gco81
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:38 am
Location: Isle of Man

New Ficus Bonsai

Hi all,

I was given a Bonsai by a friend about a week or so ago. I think due to the fact that i keep my garden nice etc they thought i would be able to look after a Bonsai better than them.
Anyway rather than give up i've decided to give it a go and do as good a job as i can!
My problem is i live in the UK and i think it's some kind of Ficus they bought from a Supermarket, i'll post pics later as I'm at work now. Already the leaves are curling and going yellow/dropping off. I try not to overwater as i've read about it and i also know stress can play a factor so I'm hoping it will be ok. I've gently scraped the bark and it's light green underneath which if I'm reading right is healthy?
Other problems are that because I'm from the UK the best light is from my window ledges but they all have radiators under them as we do over here! The only exception is the Kitchen and I'm not sure if it'll be to draughty? If these are no good what is the best indoor position other than them? What about giving the Bonsai time outside, should this be done and how often? Lastly if it does survive what sort of fertilisers etc will be needed so that i can give it the best treatment?

Sorry about all the questions but i'd rather not kill the Tree if it can be helped. I treat most things i have as i would my dogs haha.
I'll try to get some pictures up later. If anyone can recommend any books and sites etc it'd be appreciated to.

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

W'sup gco81,

You might wanna check out Jerry's site:
https://www.bonsaihunk.us
He has a ficus forum.

I'm not familiar with your climate but I think as long as temperature >60 degrees F you can safely keep it outdoors. We just had some 100 degree weather here in the NE US and I've had to protect it from direct sun light during mid day so the leaves don't burn. It will do fine indoors all year round if you find a good spot for it. Ficus is a tropical plant so radiators or doughty environments are not good for it. You can place a shallow try with water under the pot to increase moisture but the bottom of pot shouldn't be sitting in the water as this will make the soil and roots too wet.

It's normal to drop yellow leaves after bringing it home or moving it to different environments for a week or 2. It should settle in soon.
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

gco81
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:38 am
Location: Isle of Man

Thanks i'll look into everything and hopefully it'll be fine :)

gco81
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:38 am
Location: Isle of Man

Took a few weeks but eventually the leaves have grown back and the tree looks healthy again. I've sat back and tried not to do to much to it just let it get used to it's surroundings etc and it's seeming to work. I don't water very often and when i do it's only late at night. The compost is practically dry when i water but i do sometimes just mist the leaves at night.

Anyway so far so good so thanks for the help. Going to leave it a good while before trimming as i don't want to unsettle it just as it's back to health. Is there any info you's can give on how is best to trim and when?

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

Without a picture it's hard to tell. Is it one of those already trained with an S shape trunk already? I would not do heavy trimming this year since your tree has just recovered. Look for branches with long inter nodes, trim it off just above the last leaf you'd like to keep. This will force energy toward inner part of the tree to induce new buds to form and encourage 2ndary branching. Spin the plant round and round from all angles and see what overall shape you like to keep and trim off unwanted areas. Even if no trimming is required, I routinely pinch off some of the growing tips before new leaf opens up. For the whole tree to look realistic like scaled down version of real trees, it needs to have good taper. Lower branches should be thicker than higher ones so for the thin branches you like thicken, leave it grow without trimming it. For branches that are too thick, either cut it off or keep trimming it or the 2ndary branches so the rest of the branches can catch up in time for the tree to look more balanced. There are other aspects like ramification which you can look up. Also horizontal branches should not cross the main trunk when viewed from the front. Too many to mention and books will help. Also recommend looking up pictures of ficus bonsais on the internet to get an idea of what shapes you'd like to work toward.
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

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