Bonsai trees are not always the easiest to care for. Many people have tried and failed with such a tree. The ficus bonsai is one of the most popular species because it is more tolerant than others. It can deal with over watering, low light, and some of the mistakes made by beginners. If you want an indoor tree, this is the recommended species, especially due to such features as aerial banyan roots as well as surface roots that can be seen.
Ficus Light Requirements
Ficus bonsai trees can grow in all sorts of light conditions. Based on light intensity, it can range from as low as 800 lux to as much as 2000 lux. It is very easy to keep the ficus bonsai indoors, through you may want to consider keeping it near a window or using a fluorescent light.
To offer perspective, a standard office with no windows is around 400 lux. You need 500 lux for photosynthesis to occur. Adding some lights or placing the tree in front of a window will ensure that you get the smaller leaves and the thriving bonsai that you desire.
Watering and Feeding of Your Ficus
Various species of ficus including salicifolia and neriifolia don’t’ require a lot of water. Simply don’t allow it to dry out. Too much water is not good, however, because you don’t want root rot. A mixture of liquid fertilizer added to the water is going to be the food that your ficus bonsai needs and this can be given every 2 to 4 weeks.
Pruning and General Care
The leaves found on ficus trees can be larger, which may throw off the perspective on a little tree. There are some things that you can do to encourage the growth of smaller leaves. You can increase the amount of light and therefore it will result in more compact growth. Defoliation and leaf pruning should also be practised. Defoliation can be hard on such a tree, so it should be limited to a few times in a year.
Bonsai trees will drop leaves as a result of stress. If you have been losing leaves, try a new location that has a different amount of light. You can also check for insect infestation. Do not allow the soil to be over watered or the soil to become over dry. A cold front can also result in leaf loss.
Ideally, ficus bonsai trees grow well warm climates. South Africa is where they grow very well because of the high temperatures and sun. Low temperatures can cause problems and should be kept indoors when the temperatures drop in the winter.
If you are going to re-pot your ficus bonsai, be sure to understand that growth is not just underground. You don’t want your tree to become pot bound, so it will be necessary to re-pot annually. The pot should drain well so you don’t cause more stress on the indoor bonsai.