Ask a Question forum: Not an expert tree owner! Any tips or repotting/soil information?

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Mar 17, 2019 10:37 AM CST

I got my tree around two years ago, and believe I should repot it. The roots are wrapped around the bottom of my pot. I have a Ficus Ginseng (Microcarpa bonsai) tree.
I have read that reporting should happen right after the cold season (beginning of spring) for this plant. My first question is... Is now a good time to do this? The recent weather has been in the 30s, and it's starting to become a high of 40s/50s by next week.
I also read soil should be around pH 6.0 and 6.5. Is this true? I really don't want to do something wrong and harm my bonsai tree, so what soil should I use?
Another thing; pruning root mass. I am really no expert! Is it necessary?
And finally (I promise), how big of a pot should I use. I will attach some images of my tree and pot now. However, I did not repot my bonsai tree, I just set the IKEA container into the pot I bought and put sponge underneath. This was not a good idea though, because the roots have grown into the sponge (and this is another reason why I think I should repot it)! Should I just replant it in the blue pot, or should I get a new bigger one?

I am so so sorry for all the questions! I am just really nervous, and don't want to mess things up. Also, it is sometimes easier to hear information from an 'interaction' rather than a website.
Thank you so much! - Tree Lover! :)
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[Last edited by ahnature - Mar 17, 2019 11:31 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1929556 (1)
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Mar 17, 2019 2:29 PM 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.

It will not harm your plant at all if you cut off the roots that have grown out of the pot and also remove the sponge.

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.

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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. You are not keeping your plant outside so the outside weather and season have no bearing as to when you repot or prune.

If you want a personal interaction you can contact me via my website and click on the Contacts tab.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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