Ficus bonsai care
The care of ficus bonsai (fig tree) is straightforward. As an indoor bonsai, a very bright location is important, especially in winter. The easy-care figs are good bonsai for beginners (inexpensive, available everywhere, easy to propagate, fast-growing).
Ficus bonsai, especially the small-leaved species such as the banyan fig, are well suited for bonsai styling. The branches are easy to shape and, above all, fig bonsai are very easy to cut.
A fig tree as a bonsai hardly grow in our apartments in winter due to lack of light. Therefore they do not need fertilization during this time. During the growing period (March to September), however, bonsai fertilizers should be applied regularly and frequently. You can use all fertilizers offered in bonsai shops. We recommend Biogold bonsai fertilizer from Japan or Hanagokoro. The advantages are: You only need to think about fertilizing every 4-6 weeks (then press the pellets into the soil) and above all - Biogold does not smell.
If you take liquid bonsai fertilizer for your Ficus bonsai - give from March to September calmly the double. These liquid fertilizers do not contain very much nitrogen (usually 3%). In our opinion, this is not enough. We give a lot more in our bonsai nursery.
As a bonsai tree from rainy, subtropical areas, you should water a Ficus bonsai regularly. A fig bonsai requires an even water supply. The root ball must not be too moist or too dry. Moderately damp is best. A fig tree bonsai is grateful for occasional spraying of the leaves with water that is not too calcareous.
Often we are asked how often you have to water the bonsai. This question is difficult to answer. It depends on many factors. In summer on the balcony on a windy day you often have to water twice a day. In the winter in the flat it can be that once in the week must be poured. It's best to put your palm on the ground. If it feels wet, it doesn't need to be poured. A ball shower for the irrigation of indoor bonsai has proved itself well.
Since ficus bonsai are mostly cared for in the apartement, a drip tray for the bonsai pot makes sense. It collects the excess water when watering the bonsai. These drip trays are often included with the purchase of a Ficus. Alternatively, we also offer bonsai pots with drip trays as a set in the shop.
Ficus bonsai tolerate very little light as they often grow in nature under the crowns of larger trees. Little light does not mean dark. Compared to other indoor bonsai Ficus bonsai tolerate less light. However, they should placed still bright to very bright. In spring and summer a Ficus bonsai can also be placed on the balcony or in the garden. The first 2 weeks it should then be placed half-shady otherwise the leaves can get sunburned. In the cold season you should protect a Ficus bonsai from cold draughts.
Ficus bonsai come mostly from tropical and subtropical areas. Ie. the Ficus bonsai traded in Europe do not tolerate temperatures below 4°C. Already from 6°C they drop the first leaves. If you put your Ficus bonsai outside in spring / summer, no temperatures below 6°C should occur.
With good growth, you should repot a bonsai at least every 3 years. Under normal room conditions, however, a period of 4-5 years is probably sufficient. It is best to carefully lift the bonsai out of its pot at the end of February. If the root ball is strongly rooted, it can be repotted.
The roots are then usually cut back a little so that there is space again in the pot and the fine branching of the roots increases. If the bonsai substrate is not strongly rooted, you can carefully push the tree back into the pot and wait another year before repotting.
Suitable substrates are the commercially available bonsai soils like Akadama. The substrate should definitely prevent waterlogging.
If a Ficus bonsai is properly cared for, infestation with diseases or pests will almost never occur. Especially important is a bright and warm location. If you fertilize a lot and nitrogen rich you can rarely find an infection with aphids. If it comes to a mass infestation you can treat you Fig tree bonsai with the commercial available agents for aphids.
Ficus plants can be easily propagated by cuttings. Simply cut an already lignified piece off a shoot, allow it to dry slightly and then place it in a damp substrate. Important is: The soil temperature should be as high as possible. 25-30°C is optimal.You can support the rooting also by a high humidity.
Fig tree bonsai or Ficus houseplants are available for very little money. You save a lot of time if you buy an already rooted houseplant or a small bonsai and then shape it further. Propagating from seeds needs a lot of time.
Ficus - Advantages for bonsai design
- Ficus bonsai tolerate pruning well. A Fig tree sprouts well again after bonsai pruning
- A ficus is evergreen. So you can enjoy the tree all year round
- As an easy-care bonsai species, a Ficus is a good bonsai for beginners or perfect as a gift
- Ficus likes a lot of light but tolerates partially shaded locations. Nevertheless - keep the bonsai as bright as possible
- Many styles, even cascades, are easy to create. The often existing aerial roots look very attractive
- Ficus bonsai trees are hardly affected by pests and are not susceptible to disease
Wiring of a fig tree is possible throughout the growing season. Caution - with strong growth of the tree, the bonsai wire quickly leaves marks on the bark. Similarly, the bark can be injured when wiring the bonsai. Work carefully !
When the wire starts to press in - unwire the bonsai or a part. It is best to rewire immediately afterwards (if the branch does not yet safely maintain its position).
The branches of the fig tree are best pruned with a sharp bonsai scissors during the growing season (March to September), although maintenance pruning is possible all the year long. The shoots are allowed to grow for 1-2 months and then shortened to 1-2 pairs of leaves.
If necessary, a fig tree can also be subjected to a radical shape pruning. This is best done in spring (March-April). Then the fig tree has enough time after the cut to build new buds. If the fig tree bonsai is in the apartment you should not cut it in autumn and winter (due to lack of light).
