'little gold angel' ficus b. repot to gritty now?

howelbama(7 NJ)October 29, 2011

Hi all,

Just got a.nice "little gold angel" ficus b. from Lowes. I have gritty ready to go, should I repot now or wait? If not now, when? I read the ficus b. thread and tapla says june through august.

I plan on bonsai'ing and don't know where to begin.

It's going to live indoors under a 65watt 7000k compact fluoro flood and fed fp.

thanks for any tips.

p.s. I would like to take cuttings and make a small clustered forest if you will :)

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

So what month is this? Lol - I'm just poking you in the ribs like a friend would before he weighs in. ;-)

I just helped Kris on another thread, so I hope she sees yours and is listening in here, too.

Small trees are a high% of dynamic mass (100%?). The % of dynamic mass determines in part the tree's ability to resist stress & strain. Another way to put it that's easy to put into perspective is young plants have a greater will to live and will tolerate more indignities than older plants. That you have a good light set-up sort of extends your window of opportunity. While it's still probably not the best option, I think you could repot now.

If Kris is listening in, and what I said seems to possibly bear on what I said in the other thread, feel free to reopen the conversation and we'll look at your options again.

Where to begin to produce a bonsai from a young plant ................. that requires more than one book. Bonsai is a 4-dimensional art form, with "life' being the 4th dimension. The purpose varies by person, but I suppose I'd settle on personal satisfaction as its true purpose. The goal is different than purpose. The goal is to, through the use of a wide and ever expanding variety of techniques, to manipulate a tree (or plant) into something we might find that has been living in nature for a very long time. IOW - we want to build an old-looking tree that looks natural.

I think we grow into the goal as we progress in the art. I don't think it's unrealistic to assume that the beginner's goals vary significantly from the goals of the more experienced growers. If you were experienced, we'd understand already that you need to let the plant grow unencumbered until the trunk is thick enough to look natural supporting a tree of the ht you have envisioned. There are 'rules' in bonsai that help you learn how to break them. ;-) Some of the rules involve proportions. For example, a perfect bonsai will have a trunk base thickness about 1/6 of the o/a ht of the tree above the soil line. That would mean if you want a 12" high bonsai, you should wait until you have a 2" thick trunk and then start building it.

This is unrealistic for beginners for a number of reasons. Beginners just want to get a tree into a bonsai pot and enjoy admiring and taking care of it a. I applaud any who make the effort to build a relationship with their plants, and bonsai can be particularly rewarding in that regard. You'll have as much fun & satisfaction from your new commitments as I from mine.

How about if we take a look at it before we plot a course that gets you to what you have envisioned for the plant in the shortest time while still safeguarding the trees vitality. Remember always that when you're working with bonsai, you're on tree time, which can be much more enjoyable (and considerably different) than people time while you're immersed in it. If you don't already know what I mean, I hope some day you get to find out; but while you're on tree time, you'll find that patience is part of the equation. You'll work & wait, work on the tree, then wait for it to recover so you can take the next step that brings it along on the journey to the destination you've selected for it.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 12:06PM
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I should have mentioned this but I have a 23 watt (=100wat) bulb over my ficus, in addition to sitting on a south facing window.

On a side note, I noticed you wrote "she", I'm actually a "he" haha. My name gets folks confused all the time so no worries!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 2:34PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Al, thanks for all you advice as always

I understand my bonsai endeavor will a long term goal...I already own a beautiful timneh african grey parrot, that I will probably have to put in my will lol :) So, I understand the long term commitment and patience aspects.

What would you recommend as a good starting point? books, etc...


    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 3:48PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Sorry, Kris. ;-)

I think a surprisingly good starting point would be the out of print book by Sunset Press called (what else) "Bonsai" by Susan Lang. Look for the 2003 edition, ISBN 0-376-03046-1. You'll be able to find it used, or perhaps new on Ebay, or maybe from a closeout bookseller. The other books I treasure are John Naka's set of books, "Bonsai Techniques I & II", and Deb Koreshoff's "Bonsai - Its Art, Science, History and Philosophy". Also essential to your journey are a good working knowledge of soil science and a command of the physiology of woody plants. For the physiology part I heartily recommend the texts by Kozlowski and Pallardy, "The Physiology of Woody Plants" and "Growth Control in Woody Plants" (the later 2 are not inexpensive texts, but if you look, you can find them used, in good shape.)


    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 8:08PM
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