Ficus benjamina or the weeping fig, is one of the most suitable plants for bonsai beginners. Surely you can start your own bonsai with this beautiful plant. Preferably in tropical places like the southern parts of India.
Ficus benjamina suitable for bonsai beginners, why:
- The most important specialty, is its faster ability to adapt to the environment. Especially to the changing climatic conditions.
- With proper caring, we can grow this plant in any part of the world. Usually Ficus plants are shade loving, and hence we can also keep it indoors.
- Compared to other bonsai plants, Ficus benjamina plants have faster growth rate. Hence, it is easy to train them to any of the required bonsai styles.
- Vastu, feng shui etc. recommend keeping ficus bonsai trees in houses, offices etc. for well being and prosperity. Generally, plants from the ficus family produce more oxygen.
- In addition, ficus bonsai trees are wonderful art pieces that can make your home really awesome.
Let us have a look at the simple steps for growing Ficus benjamina bonsai.
1. Propagation of Ficus benjamina.
Usually, ficus plants are cultivated through stem cuttings. You can use cuttings of about four inches length for this. Always remember to select healthy mother plants.
Also you can buy saplings directly from sellers.
2. How to grow.
Like any other bonsai plants, we can start growing our Ficus benjamina in a training pot. An ordinary terracotta pot is enough for this.
3. Potting medium.
You can use a potting medium with River sand, Vermicompost and Crushed bricks in the ratio 1:1:1.
Fill two third of the pot with this medium and plant the cutting. Keep the pot in partial sunlight and water the plant regularly. Avoid over watering as it may cause decaying the plant.
You can grow the plant in the same pot for about two years.
Meanwhile, new branches begin to sprout from the main trunk.
You can start pruning your Ficus benjamina plant when the branches grow longer.
While pruning, retain the required branches according to the style of your choice. Surely you can try any bonsai style such as Formal or Informal upright, Cascade, Semi cascade, slanting, Literati, Broom etc.
Also remove unnecessary branches using a sharp cutting shears. But never remove all the leaves from the branches, as it may cause the plant to die.
5. Wiring your Ficus benjamina bonsai.
The next step is wiring. Usually soft aluminium or copper wires are used for wiring bonsai plants. Gently wind the wires on the branches and bend it according to your idea. Always take care against causing damage to the branches while wiring.
6. Root Pruning.
As in the case of branches, root pruning is also important. Take the plant out of the pot, and remove 1/3 of the roots. You can use a sharp knife or shears for this. After root pruning, replant your Ficus benjamina with fresh potting medium.
7. Re-potting your Ficus benjamina bonsai.
When the trunk attains a thickness of about 1 inch, you can transfer the plant to an original bonsai pot. Use potting medium in the same ratio as stated above. Keep the plant for about fifteen days in shade after re-potting.
Add diluted NPK or organic manure at intervals of 10 to 15 days.
Indeed, aerial roots are the main attraction of Ficus bonsai trees. Generally the development of aerial roots depends on the environment in which the plant grows. Hence it is better to keep the plant in humid conditions, preferably outdoors. Moreover, the aerial roots grow faster in rainy seasons.
Try to start growing your own Ficus benjamina bonsai. Definitely it will become a beautiful art piece after two or three years.