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Ficus Benjamina - Beginner general questions 5 months 3 weeks ago #68065

  • Ryan66
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Hi All!

Just started with my first Bonsai - a Ficus Benjamina. I’ve had it for about a week with no leaf drop and it seems to be doing well. As I begin thinking of my design I decided to go with Root over Rock or In Rock, and just had some general questions..

1) The ficus is still rather small, and I was hoping for the trunk to be about as thick as my thumb for the final design. Is it best to start the process now and let the ficus grow into the design, or should I let the growth occur until the size meets the design?

2) how best do I grow the ficus? Specifically, should I purchase a larger bonsai specific pot/soil to encourage growth or should I just use a visit plant with good soil and then move to the bonsai sheet?

Thanks!

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Ficus Benjamina - Beginner general questions 5 months 3 weeks ago #68074

  • lucR
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Hello and welcome
A picture would help so we know what we are talking about.

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Ficus Benjamina - Beginner general questions 5 months 3 weeks ago #68079

  • leatherback
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It would be best to grow the plant out to size. Good thing.. In a warm summer (Not sure where you live) in the garden in a pot with fertilizer, plenty of water and sun, a thumb thick trunk can be grown in one summer.

I would plant in a large pot. Put that outside for summer. Initially, in half shade as houseplants are very sensitive to light and burn easily. Over a few weeks move into full sun, ensuring water access all the time once the roots have filled the pot. The dish with water should be empty every 2-4 days, else it is too large. ONLY do this with well established plants that have filled the pot with roots.

Add fertilizer and off it goes.

Keen in mind: The trunk cannot be bend one grown out, so shape it early, and watch for the wiring biting in. Scars take a decade+ to disappear. Once sscarred, cut off and regrow would be my recommendation.
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Ficus Benjamina - Beginner general questions 5 months 3 weeks ago #68085

  • Ryan66
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Good point, here is a pic. I have already wired the trunk into a light S shape.

Thanks!

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Ficus Benjamina - Beginner general questions 5 months 3 weeks ago #68086

  • Ryan66
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Thanks for the recommendation! Glad to know I was on the right track! I have already wired the trunk in a light S shape and haven’t noticed any biting yet.

I would love to be able to plant outside, but not possible currently. That said it has a good spot in front of a South facing window. I do have a bit of tree coverage preventing full sun, so for a few hours a day I have a 9v full spectrum LED that provides some additional rays. With this I’ve noticed some good growth and to make sure it doesn’t dry out I have a humidity tray underneath the pot I keep filled with some water.

This is my fertilizer week so I’ll grab a bigger pot and we’ll draining soil and get to it. Pic below!

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Ficus Benjamina - Beginner general questions 5 months 3 weeks ago #68087

  • lucR
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As you only had it for a week i'd advice not to do to much, or even anything. First let it adjust,and learn to know its behaviour ( for a good period of time) before doing anything to it. Most beginners are to eager and do too much in too little time and end up with a dead tree. You already wired it, so leave it alone now , let it recover from the change of environment and the wiring. And place it outside as soon as possible when temps are above 15- ish

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Ficus Benjamina - Beginner general questions 5 months 3 weeks ago #68090

  • Ivan Mann
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My ficus started off about 3 mm thick just about dirt level. Now it is 5 cm or so thick and the roots spread out to just about fill up the surface of a pot 18" long, almost half a meter.

I let it grow for five or six years, but have pinched it back to the same level ever since for fifteen or sixteen years. They grow pretty well.

It sits outside in full sun March to November and gets lots of water and fertilizer. It seems to be real happy.

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