Ficus Bonsai: create a masterpiece of a home garden with your own hands
Gardeners of the Land of the Rising Sun adopted the art of growing bonsai from the masters of India and China.
Since the VI century, when wandering monks brought miniature trees to Japan, they improved the methods of forming bonsai and created 15 directions. The ideal material for creating bonsai are different types of ficus.
Popular types of ficus for bonsai
Theoretically, a bonsai can be created from any evergreen tree species that grows in the area where you live. However most often for bonsai take ficus. Why is this so?
The fact is that ficus has everything necessary for the competent formation of a miniature tree: a strong stem, a powerful root system with many branches, a beautiful bark texture and a high growth rate. What kinds of ficus species are suitable for bonsai?
Large specimens of Bengal ficus adorn the corridors and offices of offices, government agencies and shopping centers.
The original form of this type of ficus banyan tree gives an adult tree an exotic appearance: aerial roots hang from its branches. In nature, the bright green leaves of Bengal ficus reach 20 cm in length.
Interesting! The airy root system can also be seen in a miniature copy of the ficus, if you correctly approach its formation.
In nature, Benjamin's ficus is an impressive tree up to 25 meters high with beautiful white-green leaves. It has an interesting dark gray bark, fantastically drawn with transverse strokes.
The leaves are glossy, oblong-oval in shape, arranged alternately. For bonsai, as a rule, dwarf species of ficus are taken and mini-trees 4–12 cm tall are obtained from them.
In the wild, the ficus of Karika is a deciduous fruit tree, better known as fig. Grows up to 10 m.
The plant has beautiful curly leaves with a rough surface and very tasty fruits. It makes a delicious bonsai tree, which is highly valued precisely for the original shape of the leaves.
A large epiphytic plant, the ficus of Microcarpus admires the intricately interwoven root system hanging from the branches.
The plant has a luxurious crown of wide dark green leaves of a lanceolate shape. It has a smooth gray bark, requiring careful handling due to its subtlety.
A species of ficus, most often used to form a mini-tree.
Gardeners are attracted to his neatly woven crown, adorned with small dark green leaves. In nature, a tree grows up to 10–20 meters.
This species of ficus has fleshy leaves and aerial roots. Growth of an adult tree can reach 20 meters.
The lush dark green crown harmoniously combines with the gray-yellow color of the bark. From ficus blunt, a magnificent bonsai is obtained.
It is interesting! In the wild, a blunted ficus behaves like a carnivorous plant: it braids roots around neighboring trees and strangles them.
Ginseng, or ficus ginseng, is one of the most bizarre species that attracts attention with its root shape. They are very similar to the roots of the famous ginseng, from where the second name of the plant came from.
Ficus Ginseng Bonsai is a fantastic sight even in the photo.
Ficus rust red
Low, up to 4 meters, the tree grows in Australia.
The ficus got its name because of the rusty-red color of the lower plate of the leaf. Forms an airy root system. Rounded glossy leaves are painted dark green.
How to grow a bonsai from ficus Benjamin?
Growing a Japanese miracle from the ficus of Benjamin is a difficult task, but fascinating. Before a small masterpiece appears on your windowsill, you will have to learn a lot.
Remember that the Japanese from the VI century are engaged in the art of creating mini-trees. A variety of forms, secrets of content, how to care - all this needs to be studied and mastered.
Let's find out together how to grow a bonsai from the ficus of Benjamin with your own hands.
Pot and soil
If you have already met with miniature trees, you probably noticed that the containers in which they sit are low, but wide. It is such a pot that you should buy to get bonsai from Benjamin's ficus.
The soil for planting can be purchased at the store, the plant is suitable soil for ficus and palm trees. When preparing the soil yourself, you need to take sand, clay and humus in equal parts.
Good lighting is the key to the proper development of a tiny tree in your Japanese garden on the windowsill. However, the flow of light should be moderate, without direct sunlight. Many types of bonsai feel great away from windows, but too much sunlight can harm the plant.
If the ficus willingly sprouts, then the place for it is chosen correctly.
The temperature regime is one of the care options to which the plant is very picky. It does not tolerate sudden changes in temperature. The optimum limit is 18 ... 25 ° C. Anything higher or lower than these indicators negatively affects bonsai. With frequent sharp changes, the tree dies.
In nature, Benjamin's ficus grows in tropical rainforests. To ensure natural moisture, the plant can be placed in the kitchen or in the bathroom, where there is a window. If you do not want to keep it in these rooms, then get ready for the fact that you will have to spray it several times a day.
In warm times, when the period of cold dawns has passed, the ficus can be taken out to the balcony or loggia. A small tree loves fresh air, the main thing is to properly organize the light regime for it and provide air humidification.
Home care includes watering. For a moisture-loving plant, it should be plentiful, but infrequent. Be sure to check the condition of the soil: if it is wet, then the irrigation mode is built correctly. It must not be allowed to dry out.
To water the tree, use a watering can or strainer so that recesses do not form on the surface of the soil. If you are planning a long trip, put a bonsai pot in a container of water so that the liquid does not overflow over its edge.
