Ficus benghalensis (Banyan) bonsai learn to grow and care


Ficus benghalensis (Banyan) bonsai, that you can try to grow and care very easily. Bonsai is the miniature form of trees that exactly resemble those grow naturally. Definitely we can make beautiful bonsai trees through careful training. Mainly at different stages like pruning, wiring, repotting etc.

Importance of bonsai

All other art forms reach completion, while the artist finishes his work. Whereas, making a bonsai is a never ending process. Because we have to care the plant throughout its life. This is the reason why we consider bonsai trees as living art forms.

Ficus benghalensis bonsai Ficus benghalensis bonsai
Ficus benghalensis bonsai

Literally the Japanese word bonsai means planted in a container. Really it is derived from the Chinese term penzai.

Truly, this wonderful art form was started in China centuries ago.

But gradually became popular in almost all parts of the world. Especially in Japan, where people began to make it as a profitable business.

Surely we can say that it is one of the best gifts to our dear ones on special occasions.

People from many parts of the world believe that keeping bonsai trees bring good luck and harmony.

Not only Japan and China, but this art form has become very common in almost all south Asian countries.

Surprisingly certain ancient Indian texts refer this as Vaman vriksha.Vaman is the fifth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, in the form of a dwarf boy. Vriksha is the Sanskrit word for tree.

Bonsai trees in general and plant selection

Generally it is a common practice to select trees, that are indigenous to the particular climates. For example, plants with needle like leaves are suitable for bonsai in places with colder climates.

Likewise we can find deciduous bonsai trees with seasonal colour changing leaves. Mostly in Japan, Australia, European countries etc.

In a like manner there are a lot of plants that are ideal for making bonsai in tropical climates, preferably India.

Best trees for bonsai in India and other tropical places

Trees that belong to the Ficus family, Tamarind, Jade, Schefflera, Casuarina, etc a few examples. In addition, there are flowering bonsai trees like Bougainville, Ixora, Fukien tea tree, Crepe jasmine etc.

Usually we use Ficus benghalensis, Ficus ginseng microcarpa, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus Bodhi, Ficus alii etc. for making bonsai. Besides, Ficus benjamina is ideal for bonsai beginners.

Simple tips for making Ficus benghalensis (banyan) bonsai trees

Certainly Ficus benghalensis (banyan) is one of the best trees for making bonsai. Conspicuous trunk, hanging roots etc. are the most favourable factors.

The Ficus benghalensis bonsai shown in the pic below, is about 30 years old.

Propagation

Through stem cuttings we can propagate Ficus benghalensis. Especially like all other plants that belong to the Ficus family. First collect cuttings of a length of about six inches from good mother plants. Particularly those are healthy and without having any kind of diseases.

Within a period of two to three weeks, new leaves begin to sprout.

Ficus benghalensis bonsai saplings can be developed from stem cuttings
New saplings developed from stem cuttings

Then plant these cuttings in river sand about two inches deep. Never forget to water the plant cuttings daily.

Training your Ficus benghalensis bonsai trees

Indeed you can choose a shallow pot for this.

Transfer the saplings to the training pot after two or three months.

A good well drained medium is essential to grow your bonsai.  Hence fill the pot with a medium with the following ratio as stated below.

In order to prevent drainage of the potting medium, put  crushed bricks as the bottom layer.

Preparation of potting medium for ficus benghalensis (banyan) bonsai

  • Garden soil – 30%
  • River sand – 30%
  • Dried and powdered cow dung or any organic manure – 20%
  • Bone meal and neem seed powder – 10%
  • Perlite or coco peat – 10%

Either you can make this medium by mixing the ingredients together or buy it directly from stores.

Keep the pot in shade for a few days and then gradually move to bright sunlight.

Let it grow in the same pot for two to three years.

Always remember to water the plant daily. Additionally fertilise it with diluted liquid organic manure at regular intervals.

Pinching and pruning

Meanwhile you can remove extra buds using your nails or small knives.

Ficus benghalensis bonsai after pruning

At this stage, it is necessary to decide which branches are to be retained. Therefore, remove all other branches using a sharp scissors or pruning shears.

Wiring your ficus benghalensis (banyan) bonsai tree

Wiring is the process through which you can bend the branches to the required shapes or styles.

For this, you can use soft aluminium or copper wires. Using your aesthetic sense twist the branches gently.

Never forget to take extreme care while bending the branches. Because it has the tendency to break easily, with careless handling.

Proper caring makes your ficus benghalensis (banyan) bonsai tree to grow well in the training pot.

Repotting

Of course, it is very essential to repot your bonsai at intervals of two or three years. Undoubtedly it helps to retain the health and beauty of your bonsai.

Repotting is the process of planting your bonsai in fresh medium. Preferably after taking it out of the pot along with the medium and roots.

For this, take the plant out of the pot along with the medium. After that remove the medium and about 1/3 of the roots.

Finally plant your bonsai in the same pot, after filling the medium as stated above.

Keep the pot in shade for a few days and water regularly.

A few years training and careful attention will make your Ficus benghalensis, an amazing art piece.

Transfer the Ficus benghalensis (banyan) to original bonsai pot

At last, you can transfer the plantbb to an original bonsai pot. Ordinarily, wide and shallow pots are used for this purpose. There are beautiful bonsai pots in different sizes and shapes.

Before transferring the bonsai, put pieces of aluminium or copper wires through the holes. Furthermore, cover the holes with pieces of wire mesh.

Take the bonsai out of the training pot, and remove extra roots if necessary. Further place the bonsai in the pot, and tie it tightly so that it can remain straight.

Fill the pot with the same medium as stated above, leaving about one inch space from the top.

Now your Ficus benghalensis bonsai is ready, and you can place it either indoors or at any place.