fivenineteen
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:35 pm
Location: Houston

My Ficus Bonsai needs help!

I was given a 9yr old Ficus bonsai tree in February. It needed to be repotted as I could grab the tree by the trunk and it easily lifted up, taking all the dirt with it.

I read many websites and watched a few you tube videos on how to repot it, and I followed the steps exactly, waiting until March (two weeks ago) to do it. I trimmed the bottom roots, repotted it, allowed it to soak up water by placing it in a bucket of water and letting it soak up from the top. Then, all the places I've read said to let it sit in the shade for 6 weeks, so my tree has been in the shade these last two weeks and it's scaring me.

All the leaves have dropped, and only one little baby leaf has sprouted. I notice several little green starts of leaves, but over the last two days, half of those have turned brown.

My questions are-- Should I keep watering the tree as usual since it was repotted? Or does it need more/less water than normal? Should I really keep it in the shade for six weeks?

Anything else I need to know? Thanks in advance!

Justin088
Cool Member
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:04 pm
Location: Coppell, TX

I think your plant is just adjusting to it's new home. I would look up the chopstick method for watering as overwatering can have some negative effects on the bounce back of your plant. I was told to protect my ficus from direct sun and wind for atleast a month and then slowly introduce it to sunlight increasing the time each day.

Justin088
Cool Member
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:04 pm
Location: Coppell, TX

any pictures?

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

You shouldn't over do the watering. Only water when necessary, not on a timeline. Newly potted trees may take up less water, especially if they're also dropping leaves. Truly, if it's in even a fairly humid environment, it probably won't need to be water more than 0nce every 5-10 days. If you've been watering daily, stop. Water when the soil's just dry, not bone dry, but just drying. If you scratch the bark with a fingernail, is it green beneath?

fivenineteen
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:35 pm
Location: Houston

Thanks for the replies. I haven't watered it since it was repotted, and when I stick my finger in the soil, it is a little damp. I will do the chopstick method, that sounds a lot easier.

As for keeping it in the shade, I have it in the corner of a room that doesn't get sunlight. Do I really need to keep it shaded for six weeks? And when I bring it back into the sun, should I do it gradually over time by slowly moving it closer to the window?

The first photo is of where I scratched it with my nail, as kdodds asked.

[url=https://img824.imageshack.us/i/img20110426201031.jpg/][img]https://img824.imageshack.us/img824/3879/img20110426201031.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img580.imageshack.us/i/img20110426200932.jpg/][img]https://img580.imageshack.us/img580/3954/img20110426200932.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img508.imageshack.us/i/img20110426201004.jpg/][img]https://img508.imageshack.us/img508/4699/img20110426201004.th.jpg[/img][/url]

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Wait, the "shade" is the dark corner of a room? I thought you meant outside. Definitely start moving it closer to a window, if not in a window. "Shade" applies to outdoors only, really. Almost any location in a home that is not a solarium or garden window would be considered shade to deep shade.

fivenineteen
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:35 pm
Location: Houston

Okay, that makes way more sense.. yes my tree is indoors only and I was wondering why the advice I read said to keep it in the shade. I'll move it back to it's normal spot by the window.

TomM
Greener Thumb
Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Or outdoors. Sounds like it is starving for sunlight. In your climate it could be in a protected (from wind and direct sun) spot to enjoy fresh air, humidity, temp variations from day to night, and good light - semi shade. Rain too!

After all - ficus is a jungle tree. :wink:

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Now that depends on local climate. If the current local climate is not similar to its natural range (I think Houston may be a little to hot and dry) then you could definitely be fine in the shade. Ficus don't usually drop for lack of sun, but they do when there's change. On repots, they may completely defoliate (I've been through this a number of times with potbound Ficus). As long as the scratched bark is green underneath, all you need is patience. On the bright side, when it does come back, the leaves will generally be quite a bit smaller overall. Difference in size depends on species/cultivar. For instance "Too Little" won't show much difference, but "willow leaf" species/cultivars will. IMO, anyway.

fivenineteen
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:35 pm
Location: Houston

I do live in a very hot climate with high humidity too. Today I placed it by a window that gets lots of sun. I do have a covered porch I could put it on so it would be mostly protected from wind. As of today, the little green sprouts look good so I'm hoping to see it get some leaves soon.

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

It could easily take a month or more to see anything more thana few buds. Be patient. :x

TomM
Greener Thumb
Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Sounds like recovery is around the corner.

I know about Hot Humid Houston. Great for ficus.
Once lived down the coast - Corpus Christi/Padre Island.
Went to Del Mar Tech.
Those WERE the DAZE!! :P

linlaoboo
Green Thumb
Posts: 469
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 5:15 pm
Location: NJ

I know the roots were messed with but how much did you remove? One other test is to clip a branch up top and if it's living you should get milky latex. From the picture it should recover fine.
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

fivenineteen
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:35 pm
Location: Houston

Just wanted to update everyone on the status of my tree. It's doing very well and I'm now using the chopstick method with watering which has made things a lot easier. Thanks everyone for the advice!


[img]https://img849.imageshack.us/img849/5701/img20110513171058.th.jpg[/img]

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Now that looks promising. :) Good luck!

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”