Ficus bonsai are ideally suited for indoor bonsai. There are many different varieties that are natural dwarfs. These varieties have very small leaves and slow growth habits. There are many varieties of ficus including narrow-leaf ficus, dwarf ficus, and weeping ficus. Ficus bonsai should be kept indoors all year round. With a few simple guidelines your Ficus bonsai can be grown without difficulty.
Ficus bonsai, as with most bonsai, like to dry out between waterings. Feel the soil every day. If there is a rock in the planting lift it up and feel under it, otherwise, just stick your finger about a half of an inch to an inch into the soil. If the soil feels dry, water your bonsai. Never let your bonsai go totally dry for extended periods!!! The best way to water your bonsai is to soak it in a sink or container of water up to the trunk for about 5-10 minutes. Then allow it to drain. If top watering your bonsai, water, wait a few minutes, and water again. Repeat this several times to insure that your bonsai has received a thorough watering. Eventually you will be able to determine a watering schedule that meets your climate conditions..
Ficus bonsai grow well in either direct or indirect sunlight. We prefer to grow Ficus in shady areas, out of the hot afternoon sun. Sometimes the direct afternoon sun can burn delicate leaves, especially when shining through a household window. Direct morning sunlight is great for almost all bonsai because of its low intensity. We have also found that most types of Ficus grow well under supplemental lighting sources, such as grow lights.
Fertilize your Ficus bonsai once every two weeks during the growing season, spring until fall. We recommend using an organic liquid fertilizer such as a fish emulsion or an organic seaweed fertilizer. Chemical fertilizers may be used but should be diluted to approximately one half strength so that valuable roots are not damaged. Organic pellets such as rice cakes may also be used along with regular fertilizers.
Humidity around your Ficus bonsai may be maintained by the use of a humidity tray or plate filled with stones and water. Your bonsai can be placed on top of the stones in the tray. The tray or plate will also offer protection from the draining water of your freshly watered bonsai. Misting once a day will also help…but remember that misting is not a replacement for watering.
Ficus bonsai should be repotted about every two years, although they should be checked every year. The best time to repot Ficus is in the early spring. After repotting, water thoroughly and keep the plant in a shady location for several weeks so that new roots may grow.
Ficus bonsai should be kept indoors during the winter months. Display them in a sunny spot that does not go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Some leaf drop may occur if the temperatures are too cool or if your Ficus bonsai is placed in a cold drafty environment, such as a location close to an outside door. Although some leaf drop is normal, measures should be taken to protect your Ficus from the cold.
Moss is certainly not essential to growing bonsai, but when moss is added to a bonsai it both enhances its beauty and improves moisture retention within the bonsai pot. If your bonsai has moss growing in it you can help to keep it alive by misting it regularly. If the moss dies, you may replace it with some of your own moss from your backyard.
These instructions, when followed properly, will help keep your bonsai healthy and beautiful. There are many more publications available that offer more in depth information about your bonsai and we encourage you to read some of them. There are also local bonsai clubs and societies that offer many great learning experiences in the area of bonsai.
We hope you enjoy your bonsai experience as much as we have enjoyed ours.