Desperate Neophyte

guava62(5)February 4, 2007

Hello to all:

I live in Nova Scotia Canada BRRRRR !!

I am new to this forum and to the world of Bonsai.

My Mom gave me a Ficus microcarpa from a local grocery store yesterday and I am not sure what to do to make him a happy little guy.

I am dismayed to report that he is in a plastic 8" round pot and covered with glued down pebbles. I am really alarmed as he is probably not very happy in his present state. I currently have him in a west facing window and I have a mister for him.

I am wondering:

1. Do I remove the pebbles and get some apprpriate soil to re pot him in the same container or is this just the wrong time of year to do this? I have no idea how moist or dyr his soil is at present

2.Should i get out and track down some food with the appropriate PNK #s at this time or again bad timing.

I guess I would love a bit of hand holding to know where to start ....he looks spindly with one long leader(trim or not?) and his leaves are longer then they should be I would think. Not much light in the grocery I have to guess.

Some of his leaves are yellowed and some have tears in them( I know a real disaster! )One end bit of branch got half snapped off in the car drive home and Mom tried to tape it together with plant tape.

Am I hopeless here?

I ordered Bonsai Survival Guide by Colin Lewis and we have no Bonsai clubs/organizations in our province.

I appreciate and value any help you could impart. I would love to read more and book suggestions are welcome. I will invest the time for this dear little guy.

Thanks, Aileen

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gnome_in_pa(Zone 6)


It is good that you intend to do some research and although I don't own the book you cite Colin Lewis has a good reputation. By all means remove the glued on rocks ASAP, you will probably have to add some soil to replace the volume that is lost. More than likely you will find a dark, heavy, peat based soil that should be replaced soon with a proper free draining mix. If you search this forum on 'soil' you should find some information, more on this later if you wish.

When to do this: Ficus are tropicals and as such have no real dormant season so theoretically you can re-pot any time. Some recommend doing this type of work when they are in their growth period, in other words summer. By the way there is nothing wrong with a plastic pot.

Pretty much the same with fertilization, since there is no dormancy period fertilization should be carried out year round. The only caveat is that you have no idea how this plant has been handled recently, It may have been fertilized recently or even have slow release fertilizer incorporated into the soil. So I think I would hold off on fertilizer for a while to give yourself time to evaluate the plant.

Being near to a cold window worries me but I understand you may not have much choice right now, perhaps move it away from the glass at night. Consider some form of supplemental lighting so that you can move the plant to a warmer location.

Don't do any pruning now except to remove the broken branch if it fails, which is likely. Follow the link below for more information.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bonsai Hunk

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 2:06PM
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Aileen - email me - I'm in NS too!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 3:33PM
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Hi Norm:
Great ! information ! Wow what beautiful Ficus retusa microcarpa. I am in awe.
I will be pleased to find some suitable soil and get Fergus out from under that dratted glued pebble layer. He really looks odd when compared to the trained beasties. I mean he's about two feet tall if you
go by his leader branch. His trunks? look like mini sweet potatoes in shape thinning toward the crown ? and he has a twist tie like thing holding his trunks together.

I need a lot of reading and studying clearly.

Lucy: I will email you directly :) My email just recently changed so I had to update my profile.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 7:11PM
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