jwulf2000
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:53 pm
Location: New Jersey

Room temperatures for Ficus?

Hi, have a ficus bonsai. The room it is located in has changing temperatures (thanks to OPEC). At night and when I am not home the room is about 58-60 and when the heat does come on, when we are home, the room is about 64-68.

Is this too much of a change for the tree to handle or am I ok? The tree seems a little sick and I am wondering if this is the cause. It has been losing it's leaves and seem to be drying up. I am probably not watering it enough. We have forced air heat which is new to me and I am trying to adjust the water accordingly. Just want to make sure that it is not the temperature change causing this.

I have been though some tough times before with this little tree. I have actually had it lose all of it's leaves but came back, thank god! Hopefully it will recover this time as well. This is one hard hobby, which I don't even consider it. I just veiw it as keeping the plants alive.

Jason

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

The tree is probably sick because it really should be dormant this time of year. There is an old bonsai who lives near my mothers and he keeps his ficus trees in a..... (for lack of a better word) greenhouse over the winter and fall.

Also, indoors trees do not get the proper air requirements that they recieve outside.

The HG is away for a little bit but, will be around shortly with some more advice.

jwulf2000
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:53 pm
Location: New Jersey

Thanks

Thank you for your response. This is the third year that I have owned this tree. If it is need of a dormant break (vacation). Than I will be glad to give it just that. I am just wondering where to leave it. I live in New Jersey where winter temps can become very harsh. I will purchase a small greenhouse if it is necessary.

Just let me know what you think.


ps: how would one know if a ficus tree is dead? How long can they go without leaves before I should panic?

Jason

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Well, if the wood is dried up, then the tree is dead.


I have heard about the temperatures around New York and New Jersey. I would say, just have it in a sheltered spot. We have mild winters up here so, that may play a role in why the bonsai master's trees do so well.

Keep in mind that a ficus tree is a semi-tropical tree. You may wish to do some research... wait a minute, I have a great book behind me.....

Okay, Ficus is naturally found throughout south east Asia. It likes semi-shade, a temperature range from 60 to 100 F and should be planted in a soil mix or 60 percent organics to 40 percent grit. Water it well in the the spring and summer and just keep the soil moist during fall and winter. Do not feed the plant in winter but, give it a balanced feed (organic fertilizer like liquid seaweed or liquid fish fertilizer) the rest of the year. Prune in witner and seal the cuts immediately to prevent bleeding

Those are the care facts for ficus from the Bonsai Survival Manual. Based on that, I would say to just have the tree in a semi-shaded, well covered area outside during the winter. A heating coil might be in order but, the tree should be kept outside rather than in.

I'm sure once the Helpful Gardener is back, that he will have some more advice. It sounds to me like your tree is dead and that it might be time to get a new one.

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask any questions.

By the way, see if there is a bonsai club near you as they will give you relevant advice on growing semi-tropical trees such as ficus in your region.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

If you think it's watering, I'm SURE it's watering.

I keep my place at the same temps you do and no problems with mine. Heating season gets our homes to around 30% humidity, and that's low for the Sahara (really, it's true). So if you've been missing, that tree won't last long...

A good soak in the bathtub wiil do wonders; right up the side and just over the top of the pot. Soak the trunk down too. Buy a humidifier and a mister, and keep the tree on a humidity tray with pebbles (give that a water whenever you water the tree). Three years makes this a family member...

Scott

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