Help! My bonsai is going bald

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Help! My bonsai is going bald

Post  lady3emg on Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:56 pm


I have had a Bonsai (I think it is a Ficus Bonsai?) that I bought from IKEA in 2007. It used to have a lot of leaves but as the years go by, more have fallen out and now it is getting so spindly. I have never pruned it before and am a bonsai novice. I have a mini normal ficus tree/plant (also from Ikea) that got all spindly and I pruned all of the branches off and nowthe leaves are growing back nicely. Although I know they are different plants, I was thinking of cutting down the spindly branches on the bonsai ficus the same way I did my mini ficus plant. I have taken pictures of the plant below and posted the links and also a picture of the bottom portion where I cut some spindly branches that point I thought...hmmm I don't know what I am doing I really should ask somebody who knows bonsais which is how I ended up here. Any advice would be helpful as I would love to see the tree happy and healthy again! Thanks so much! Smile Smile x


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Re: Help! My bonsai is going bald

Post  Tim Priest on Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:44 pm

Normally with a ficus if it is loosing leaves it is lack of light and or and most likely it has some kind of sucking insect like spider mites or scale. These need to be taken care of or the tree will die.

Tim Priest

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Re: Help! My bonsai is going bald

Post  Treedwarfer on Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:03 am

there's very little difference between your "ordinary" ficus and your bonsai ficus, save for the size of the pot and the price. If you prune the branches as you did with the other ficus you should get exactly the same result.

If you haven't repotted the bonsai ficus yet, just slip it out of its pot and into a slightly larger container for a while, and give it a good root prune next year, late July, early August, when the weather is hottest (ficus being tropical). It'll grow like crazy afterwards!


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Re: Help! My bonsai is going bald

Post  leatherback on Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:49 am

You *can* trim the "bonsai" ficus just like any other ficus: THere is no fundamental difference, other than being in a smaller container. The othe rdifference is that trimming on bonsai is usually done to also create / keep a specific shape / style to your tree.

However,when your tree is loosigh leaves like it is, trimming may be a bad idea. Best to first let it get back to health, then trim. Check for spider mites on the plant.


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Re: Help! My bonsai is going bald

Post  Xavier de Lapeyre on Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:08 am

Hi lady3emg and welcome to IBC

First of all, in you pictures, there is a beautiful white curtain that looks great for the pictures, but I hope that they are normally open to allow the plant to get the most sunlight as possible Question
Ficus usually requires medium light, meaning it can be grown inside near a good light source or outside in half sun to full sun. If it gets low light [ closed curtains, the far end of a window or inside a shelf ] it might survive but will ultimately loose its leaves and die.
They usually like a moist soil and moist environment [ mist leaves ] but it can survive without those for a long time before showing sights of mistreatment.

Falling leaves can be due to several reasons and is usually an end result.
Did the leaves wilt before falling off?
Did the leaves turn yellow before falling off?
Did the leaves stay green and just started falling off?
Did the leaves have insect bites ?

Anyone of the following might cause the leaves to fall off:
Overwatering [ Leaves may yellow/wilt first then drop ]
Overfertilization [ Leaves may wilt first then drop - this might also cause roots to rot and accelerate leave drop ]
Underfertilization [ Leaves may yellow first then drop ]
Root bound plant [ Leaves may yellow first then drop ]
Insect infestation [ Leaves may yellow first then drop, or leaves might show signs of bites ]
Insufficient light [ Leaves may yellow first then drop ]
Low humidity
Too low temperature
Too high temperature [ Leaves may wilt before dropping ]
Drastic temperature change [ You moved the pot from outside to inside when there was a huge gap in temperature ]
Gas fumes [ Plant near the garage for instance - rather less likely for bonsai... Razz Leaves may yellow first then drop ]

If you have never moved your tree outside or inside etc and if there has been no significant change in temperature over the year, you can eliminate the temperature factors.

In most cases its either one or a combination of those factors :
Overwatering, underfertilization, rootbound, insufficient light, low humidity or insect infestation.

Try to check out the list and see what might be causing it and let us know.

Good luck


Xavier de Lapeyre

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Re: Help! My bonsai is going bald

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