Planting in poor soil and abundant watering create a lack of nutrients, so the plant must be fed. The first portion of fertilizer is introduced in the spring when the plant leaves hibernation.
Organic species are used, which include nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in a ratio of 12: 6: 6. The feeding regimen is once every two weeks.
Ficus bonsai is transplanted once every two years. After reaching the age of five, the transplant is performed once every 5 years. How to perform the operation:
- After choosing a plant from a pot, gently brush off the ground, clean the roots and cut them to 1/3 of the length.
- Remove dead parts of the root system.
- It remains to transplant ficus into a new pot according to the scheme adopted for planting.
Video on how to properly transplant Bonsai:
Rooting shoots is carried out in two ways, which are used for all types of ficus:
- In an adult, a plant is cut off a branch, lowered into a container of water and placed on a windowsill. Water is changed every 2-3 days until the branch gives root. Transplanted to the ground when the roots grow by 2 cm.
- A branch cut for rooting is planted in a container with soil (sand, leaf soil and peat in a ratio of 1: 1: 1). Periodically watered. The escape takes root in the 3rd week and later.
Styles of miniature trees vary in trunk shape. There are 6 main forms of bonsai:
- Moyogi or Moyogi. Among specialists, it is called an informal vertical style. The trunk of the plant grows directly, but at the same time takes the form of the Latin letter S.
- Shakkan, or oblique style. The tree grows at an angle of 60–80 °, it seems to stretch toward the sun. Important detail: the first branch of the plant is located against the inclination of the trunk.
- Hokidati, or broom. A straight trunk with a branched apex.
- Shokan. This style is characterized by a bifurcation of the trunk.
- Grove. A bonsai is a composition of several plants, often of a different kind.
- Tokkan. Straight trunk with perfect retraction. This means that it tapers smoothly from the roots to the crown.
Attention! Beginners in growing bonsai should start with the Tokkan style.
Planting and tree formation
So, the pot is selected, the shoot is rooted, we proceed to its planting. To get a classic bonsai, you must strictly adhere to the stages of its formation. The step-by-step process will look like this:
- Preparing the habitat, filling the pot with the necessary elements.
- Root distribution.
- Giving the trunk a certain position.
- Crown formation.
The bottom of the pot is covered with a grid with a cell of 2-3 mm, first sprinkled with coarse river sand (5 mm), then 3 cm of substrate. A stone is placed on the prepared substrate, a shoot is placed on it and the roots are distributed on the surface.
Sprinkle with a small amount of soil to form a hill. It is ensured that between the top of the pot and the ground there should be at least 1 cm, and the root neck does not go beyond the level of the substrate. Tamp the soil and water the plant. The water collected in the pan is drained.
How to grow a tree in a certain style? The trunk of the future bonsai can be formed in two ways: garter and the use of wire construction.
In the first method, the branch is bent and tied to the base of the plant. In the second case, a wire structure of a given shape is taken and the tape is wound onto the plant along its entire length.
Attention! When using wire, make sure that the electrical tape does not adhere to the branches and the trunk too tightly, otherwise the plant may dry out.
How to make a beautiful crown? To give the crown of the ficus Benjamin a magnificent shape, they resort to pinching the upper kidney and pruning the side branches. Approximate pruning pattern: 4 out of 8 grown leaves are trimmed along with a branch.
Trimming is from the bottom up. To successfully complete the operation, stock up on mini-tools (secateurs, a sharp knife, clippers). The place of pruning should be sprinkled with charcoal.
How to care for bonsai from ficus Mikrokarp and Ginseng?
Ficus Microcarp is unusually hardy and tenacious. Its powerful shoots pierce the pavement and the roof of multi-storey buildings. When caring for this species of ficus, you need to monitor air humidity and lighting.
In winter, he needs artificial lighting, providing the plant with daylight hours of 14-16 hours. This ficus does not like drafts.
The crown of the tree is formed for 3-4 years of growth. By this time, it reaches a height of 50 cm. To ensure that during active growth the bonsai does not exceed this indicator, pruning is done.
At the age of three, Ginseng ficus can discard foliage. Plants are common for this type of plant, so don't be scared. A little time will pass, and the crown of the tree will again be decorated with delicate green leaves. If the leaves of the tree began to turn yellow, then he needs top dressing.
Important! Ginseng ficus is a moderately poisonous plant, so it must be kept out of the reach of small children and pets.
Possible problems with growing bonsai
Despite its miniature size, a bonsai needs competent care no less than other plants on your windowsill. It is important for him and the location, and lighting, and top dressing. How to properly care for a bonsai from ficus Benjamin?
Turning a regular ficus into a bonsai does not cause much difficulty. However, beginners may be faced with the fact that the plant begins to lose leaves. As a rule, the root of the problem must be sought in the care errors.
Picky to the state of the soil, the plant reacts poorly to both underfilling and overflow. The problem is easily fixed by adjusting the soil moisture.
The reason for the loss of leaves may be the presence of a tree in a draft, and direct sunlight. Scrupulous observance of the rules of care is a guarantee of the successful development and growth of your miniature miracle.
Watch the whole series about creating a bonsai from ficus Benjamin: