Driver170
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New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Hi all. Just got my first large ficus from Ikea today :) got all the tools for it and done alot of research before it. I have a question i've removed my ficus out of the black pot that came with it and put it in my plant basket that i got dobbies with gravel at the bottom. Is this ok for the Ficus? Its not repotting it just moving the compost and roots to the new home. I will include pictures. Any tips will be appreciated :)
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Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

The second picture is showing with my fingers the gap i had to fill with bonsai compost? Is this ok for the bonsai?
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garmy yo
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Hi Driver,
That's a beautiful Ficus you got there. Don't panic, but it will probably loose quite a few of those leaves now that it has a new home. Once it gets adjusted, though, they will grow back.
The soil doesn't look very well draining, so be careful to not overwater.

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Gnome
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Driver170,

What you have done is sometimes called 'slip potting' not a complete re-potting but a temporary improvement until more appropriate steps can be taken. This is fine for now, but should not be left indefinitely. Gravel at the bottom of a pot only raises the saturation level inside the pot.

Perhaps more importantly, having two distinct soil types surrounding the plant sets up an unusual situation. This arrangement does not allow for the fact that the two differing media will dry at different rates. In other words, the dense core will stay damp longer than the periphery. The best arrangement is one where the medium is uniform throughout.

If you give us some more information (general location, lighting situation, etc.) we will be better able to advise.

Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Hi thanks for the response. I've seen many threads on here about leafs dropping don't want mines completely bare!

So should i remove the gravel stones at the bottom? Will it kill the plant what i have done by placing soil on the outside? I wasn't alot just fill a gap around the sides. The plant sits about 1.5m from my large window and the window looks east. Best i can do! The light is always coming through the window in the morning with the sun being there. Is that enough light? But the plant isn't directly in the sun...

Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Just an update with a picture of how far my bonsai sits from the window and also i have two plant feeders. What one will i use guys?
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Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Plant feed
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Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

1. With it being new when will i give it fertilizer again?

2. What other food can i give to this fig?

3. To water it will i use a garden watering can? and not submerge it in a bath full of water?

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Gnome
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Driver170,
So should i remove the gravel stones at the bottom?
No, do not disturb it again. The bottom gravel is not a real issue, especially if you know about it, but be aware that it does little good either. In the future don't bother.
Will it kill the plant what i have done by placing soil on the outside? I wasn't alot just fill a gap around the sides.
No, once again, it is not necessarily life threatening if handled correctly. It is not ideal but not worth disturbing . Next time do better.
The plant sits about 1.5m from my large window and the window looks east. Best i can do!
Consider supplemental lighting, it will really make a difference.
i have two plant feeders. What one will i use guys?
Your choice, they are both relatively weak if you follow the instructions.


1. With it being new when will i give it fertilizer again?

2. What other food can i give to this fig?

3. To water it will i use a garden watering can? and not submerge it in a bath full of water?
1. I don't see a problem with beginning now. But don't rush the next dose, less in winter, more in summer (meaning outside/full growth)
2. None for now, in summer (meaning outside) you should increase the rate/frequency.
3. Watering from the bottom is not an immediate issue either, in fact it can be very useful at times. On the other hand, watering from the top helps to flush away any minerals that can accumulate.

Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Hi thanks for getting back. Great points i will take on board.

Just to mention a few above -

1. Lighthing, what lighting do you recommend so i can look it up and buy the correct one? Can i use a large lamp instead of a hanging light?

2. What food do you recommend i should buy instead from the ones i already have?

3. Do you recommend only to water in the mornings and mist twice a day?

Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Also would you recommend bottled water from supermarket stores to water my bonsai?

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applestar
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Does the window face directly east? At this time of the year, does the sun rise to the north of east for you? (The sun rises exactly ESE right now here). Since the window is to the left of the plant, the direct sunlight probably doesn't reach the plant that much before it moves off?

Presumably as the season progresses, the sun should rise further and further east and on around to a bit north of east, and you plant will get a little more direct sunlight.

It does help that you've positioned it in front of the mirror, and fwiw, it will get some benefit from the TV. But you will need to rotate the pot 1/4 turn about twice a week (... Or maybe when you water would be a good reminder). But indirect light from the window at that distance is not very much at all and your plant will very quickly start to suffer.

For supplemental light, considering the current size of the tree, I think ideally I would want at least a 24" long 2 tube fluorescent light fixture hanging over the plant and utilizing the mirror as side reflector to double the light exposure. I would turn it on in the morning and leave it on until bedtime (but turn it off while watching the TV). Looking at the size of the mirror and TV though, it might look more balanced to have a longer fixture all the way across the top of the mirror/TV... and that would provide a better lighting for the plant. You may even be able to curtail the length of time the lights are kept on.

I generally use 6500K bulbs. I haven't tried buying the longer 4ft T5 fixtures since I have enough trouble handling the 2ft and 3ft bulbs, and 4ft T8's are scary enough to deal with since they feel more fragile than the sturdy T12's.

I imagine eventually you will be styling the tree and then the overall diameter and height of the plant might be reduced and you might be able to get away with just a 10-12" diameter pendant lamp, if you use one of the bigger photo studio CFL's.
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applestar
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

I wouldn't bother buying bottled water, but would definitely leave a pitcher or bucket of water sitting out to de-chlorinate. (If you keep it on the floor next to the plant, it will help to add humidity). If your tap water is really questionable -- heavily treated with chemicals, hard water, etc. -- I might be inclined to use water from a filtering pitcher -- one brand I can think of is Brita but I'm sure there are others.

I probably wouldn't change the filter as often if it's for the plant's use only though :P
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Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Hi applestar. My window faces pretty much east but where the plant is its getting no direct sunlight whatsoever.

So I'm going to go to B&Q and get two 40 watt flourescent tubes i'll go with 24" per your advice for the size. Its just finding the right fitments to hang from the wall.

Do you think i should get a large bulb instead like what you use?

Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Well I'm in Scotland and it rains all the time I'm sure it will fill up quick haha

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Gnome
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Driver170,

Misting is good but no substitute for proper watering. I think new growers can really benefit from using what we call the chopstick method. Insert a chopstick or kitchen skewer into the denser portion of the soil and leave it there. Every day remove it and check for moisture by touching it to the underside of your wrist. If it is damp do not water that day. When the skewer is dry water liberally. Your pot does have a hole in it, correct?


Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

My chopstick is still damp looking and it feels damp.

Yeh holes at the bottom and i covered it with mesh to stop the stones falling out.

I also bought a garden watering can for the next watering when the chopstick gets dry :)

So what food would you recommend for a ficus?
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Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Worried to water my ficus just incase its still too early.

The chopstick isn't as damp but its getting dry soil still sticks to it but not alot. Top soil looks dry. Underneath is slightly damp but most of its flacky dry spoil partial damp.

Anyone please

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rainbowgardener
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

The soil staying damp so long after a watering is a sign that at least the original soil it came in is not right for it, too much peat moss, too heavy, holds water too long. I have to say that even though you said that what you put around the edges is "bonsai compost" (I know in the UK you use "compost" to mean what we call potting mix), it still looks way more organic than I expect bonsai soil to be. Proper bonsai soil is very mineral, gritty, and free draining.

Here's a couple good discussions of bonsai soil:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =36&t=3422

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/03/soil.html
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Driver170
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Re: New Ficus Microcarpa Ginseng owner

Maybe its been in that soil for a few years and it needs repotting? I'm not sure.

The bonsai soil i got is for bonsai's and i also got small grit stones to mix it in with


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