Amadeo
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Location: Austin, TX

Ficus from HOME DEPOT replant? URGENT

About six months ago I acquired a Mallsai (meaning it's from Home Depot) Ficus Bonsai. It came in a pot that had rocks glued together on the top: supposedly, as I have read, for securing the pot and tree together during shipping.

I have been doing some extensive research online and today decided to remove the rocks glued together on top. After careful removal, it revealed a small little trunk underneath, with the bonsai in its original plastic container, and definitely not enough soil.

What would you suggest I do now? Obviously the bonsai needs to be taken out of the plastic container and the root ball replanted in the pot. What kind of soil would anyone suggest? I would welcome any suggesting in general.

Thanks!
Yusef

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Amadeo,

Do not use conventional potting soil, it is way too dense. You need some type of coarse, free draining mix. One ot the most important components is an inorganic material. Turface (fired clay), Haydite (a shale product), lava rock, chicken grit, perlite, etc. Any one, or a combination of two or more is required, there are other options but these are the most commonly available.

An organic component is usually included to aid in moisture retention, usually pine of fir bark. Some growers forsake the organic component entirely for certain species. For Ficus I would include as much as 50% bark.

You can get Pine bark mini nuggets or preferably, a bark based soil ammendment at any of the big home improvement stores. Perlite is also readily available and these two components make a pretty good basic mix.

The only issue that you will face is the size of the components. My soil is sifted through a series of screens in order to assure proper sizing. My large size is about 7/16, anything that will not pass through is too large, (in my case this refers only to the bark, see below).

My small size is 1/8, anything that does pass through is too small. I have been using Haydite that is already sized fairly consistantly and all I have to do is remove the fines with the 1/8 screen. Perlite will aslo need to have the fines removed.

I realize that this all can be confusing and takes some time to digest and to locate the proper materials. I have also seen ready made bonsai mix. If push comes to shove mix perlite with whatever type of potting soil you have in hand this will be better that straight soil.

Read this: [url]https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soils.htm[/url]

Norm

Amadeo
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Location: Austin, TX

Thanks for the advice

Norm,

Thanks for replying. It's really great to hear someone suggest soils for the Ficus specifically. I have been reading in great depth about soils, and it can get confusing very quickly. I have located a Bonsai studio here in Austin, and they have a "tropical mix" that would be good for a base soil for the tropical Ficus Bonsai. I will also inquire about the 50% bark that should be in the mix at your suggestion.

Thank you again for you time: I'm getting another ficus today that's 4 years old and very excited!

Yusef
Yusef

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Yusef,

You are welcome, glad to help. You wrote:
I will also inquire about the 50% bark that should be in the mix at your suggestion.
It was just that, a suggestion, the point I was trying to make is that tropicals can deal with a higher percentage of organics. There is no such thing as the perfect bonsai mix. Many factors come into play when creating your own mixture. Some of which would be species, development of the tree, your climate, location in your yard, pot size, wished for watering schedule, what products you can find locally, etc.

If you have located a ready-made mix by all means use it, if you have found a tropical mix so much the better.

Norm

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