Larger branches are better removed with concave cutter for bonsai. The sharp cut allows the wounds to heal better. The resulting "bleeding" wounds (milk juice) can be soothed with charcoal powder. But it also works without it.
Wound healing of ficus is very good, but can be improved by applying wound sealant for bonsai. To do this, you should wait for the milky juice to dry out before applying it.
A fig tree bonsai can be designed as a single plant or group in different bonsai styles. Often you can see upright bonsai, sometimes little forrests. Even fig tree cascades are well feasible.
Matching bonsai pots
Glazed bonsai pots are best suited for ficus bonsai. Since a fig tree is not hardy, you do not necessarily have to use a frost-proof, handmade bonsai pot. Our inexpensive bonsai pots for indoor bonsai are often suitable. Although it should be pointed out here in a restrictive manner, the quality of these cheap pots cannot keep up with the handmade bonsai pots.
Unglazed bonsai pots are less suitable. If an unglazed pot is being considered then it is best to choose a handmade pot. Here the range of different clay colors is much larger. For large bonsai you can find suitable pots under Large bonsai pots.
Ficus bonsai with their rounded crown fit quite well in an oval bonsai pot. Rectangular bonsai pots are also suitable. In the case of rectangular pots, we would choose a pot that has somewhat rounded corners or possibly playful pot feet. Higher, round bonsai pots are particularly suitable for bonsai in a semi-cascade or cascade style.
Plastic bonsai pots are suitable for prebonsai in the forming phase. The dark brown color of the pots goes well with the dark trunk of most ficus species. These plastic pots are impact-resistant, UV-stable and unbeatably cheap. For 2-3 year old young plants in a nursery, plastic plant pots are best used.
The flowers are very inconspicuous and have no importance to the bonsai lover. If the growth conditions are good, Ficus bonsai will develop fruits regularly. Depending on the species or variety of ficus they can grow to 4-5cm in size.
Since the bark of Fig tree bonsai is very smooth, a wired plant must be regularly checked otherwise the bonsai wire leaves ugly traces.
The roots are conspicuously thickened in some species (eg. Ficus ginseng) and are not suitable for the design of an attractive bonsai. Other ficus species (such as the Banyan fig - Ficus retusa offered in the shop) quickly form aerial roots when the air humidity is high. These can be very well included in the design and look very appropriate.
The care tips listed here apply to the following fig tree bonsai species or Ficus varieties: Ficus benjamina, Ficus carica, Ficus microcarpa (Ficus ginseng), Ficus pandora, Ficus retusa (banyan fig, Chinese fig tree), Ficus sikkimensis, Ficus Starlight.
Ficus species commercially available as bonsai are: Ficus ginseng, Ficus benjamina, Ficus microcarpa and Ficus retusa. Often you will find special Ficus varieties designed as bonsai. For example, the Ficus ginseng or the Ficus panda. In our shop, we primarily offer Ficus retusa, the banyan fig. This ficus species is best suited as bonsai. Ficus retusa is characterized by a mostly interesting trunk, has small leaves and often many interesting aerial roots.
We do not offer Ficus Ginseng anymore. The tuberous thickened roots (hence the name ginseng) of Ficus ginseng look ugly. Such plants never become an attractive bonsai. If you already own a ficus ginseng - no problem. You can practice well on such a plant. The care and design information compiled on this page also apply to Ficus Ginseng.
The Ficus bonsai belong to a plant genus with over 800 species. The different Ficus species grow both tree- and shrub-like and occur mainly in South Asia. Only a small part of the ficus species are suitable for the design as a bonsai tree. The Ficus tree species offered as Bonsai are evergreen.
Ficus bonsai - Pictures
Pictures from our stock
Import - Pictures from China
Frequently asked questions
How often do I have to water my ficus bonsai ?
Often we are asked how often you have to pour your Ficus bonsai. This question is difficult to answer. It depends on many factors.
In the summer on the balcony on a windy day you often have to water a bonsai tree twice a day. In the winter in the apartment it may be that once a week the bonsai must be poured. It is best to put the palm of your hand on the soil. If he feels damp it does not need to be watered. A ball shower for watering indoor bonsai works well.
What can I do if my Ficus bonsai loses leaves ?
A Ficus bonsai needs a lot of light even in the darker seasons. Often, a fig tree suffers from lack of light in winter. If a bonsai tree gets yellow leaves this is almost always due to lack of light.
Lack of light occurs especially after purchase (bright greenhouse -> much darker room) and in winter, when the days are short and dark. Then the Ficus bonsai losing leaves inside the crown.
Find the brightest place in the apartment and place the bonsai it there. Best is a south side, directly on the window.
Sometimes it can take a few weeks to get new leaves. Do not be alarmed. Simply set brightly, pour the bonsai moderately, do not fertilize or repot a bonsai until the leaves sprout again.
How do I properly care for my Ficus bonsai ?
Maintaining a Ficus bonsai properly is easy. Just follow the instructions:
- Place your bonsai as bright as possible. Straight to the window is the best
- Fertilize the bonsai from March to September with liquid bonsai fertilizer
- Give the bonsai fertilizer according to the instructions on the bottle
- Repot the ficus bonsai every 3 years in early March
- When repotting, use a well-drained bonsai soil like Akadama
- Read our bonsai repot instructions before
- Prune the bonsai in May and July (if the shoots are long enough)
- Water the ficus regularly. It should not be too wet or too dry
- If possible, place the tree outdoor in summer (first days in partial shade)