Where Does It Come From?
With between 800 and 2000 different varieties, spread across every tropical continent, the Ficus is a widespread jungle plant, more often than not growing as an enormous, full-size tree in the wild. Ficus bonsais are now widely available throughout the world and thrive in miniature form.
Why Should I Get One?
How Big Can It Grow?
Out in the sweaty jungles of the equatorial tropics these trees can be truly giant, boasting a crown circumference of more than 300 metres. Really. Your miniature on the other hand can be kept under control relatively easily. Regular pruning is a good way to guide your tree’s shape and keep it healthy once 6-8 leaves have sprouted. If you want the tree’s trunk to thicken a little more, I recommend allowing it to grow totally freely for about one year before making any cuts. Repotting the plant every spring into nutritious soils is also a good way to encourage quicker growth if you are seeking to get your bonsai to a larger final size.
Where Should I Keep It?
Your bonsai ficus cannot endure frost, so it is important to keep this little guy in a spot where it can be warm all year-round. In the summer, as long as the temperatures are around 15°C or higher, this little one can actually survive outdoors, and does enjoy a spell in the fresh air every now and then. Whether indoors or outdoors, the Ficus Microcarpa likes a lot of light so a spot in the full sunshine is ideal. A lack of adequate light can lead to leaf-dropping. The plant’s waxy leaves mean that they can endure a lower humidity than most tropical plants, however, keeping the temperature consistently high for them is quite important for the tree’s overall health. If you are able to recreate humid conditions on top of this, away from any potentially moisture sapping drafts, you’ll have a very happy tree. This is what makes these little guys ideal for terrariums.
How Often Should I Water It?
The Ficus enjoys moderate watering, which is to say that it needs to be watered generously when the soil appears dry. The Bonsai Ficus can put up with being occasionally over- or under-watered too, which is part of what makes these pretty little trees such a no-stress option. Daily misting is advised to maintain humidity levels and avoid dust-mites, but over-misting can sometimes lead to fungal diseases, so err on the side of caution.
In the summer, when your tree does the bulk of its growing, a weekly dose of fertiliser can be an easy way to help the tree achieve optimum health. In the winter, just once a month will do.
All the joy of bonsai with none of the drama, picking one of these up will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for your houseplant family.