand, as the ficus tree prefers a somewhat sandy loam. The ideal mixture is 70 percent soil to 30 percent sand. The pot should be somewhat small compared to the tree’s size. A good rule of thumb is to use a container that is about three-fourths as wide as the tree is high, and about half as deep as the tree is high. While potting your tree, make sure that the potting provides a good drainage system. This will aid the roots from resting in excessive water.
Water your ficus tree regularly but avoid overwatering. The tree is a voracious feeder and will often dry out in between watering. Still, check your soil’s moisture levels before watering. Place your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If the soil feels dry, water your ficus. Most ficus trees require watering three to four times per week. If your tree’s foliage begins to yellow, it is showing signs of excessive watering. Adjust the watering quantities and frequencies, and continue to check soil moisture before each application.
Place your tree in a shady area that receives three or four hours of low intensity sunlight each day. Ficus trees are impartial to lighting conditions and will thrive in direct and indirect sunlight. However, these trees are susceptible to foliage sunburn.
Keep your tree in a relatively warm environment. Ficus trees are tropical trees that thrive in warm climates and temperatures. The ideal temperatures range between 59 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Ficus trees require protection from cold temperature and do not like sudden temperature changes. The shock of these changes may result in stunted growth and foliage drop.
Fertilize your ficus bonsai during the growing season, at least every two weeks. The selected fertilizer should include a balance of phosphorous and potassium with higher levels of nitrogen. This will promote vigorous growth. Avoid fertilizing your tree during the winter months and when the tree is ill or shows signs of declining health.
Prune your ficus bonsai tree regularly to provide shape and training. Your pruning schedule should include trimming of the roots, branches, and stems. This helps the tree to maintain is small size. Trim new growth to shape the tree. This process is ideally completed in the early months of its growing season. Pruned ficus will bleed a white sap which can be used to seal the pruned wounds. Trim the branches using a slight angle. This will promote the quick healing of the wounds and increase new growth.
Clean and dust your ficus bonsai daily. Regular dusting of the bonsai reduces the potential for plant diseases and insect infestation.