How to Care for your Ficus Bonsai

Ficus Bonsai

Maybe you're looking for a new hobby. Perhaps you're an inspiring interior designer, searching for beautiful, lively decor. Or maybe you're just plant-obsessed. Either way, you've done the research and have decided that you're ready for a change... No, not a new pet. A Ficus Bonsai!

The green, elegant aesthetic of the Ficus Bonsai (also called Figs) is visually attractive. It'll add a gorgeous decorative flair to any space it's in. Taking care of the Fig can also be an art form -- pruning and wiring your miniature tree to its perfect shape can require creativity and patience.

Our list of reasons can go on and on. A Fig Tree Bonsai is sure to be an amazing addition to your home and garden.

So... where do you begin? Well, you've come to the right place. Here are our care tips for Ficus Trees. 


About The Ficus

Bonsai Ficus trees are perfect for beginners. They are fairly low maintenance and resilient to conditions that may not fair so well for other bonsai trees. The Ficus species is also an indoor bonsai tree, which means that they are great no matter your climate.

There are many, many types of Ficus Bonsai Trees to choose from. Currently, there are predicted to be over 800 species of Ficus. Some of the most popular among Bonsai Lovers include the Ficus Ginseng Bonsai, Ficus Benjamina, Ficus Carica, Willow Leaf Ficus, and many others. 

However, don't let this choice worry you. Your local home improvement or plant store can consult you on which Fig is best depending on your climate and home.

 image shows a ficus bonsaiImage Credit | Florgeous


Location

Bonsai trees do not do well in frosty or cold conditions. They are best kept indoors or outdoors at temperatures above 60°F. This makes the Ficus ideal for the person who has a smaller apartment or does not have much outdoor space.

Figs also love light! Your favorite sunny window is the perfect spot for your Ficus plant, especially when there is lots of direct early morning sunlight. Lack of light can weaken your Bonsai Ficus, resulting in the leaf drop you sometimes see in plants.  

Despite this, Ficus tend to be fairly tolerant when these conditions are not exactly up to par. They can tolerate fairly low light and both heated and air-conditioned houses.

 (Image Credit | Lacoste)

 

Watering 

The Ficus Bonsai tree is very resilient both under-watering and overwatering, making it the model low maintenance tree for beginners.  Still, the rule of thumb is that you should try your best to check and water your Fig on a regular basis, perhaps every day.

The best time to water your Ficus is when the soil has become slightly dry. When it comes time, you should water deeply and less often. This will allow enough water to absorb into the dirt without suffocating your tree. 

 

Misting

To get those picture-perfect green leaves and develop aerial roots, Ficus Bonsai Plants require slight humidity. Indoor air won't hurt your bonsai, but it won't help it either. With a spray bottle, mist your Fig occasionally during the day. Just be careful to not over mist your tree, as this can result in fungal problems.

Another way to increase the humidity level is using a humidity tray. You might have seen one of these shallow trays before -- they are filled with a shallow layer of water and stones, which your plant sits atop. 

 Girl misting Bonsai(Image Source | Bonsai Sanctum)

 

Fertilizing

Fertilizing your bonsai is crucial to maintaining a healthy and strong tree. Essential nutrients to Ficus growth often leave the soil as you water it, which makes fertilizer highly necessary.

The best time to start fertilizing your soil is when bonsai growth begins -- this will often be in the spring. If your growth continues into winter, however, keep applying fertilizer (just less often).

We recommend using organic fertilizer, as it is better for the environment and isn't over-concentrated in nutrients that could be harmful when applied too often. If organic fertilizer is not available, however, a liquid fertilizer will work fine as well.

Many fertilizers require application once every two weeks in order to maintain your Ficus Bonsai. However, Shin Nong's PRO ORGANIC fertilizer will do the trick when applied every 3 to 4 months! 

 Pro Organic Bonsai Food

 

Pruning

Bonsai trees naturally tend to have the highest growth at the top and outer edges in order to compete with other plants for sunlight. This is called apical dominance. Apical dominance often will lead to lower and inner branches dying, making your tree look disproportionate and bleak.

A great way to counter the negative effects of apical dominance is pruning. Pruning allows us to control Bonsai growth and create a more desirable shape. 

Trees in the Ficus species grow very fast. It is recommended that you prune back to around 2 leaves for every 6 leaves that have grown. Use special bonsai clippers or shears. You will most likely have to prune your tree most heavily in the spring and summer when Ficus growth is highest. 

After pruning larger stems and branches, remember to apply a cut paste. This will allow an easier recovery for the wound.

Ficus Bonsai are generally very flexible. They can tolerate both heavy pruning or long periods without pruning, so don't worry too much about messing up your tree.

 (Image Source | Gracious Gardening)

 

Wiring

Wiring is a method used in the Art of Bonsai to train Bonsai trees into different shapes and styles. To do this, the wire will be wrapped around the tree branches in order to reposition and bend them to the desired position. Training the bonsai will typically take a few months, but once the wire is removed, the results are substantial.

It is very easy to wire Ficus trees. Their thin to medium branches are very flexible and can be easily shaped. Just make sure to check on your wire regularly to make sure they do not cut into the bark. 

Meanwhile, thicker and less resilient branches of your tree should be bent using guy-wires. These can be left on the tree for a longer period and will do a better job at shaping less flexible areas. 

 Wiring Bonsai tree(Image Source | Bonsai Empire)

 

Repotting

Eventually, your tree will use up all the available nutrients in the soil and its roots will grow to mimic the shape of the pot. This overcrowding and lack of nutrients can have disastrous effects. Thus, repotting is necessary. You will need to repot your Ficus tree every two years, right during the beginning of spring. After repotting, avoid wiring and place your tree in a shady area.

 Bonsai in pots

 

Pests and Diseases

Ficus are quite resistant to pests and diseases. However, there are a select and common few that Ficus are prone to. This list includes Scale, Mites, and Mealybugs. Ficus cannot tolerate any insecticides with Malathion in them, however, you may use a small amount of Dormant oil. 

Ficus leaves also sometimes will droop due to issues pertaining to dry air or wetness. When this happens to the Ficus, it may be more susceptible to disease and insects. 

 Insects on flowers



Conclusion

We hope this guide was helpful and provided you with all the information you need on how to care for your Bonsai Ficus Tree! If you want to learn about Bonsai tree species, check out our article on the "Top 10 Most Popular Bonsai Types"

  

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