buckeye
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Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:47 am
Location: columbus

My Ficus Retusa

Hello All. I'm a bonsai newbie. I stumbled onto this forum and I'm psyched! I live in Cols Oh but I purchased the tree in Ft. Meyers Fl. It did good on the ride home and has been happily living on my patio all summer. I had to bring it inside 2wks ago due to cold snap and it seems to be adjusting ok. Small washed out yellow spots on some leaves(less than half) and thanx to a post I found here I identified the gray mold in the soil. My questions are... I was going to chose a nice pot and repot this spring, but because of the mold should I repot now to get the proper soil with proper draining to eliminate the mold or can I manage the problem thru the winter and repot in the spring? And lastly, any ideas on where I should take this tree style wise or improvements on its current shape. I have only trimmed a few leaves thru the summer but otherwise it looks like the day I purchased it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
[img]https://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/bucknut89/9040.jpg[/img]

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

buckeye,

Hello and welcome to the forum. Being a tropical, Ficus is much more flexible WRT to when to re-pot than temperate species so you can re-pot now if it necessary. I have had good luck re-potting during summer when they are in an active growth period. I cannot discern the condition of the soil with the other foliage on the soil. Are you having problems with drainage?

If you are having trouble with mold it may help if you remove extra greenery. Make sure that you are allowing the soil to dry fairly well, at least an inch below the surface, before you water. Can you please describe your watering practices for us?

As far as styling, from what I can see the trunk is rather straight so unless you are contemplating a severe chop I see a broom style there. I suggest that you make no major changes right now. You can always be more aggressive in the future if you decide to.

Norm

buckeye
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:47 am
Location: columbus

Thanks Norm. The greenery is clover(quite healthy too), and I have some sort of flowering thing that has been growing since I got it home and started a fertilizing reg. This is a training pot with what looks like basic potting soil, and by the looks of the pot and it's contents I'd say it's been in there for a long while. I didn't start getting the mold till I brought the tree inside and I have noticed the soil staying moist for a long while, maybe close to a week. I usually water when my finger is dry in the soil about 1/2 in to an inch down. I keep it in a southeast window and it gets almost 2 hrs of direct sunlight and the rest indirect. Althought thru the summer on the patio it averaged almost 6hrs of direct sun and seemed to love it. It's hard to get the guts to do anything to these little trees because of their temperment. But I feel talking on a forum like this really gives me confidence to try. I really appreciate your response, always welcome. Thanks Mike

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Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Mike,

It sounds like the soil is too water retentive and will, as you surmised, need to be changed. With the tree inside it will not be growing at the same rate is it did outside. Also without air movement evaporation will be reduced, so your watering pattern should probably change as well. Ficus don't like to be kept too damp.

Have you read the sticky threads dealing with soils and re-potting? If you are intending to re-pot you will need to acquire, make or purchase, some decent free draining soil. If this is your only tree it will be simpler to just buy some pre-mixed. If, on the other hand, you intend to jump into bonsai with both feet it will be more economical to locate the individual components and mix your own. It is not difficult, the hardest part is locating the proper ingredients in your area.

Are you intending to use a bonsai pot? Often trees are put into bonsai pots before they are really ready. I think yours is far enough along that it would not be out of place in a proper pot, but it is not necessary. There are on-line retailers that sell both pots and soil/components.

In the meantime here are some links to get you started, you may have already seen these as we link to them frequently.

[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ficus.html[/url]
[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html[/url]
[url]https://bonsaihunk.8m.com/cultural.html[/url]
[url]https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm[/url]

Norm

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