Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

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Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

Post  bmb182 on Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:39 am

Hello All,
I have been voraciously devouring this site for awhile and finally have a question that I really need help with..although it might be "common knowledge" amongst bonsai buffs. I have books and such but need real life experience because the books go from nursery stock to bonafide Bonsai magic in two pages.

I have a small ficus benjamina, probably 7-8 inches with a dense canopy of new leaves. Hopefully the picture will load. My question is, although I believe that spring is the best time to repot but I am not looking to root trim or anything drastic. I just want to provide the best growing medium to gain girth and maturity before I start styling. Can you repot at anytime or should I trust the nursery provided soil and plastic pot until next spring? He's inside on a windowsill during most of the day but I take careful measures to mist while dawn is breaking ( ie getting ready for work) so his leaves won't get burned and he sits by an east facing window which get fairly consistent light although Denver has not been consistent with anything this year scratch (tornado sirens everyday? Hello, where's Toto?!)I move him off the sill at night and place him under my lamp (2 feet away from the window) while I read which I hope provides more light being that on the third floor of an apartment gives me limited options.

I met with a local bonsai guy who scared the life out of me, anything I was going to buy would die so don't purchase the nice trimmers...because supposedly Colorado is a difficult place to grow bonsai in because of its dry climate and elevation, so this Ficus is my act of defiance...Any help would be great and much appreciated.

bmb182
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Re: Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

Post  NeilD3 on Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:27 am

Good for you posting your question.

First, I would first check in with some local bonsai people, the club in Denver perhaps. Here is a link to a newsletter of theirs. It apears that despite the tough conditions people in Denver are growing trees.javascript:emoticonp('Very Happy')
http://www.rockymtnbonsai.org/Newsletters/Feb08.pdf

Second, don't let the pessimist nursery guy deter you. It simply depends on what SPECIES you use as bonsai that may or may not give you trouble.

Sounds like it's growing, or at least somewhat happy, so what you are doing now may be good. But, generally with he AC on, inside your home is likely more dry than outside. If you have a balcony that does not get tortured by the sun all day I would use it.

Water it completely when the soil is dry. If the soil never seems to dry or is just generally very poor, repotting may be a very good idea now.

During the the summer months ficus and other tropical plants can be repotted with ease providing you get them good soil and don't let them sit drying out in the blazing sun immediately after repotting. Taking your plant to a club meeting and asking for some hands on help would be a great idea.

Hope this helps.
Neil

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Re: Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

Post  JimLewis on Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:05 pm

Yes. In Colorado, the time to repot an F. benjamina is in the "warmth" of summer -- NOT in the spring. Your little tree is a tough guy -- witness the abused F. benjamina that grace so many indoor mall aisles, and bank lobbies. You might find a copy of "Ficus: The Exotic Bonsai" by our own Jerry Meislik.

_________________
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: Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

Post  bmb182 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:56 pm

Thank you for your time and advice, I will continue to look for classes to enroll in. Maybe in a year or two I can post all his improvements. Thanks Laughing

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Re: Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

Post  bmb182 on Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:54 pm

This was the ficus about three weeks ago at the time of the original post.


And now repotted for a couple weeks. In hindsight I shouldn't have put him right in the middle but I just want him to grow. Lessons learned.
cat

Thank you for your advice. thumbs up

bmb182
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Re: Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

Post  TpaBayFlyFisher on Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:10 pm

First of all, let me say welcome Ms. bmb. I have found that there are very few in the world of bonsai that will not offer to help a new grower. I also think that the fastest way to learn the art is to find an experinced grower in your area and then spend as much time with them as you can. I also suggest that you read, read, read. I think that Naka's Bonsai Technique I is a great first book. You are lucky in that your area will allow you to grow a great variety of trees-check with your local bonsai buddy befor buying though. Good luck!

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Re: Repotting a nursery Ficus Benjamina

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