Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

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Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  nyxm on Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:13 am

Ok, I am pretty new to gardening, and bonsai in particular. But I do know enough to realize that though this tree may look awesome, it is probably not the healthiest tree available (especially since I found it at the local Wally-World). That being said, the thing was only $10, so how could I pass it up? Anyways, here are some pictures to show it off. Also, I am really restraining myself from doing any pruning on this plant before I have an idea of how I want it to look and whether or not it should be repotted before pruning. It does not seem to be root bound, but the roots, soil, and all easily lift out of the pot. The pot is only about 4" tall, and from soil to top of plant is about 16 - 18". Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


This is a picture to give an impression of the general size and age of the tree


Some nice aerial roots


This is the only part of the tree that worries me. You can see the scars from wiring (Why anyone would wire it in a circle the way they did is beyond me.), and the wire that is actually still in the scars. Should this wire be removed, and if so, how would I go about doing it?

Any suggestions for the training/first pruning would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

nyxm
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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  Ryan on Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:19 am

Ah yes, the mallsai 'Ficus Ginseng' commonly sold in WalMarts and other big box stores. It was a good price, and a rather healthy looking plant. However, these aren't seen as traditional bonsai in many peoples eyes due to the large tubers that make up their base.

About the wire, it's probably too late to try and remove it, so a couple more years of growth will eventually cover up the wire and it won't be visible. Before you think about styling, however, make sure to let this guy adjust and get growing before doing anything. Ficus can sometimes be temperamental.

Ryan
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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  nyxm on Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:24 am

Ryan wrote:Ah yes, the mallsai 'Ficus Ginseng' commonly sold in WalMarts and other big box stores. It was a good price, and a rather healthy looking plant. However, these aren't seen as traditional bonsai in many peoples eyes due to the large tubers that make up their base.

About the wire, it's probably too late to try and remove it, so a couple more years of growth will eventually cover up the wire and it won't be visible. Before you think about styling, however, make sure to let this guy adjust and get growing before doing anything. Ficus can sometimes be temperamental.

I appreciate the quick response. One other thing that I was wondering about was the supposed "thriving in low-light conditions." What exactly does this mean? Have the plant in a room with a window, or near a west-facing window? All the info I have found about the best conditions for this plant are not too specific. Also, I was thinking about letting the ficus grow out into a sort of weeping/cascade style, and then train it from there. Any thoughts?

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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  Ryan on Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:32 am

nyxm wrote:
I appreciate the quick response. One other thing that I was wondering about was the supposed "thriving in low-light conditions." What exactly does this mean? Have the plant in a room with a window, or near a west-facing window? All the info I have found about the best conditions for this plant are not too specific. Also, I was thinking about letting the ficus grow out into a sort of weeping/cascade style, and then train it from there. Any thoughts?


They will most definitely not "thrive" in low light conditions. They may survive, but not do too well. You want to give it as much sun as possible. I'd even suggest giving the tree some artificial light as well, if you're able to. Not sure I'd recommend training this tree into a weeping style, these like to grow upright. I also wouldn't suggest you grow this in a cascade style, the trunk just doesn't fit it. However, it's your tree, so you can grow it how you want thumbs up

Ryan
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Rocks glued on?

Post  milehigh_7 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:41 am

It is hard to see but is the gravel glued on? If so get it off by any means necessary.

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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  nyxm on Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:27 pm

milehigh_7 wrote:It is hard to see but is the gravel glued on? If so get it off by any means necessary.

The gravel is indeed glued on, and the mossy stuff is loose, but I think it might be a little weird. When watered, it is nice and soft, but when it dries, it gets hard. Why is the gravel a problem and should I be worried about the moss?

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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  Ryan on Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:05 pm

nyxm wrote:
milehigh_7 wrote:It is hard to see but is the gravel glued on? If so get it off by any means necessary.

The gravel is indeed glued on, and the mossy stuff is loose, but I think it might be a little weird. When watered, it is nice and soft, but when it dries, it gets hard. Why is the gravel a problem and should I be worried about the moss?

Both the moss and rocks can (and should) go. The moss isn't really needed for anything other than decoration, and it tends to keep the soil too wet. The rocks, especially since glued on, prevent you from watering successfully and thoroughly.

Ryan
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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  milehigh_7 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:25 pm

nyxm wrote:
milehigh_7 wrote:It is hard to see but is the gravel glued on? If so get it off by any means necessary.

The gravel is indeed glued on, and the mossy stuff is loose, but I think it might be a little weird. When watered, it is nice and soft, but when it dries, it gets hard. Why is the gravel a problem and should I be worried about the moss?

What Ryan said. One of the most important things about soil and watering is keeping the roots oxygenated. The rocks will prevent that and will be also encourage root rot.

milehigh_7
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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  bumblebee on Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:21 am

nyxm,

They use white glue (like Elmers) on those rocks. just sit your tree in water, to keep them wet
and the glue soft, and pick those rocks off. After you wash them, just the rocks without the glue
won't hurt anything if you put them back in place.

Libby

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Cascade style ficus?

Post  nyxm on Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:18 pm

I was just searching around through the web about the various styles that apply to a ficus, and I saw this pic. Does anyone have any suggestions about how I could do this, or is it even possible in my case? I thank you in advance.



Just to avoid any issues, I found this image on amazon.com.

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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  bumblebee on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:36 pm

Go for it, nyxm. Ficus is a great first timers tree. You can work with it and pretty much
do like you want to without killing it, as long as you don't overwater the thing and do
keep it outside until temps drop. I might put your tree into a little bigger pot for now,
so the roots have room to grow a little. Your baby bonsai will be stronger for it. Read all
you can here and elsewhere. If you read enough, you'll start to see how much there is
to know about bonsai. You just might get hooked!

Libby

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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  Ryan on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:52 pm

nyxm wrote:I was just searching around through the web about the various styles that apply to a ficus, and I saw this pic. Does anyone have any suggestions about how I could do this, or is it even possible in my case? I thank you in advance.



Just to avoid any issues, I found this image on amazon.com.


I guess it could be possible, but notice how the trunk of that tree leans. The trunk on your tree doesn't have any lean to it, which is why I would avoid that style.

Ryan
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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  nyxm on Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:30 pm

[quote="Ryan"]
I guess it could be possible, but notice how the trunk of that tree leans. The trunk on your tree doesn't have any lean to it, which is why I would avoid that style.[/quote

To achieve the leaning trunk, couldn't I just plant it at an angle when repotting, and use some support wire to keep it there? The picture of the cascade ficus is the first one that I have seen to make me really excited about this plant. Also, I think I would want to do something like the following:


Just an idea of the semi-cascade style that I think I might want to pursue.

And bumblebee, I already am hooked. That's why I've been spending so much time here the last few days. Smile

nyxm
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Give it a go!

Post  milehigh_7 on Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:47 pm

I say give it a go. You will gain some valuable experience regardless of the result. Worst case, you kill it (which honestly will be hard with a ginseng ficus) they are easy to come by and cheap.

milehigh_7
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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  JimLewis on Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:49 pm

You can always do what you want. I usually prefer for the tree to tell me what IT wants to be. I usually agree, but not always.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

Post  nyxm on Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:33 pm

The day has come! This fella has now received his first haircut and wiring job. I'm sooo proud of him! Okay, now that I'm done talking about a plant as if it were my own offspring, what do you all think? Does it have potential to continue training, or should I just give it to some who just doesn't know any better?

The overall effect


A closeup of the wiring


The bottom part


The top part

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Re: Great Deal On A Ficus (Or Is It?)

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