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New Ficus Ginseng

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:50 am
by mlawrence8
I just bought a Ficus Ginseng from walmart (bad choice probably) now i know it needs to be helped.

the first thing i did was cut off all the leaves with black spots as somebody told me and i also pried off the glued on rocks

now i was wondering what i should do now to help it

thanks
-Matthew

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:40 am
by bonsaiboy
Good thing, to remove thoes glued-on rocks. First, I'd just take a look around this forum and look through other posts on ficuses. This should give you a pretty good idea of what to do. If you have questions still after that, then feel free to ask them here.

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:28 am
by Wike
Why do the rocks need to be pulled of? What harm could they do?

If your tree Is anything like the one I bought It needs a really good watering. I repotted the whole plant but If you don't want to do that then I would fill up a tray off water and leave the tree to soak for 10-15 mins, make sure the water level in the tray is above the top of the soil.

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:31 pm
by mlawrence8
well i assume i should repot it into a new pot with better soil?

now i was wondering what size pot should i get and where can i get cheap ones?

what type of soil mixture should i use how do i get the ingredients and also will it be hard to get a hold of them during January in upstate NY?

Thanks again

sorry if I'm being a pain
-Matthew

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:34 pm
by Wike
We'd have to see a picture or measurements of the size of the pot the tree's in now and how comfortable it is in that pot ATM.

As for your other questions I can't really help as I'm from the UK and I'm not sure about the ingredients for you to use.

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:38 pm
by Gnome
Wike,
Why do the rocks need to be pulled of? What harm could they do?
They are not part of any bonsai technique, they are a product of the need to ship trees, many of which have recently been re-potted, and not have them disturbed during transit. But, while it is convenient for the wholesaler, shipping company and retailer to have a stable arrangement, it is not conducive to the long term health of the plant.

With this 'cap' in place it is impossible to judge the moisture level and thus decide when to water. When you do water it is difficult to water properly, as you have found. These plants are almost always in poor, water retentive soil to begin with and having them sealed on top can cause the soil to stay wet too long.

There is also the possibility of pests or other disease going unnoticed until it is too late. In short it makes it much more difficult to give the tree proper care. They serve no useful purpose to the grower and should be removed ASAP.

Norm

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:52 pm
by Gnome
mlawrence8,
well i assume i should repot it into a new pot with better soil?
If it is in the typical potting soil we usually see them yes I would re-pot it into a good free draining bonsai mix. But as you only recently acquired this plant and have done a partial defoliation I don't think I would be too anxious to do it right now. Take some time to ensure that it is in good health and allow yourself to get used to it before you rush in and do something you may later regret. Ficus are pretty tolerant of this type of soil as long as you water it properly.
now i was wondering what size pot should i get and where can i get cheap ones?

what type of soil mixture should i use how do i get the ingredients and also will it be hard to get a hold of them during January in upstate NY?
As Wike noted we can't suggest pot size. You may be able to put it back into the same pot it is in now as it probably was not in there very long anyway.

Both new pots and ready made bonsai soil (or components) are available on-line. If you wish I can provide a few links to retailers I have dealt with and found reliable.

Norm

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:59 pm
by mlawrence8
Thanks for the help

So how long should i give it until i know its going to stay healthy?

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:47 pm
by Gnome
mlawrence8.
So how long should i give it until i know its going to stay healthy?
That's difficult to say as it depends on several factors. For instance, what kind of environment are you able to provide? I have most of my tender things in a fairly cold basement where very little growth is occurring now. These plants are sort of 'semi-dormant', not truly dormant but greatly slowed so I won't re-pot any of those now. On the other hand, I have a smaller setup that is in a warmer bedroom and I recently re-potted a small Ficus that I rooted. It is doing well but it is in a better situation than the ones in the basement, a little better lighting, warmer temperatures and a generously sized humidity tray. What are your conditions like?

Something else to consider is that it is very likely that your plant has been re-potted fairly recently so another insult so soon may not be prudent. Provide the best conditions you can, observe it for a month or so and go from there. Just so you know Ficus respond well to being re-potted in summer, when they are actively growing they recover quickly.

One more thing, I keep Ficus (all my tender species really) outside during summer, they really do better there. They can be kept inside year-round but my lighting is so poor in the basement that it is not really an option for me.

Norm

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:26 pm
by mlawrence8
well currently i have it in a windowsill facing the east during the day and at night i put it on a table in my bedroom the house stays around 70F