All about Ficus Bonsai Trees (Bonsai Fig Trees)
The genus of Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees) belongs to the Moraceae family. This family also consists of mulberry plants. These plants can be commonly found growing in tropical regions all over the world.
This article focuses on Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees), their growing conditions, caring, and varieties.
In general, the Ficus genus constitutes in excess of 800 species. However, only a few tropical and subtropical species can be grown as bonsai.
Typically, these species evolve on shady forest floors. So, they can thrive well in indoor poor lighting conditions and indoor dry air. In any case, these trees begin to struggle when temperatures drop down below 59°F (15°C). Hence, if you are growing them outdoors, shift indoors during winters.
Generally, you can plant Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees) all-round the year. However, cutting propagation has higher success rates in summer. Similarly, if you want to grow them from seeds or prefer Air-layering, spring is the best season to do so.
Alternatively, you can purchase Ficus bonsai trees from online stores or nearby garden centers.
Every year, during spring, repot your bonsai trees. Makes sure to use good quality Bonsai soil mix. While repotting, you can also prune the roots. This encourages root growth with fresh energy.
Pests and Diseases
In general, Fig species are resistant to pests. Still, they can be bothered by some problems, especially in winters. Poor lighting conditions and dry air indoors may weaken these trees.
As a result, the plants start to drop the leaves. In this scenario, common pests like spider mites or scales may infect them. You can simply treat these pests with insecticide sprays
Place the weakened trees under grow lights for about 12 -14 hours every day. Mist the foliage frequently to increase the humidity. Mostly, these steps are sufficient for the weakened trees to recover.
Generally, Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees) can thrive in dry air and poor light indoors. Their waxy, thick leaves help them to endure low humidity. However, they require full sun or bright space to thrive healthier.
They also need high humidity to form gnarled, attractive aerial roots. You can simply place Ficus bonsais’ containers upon gravel trays containing water. Also, make sure to keep them away from heating vents and radiating mechanisms. These steps help in maintaining high humidity levels.
Typically, these trees grow well in temperatures between 59°F (16°C) – 86°F (30°C). In summers, if the night-time temperatures are consistently above at least 54°F (12°C), you can place them outdoors. These trees can tolerate a little bit of fluctuating temperatures also.
Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees) require generous watering. If you find the soil dry a bit, start watering. These plants can also tolerate a bit of overwatering and under-watering.
In general, water the plants these plants moderately. Instead of pouring water on top, aim at the base of the plant. Also, mist the foliage occasionally not frequently, as it can lead to fungal development.
During winters, you may secure these plants by placing them in a warm environment. In this scenario, they demand more water. Similarly, during summer, you may tend to place them in cool places. In this scenario, they demand less water.
Using liquid or organic fertilizers, feed the plants twice a month in summers. Similarly, feed them once a month in winters. As the plants mature, reduce the frequency.
Shaping Ficus Bonsai Trees (Bonsai Fig Trees)
In general, you can prune most Ficus species all year round. However, we recommend you pruning them in the spring. During this season, these species produce sap liquids freely. Hence, the pruning wounds heal quickly. After the stubs dry out, detach them from trees. This helps in reducing scare marks on barks.
To retain the shape, prune the Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees) regularly. After 6 – 8 leaves appear, prune them back to 2 leaves. Typically, most Ficus species develop large leaves. To reduce the size of the leaves, you can make use of defoliation (Leaf pruning) techniques.
If you allow these trees to grow freely for a couple of years, they will develop thick trunks. After that, the trees can endure shortcuts with minimal or no health issues. New shoots sprout readily from old trunks. In any case, use cut paste’ to cover the large wounds.
Thin to medium branches are usually flexible. Hence, wiring and bending them is not difficult. However, the wires tend to cut into the barks quickly. So, always keep a watch on them.
Typically, the strong branches are not flexible. So, use guy wires to shape them. Guy wires can also be left on the branches safely for longer durations without concerns.
In any case, wire the branches loosely. For better shaping, you may have to rewire fast-growing Ficus, multiple times in a growing season.
To develop appealing structures, growers mostly use approach-grafting. In this method, they fuse roots, branches, or trunks together and pressurize them. Grafting can also be used to heal wounds faster.
Common Varieties to Choose From
Ficus retusa, is among the rare species of Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees). It can be grown both as outdoor plants and indoor plants. These trees have small and thick trunks. Most often, these trunks are shaped as “s” curves. It also has beautiful oval leaves that are dark green in color.
Hence, these trees can suit well for beautifying both ultra-modern homes and natural gardens.
Typically, these trees can tolerate short prunes. But do not thrive well in low lighting conditions.
Ficus Ginseng has a unique appearance posing its thick apparent roots above the ground surface. Typically, the bulbous thick trunk of this tree has zebra-like stripes. It also sometimes appears in reddish-gray color.
The oval-shaped leaves are dark green in color. They also grow densely to form a thick canopy. In fact, this tree requires very minimal maintenance compared to other fig species.
Ficus Benjamina grows slowly and requires some caring. It is also one of the popular species for growing indoors. This tree is also called Weeping fig. To suit the indoors well, most people prune these trees to about 3 – 6 feet tall.
Typically, the slender branches of this elegant tree arch gracefully providing a weeping look’. The trunk is light grey in color. Sometimes, people use to decorate these trunks with lights and other ornaments.
In general, the glossy leaves are dark green in color. They grow in dense patterns. When stressed, these trees tend to shed leaves readily.
In fact, these trees do not like shifting places. If you move them around, they experience a shock. Then, they shed leaves to produce new ones in accordance with the new environment. At this stage, they appear pretty bare. Hence, avoid moving them once they establish.
Ficus Salicifolia tree is easy to grow and care for. This variety of Ficus bonsai trees (bonsai fig trees) is best suited for beginner gardeners. This tree is also called Willow Leaf Ficus Bonsai.
With narrow, small, and willow-like leaves, these species perfectly appear like miniature trees. In a short time, trunks develop into a thick caudex.
Typically, these trees prefer to grow under full sun. it can thrive in partial shades also. This plant can also adapt to any location easily. Due to these characteristics, you can grow them indoors also.
Normally, these trees can survive for several years. During summer, these trees become active and grow. This adds to their form. You can also wire them for shaping.