Ask a Question forum: Ficus ginseng bonsai

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Louisville Ky
cherylmordonez
Mar 16, 2019 6:33 PM CST
How do you decide whether or not to reply this plant? What signs do you look for?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Mar 17, 2019 8:31 AM CST
Plants that are grown in the bonsai form are meant to stay in the same small pot indefinitely. Bonsai is the miniaturization of plants that normally grow very large as trees. This is an art form that requires a small pot, lots of regular pruning and in some instances root pruning. Although often recommended, I have found that root pruning is not only complicated but also unnecessary. Simply keep the plant in its pot, water it regularly and prune back stems regularly.

Below are photos of a Ginseng bonsai that has been in the same pot for over ten years, is kept on a sunny north windowsill and is watered thoroughly every week. It has also been pruned many times to keep it at that same size and shape.


Thumb of 2019-03-17/WillC/cbd573




Thumb of 2019-03-17/WillC/7ab840

If you would rather not keep it as a bonsai, then go ahead and move it into a somewhat larger pot and stop pruning it. It can then be treated like most any Ficus potted plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Will Chen
New York City (Zone 7b)
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willchenwillbe
Mar 17, 2019 3:17 PM CST
WillC said:
If you would rather not keep it as a bonsai, then go ahead and move it into a somewhat larger pot and stop pruning it. It can then be treated like most any Ficus potted plant.


Just what I was curious about!!! I saw a bonsai ficus benjamina on etsy with a relatively thick bark and wondered if I could grow it into a taller tree

This one:
Thumb of 2019-03-17/willchenwillbe/9330a4

(I dislike bonsai with exposed thick roots and disfigured barks, they feel very cramped and too old-fashioned...I know it's art but.....can't appreciate things out of them....)

[Last edited by willchenwillbe - Mar 17, 2019 3:24 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 17, 2019 3:34 PM CST
Plants being sold as bonsai are usually higher priced that the same plant not bonsai'd. You may want to find a small Ficus bengimina that hasn't been pruned to a shape.

You will have to prune any Ficus grown indoors eventually because they grow too large, even in a pot.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Mar 18, 2019 12:59 PM CST
@willchenbe - the one from Etsy has not been grown or trained in the bonsai form. You can easily grow it to a much larger tree provided you have a really sunny location to locate it and are patient as it will take a number of years for it to get very large.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Will Chen
New York City (Zone 7b)
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willchenwillbe
Mar 18, 2019 8:23 PM CST
WillC said:@willchenbe - the one from Etsy has not been grown or trained in the bonsai form. You can easily grow it to a much larger tree provided you have a really sunny location to locate it and are patient as it will take a number of years for it to get very large.


Thanks again Will!

I see how Etsy sellers can be very misleading...it is labeled a bonsai....... Angry

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Mar 19, 2019 8:37 AM CST
I guess Etsy as determined that the word "bonsai" will promote sales! It could be converted to a bonsai form, but that would require substantial pruning of the stems and roots and repotting it into a much smaller shallow bonsai planter.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Mar 19, 2019 10:42 AM CST
Ginseng rooted ficus is a terrible tree to try and train for small pot. Look at other figs.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 20, 2019 12:59 PM CST
Anytime a plant is allowed a bit more room to grow its roots, then it will certainly grow bigger.

As for bonsai, I love them! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. Choosing which type of bonsai to grow and understanding their needs is of course essential. I have a Ficus microcarpa 'Ginseng' which I got years ago from Ikea.
The only change I made is to make the media grittier, but other than that I water it at least once a week. Since it forms a caudex, I know I should be mindful of keeping it too moist at root level, so I made the media grittier.

It is not like Adeniums that go to sleep in winter, but it certainly actively grows when conditions are warmer. Adeniums though like as much direct sun and hotter conditions up to triple digits, but in those conditions got to be watered more frequently. Ficus microcarpa 'Ginseng' needs just ample light, and not too much direct sun, regular watering when outdoors. I position it outdoors in filtered light area during the warm months, so it won't get dry roasted here since we have very poor humidity levels. Then in winter both Ficus and Adeniums hide indoors for overwintering.

I am just waiting for conditions to stabilize outdoors, got to have at least 50F overnight temps more consistently for both my Ficus and the Adeniums.
[Last edited by tarev - Mar 20, 2019 1:20 PM (+)]
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