Bonsai care? Help!

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Mary Bishop, Aug 25, 2020.

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  1. Mary Bishop

    Mary Bishop New Member

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    My boyfriend bought this small bonsai for me and while it was a nice gesture I am a newbie to plant care. So, I thought oh no, those are hard to take care of!
    I read up on them so I have it outside in East facing sun. I am trying to figure out the watering. The store covered everything with both moss and rocks, so it’s difficult to feel whether the soil is dry/moist.
    I’ve had the plant for about 3 weeks. At first it was inside and it dropped a lot of leaves. But then I read more on bonsai liking wind and sun so it is now outside.
    Also, I noticed on the top this morning that one leaf is starting to turn black?! Yikes....
    Please help!!!
    Also, the tag doesn’t say anything about species of plant.
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Mary Bishop good afternoon Mary and Welcome to the forum, there's an old saying, 'I don't know, but I know a man that does', I have copied in a member @AlainK who is a Bonsai specialist. He rarely visits the Hort forum, hence my reason for linking this with him.
    I am certain he can point you in the right direction.
     
  3. Mary Bishop

    Mary Bishop New Member

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    Thank you so much! I appreciate it. This is my very first post in this forum and I had no idea how to post so hopefully I will learn how to post in the correct forum next time. I appreciate you copying the member :)
     
  4. Mary Bishop

    Mary Bishop New Member

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    I wanted to add that there's no drainage hole in the bottom of the container either. Should I make one? The container feels like ceramic so I would need to carefully make a hole with a tile bit and water... oh dear. I need some help with this!
     
  5. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Mary Bishop, before you get a reply from a Bonsai specialist, can I just say 'YES' it must have good drainage. The roots will rot if it does not drain well.
     
  6. Mary Bishop

    Mary Bishop New Member

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    Ok, I tried a regular bit and made a hole. I actually think it might be a sunburn of some kind? Because now there are more black spots. They weren't there before I put it out in the sun... This is why I went to this forum instead of plain google because there are so many resources out there. I also have no idea the species of the plant, who knows, maybe it's not even a bonsai?!?

    Now it is inside near a filtered east facing window where it seemed to be happier and has a drain hole.

    Also, what is the consensus of bottom watering? I have heard a lot about that.
     
  7. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    Ficus retusa. I suspect, but not entirely sure.
     
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  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  9. Mary Bishop

    Mary Bishop New Member

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    Oh dear. Would you happen to know anything about the care of this? I am a complete newbie to plant care in general!
     
  10. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    It definitely needs a container with drainage holes, and yes it's what is called "Ficus ginseng".

    Ficus are semi-tropical species, at least those for bonsai. They can fare well in some parts of the US, outdoors like in Cal. or Fl. You can even see Ficus in Sicily, as street trees, and there are some huge specimens in botanical gardens (I think the climate is harder in the winter than in Florida, they can even have an occasional shower of snow)

    Have a look at this page, it's not exactly the same kind of Ficus, but all the tips will apply to the one you have :

    The Chinese Banyan - Ficus Microcarpa

    A picture of a "Banyan" in Palermo, Sicily, April 2013 :

    IMG_0251.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
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  11. Mary Bishop

    Mary Bishop New Member

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    Oh wow! This is awesome information. Do you think the container it came in is okay? I did drill a hole in the bottom for draining. But I can't even see/feel the soil as it is covered with moss and rocks. Should I expose some of that? I have to dig down a lot to even feel whether the soil is moist/dry.
     
  12. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    It's hard to say, hundreds miles away, from photos. I'm not that familiar with potted ficus, I live in USDA zone 8/9ish and all my trees are outside, even in the winter where it can get as low as -10° C (14 F, which is think is a low temperature you'll never get). 0° C is when water begins to freeze, 100°C is when it begins to boil.

    Here, it would be a bit late to repot such a tree. It's really impossible to give yopu sompe sound advice without seeing the tree in "real life", sorry.

    If you put it outside, keep it in dappled shade and don't over-water it. If the temps don't go below 5°C (41F), you can leave it outside, and get it accustomed to more sun as the days shorten, but below 3-5° C, it's better to put in in an unheated room, above freezing temps.

    The pot : as long as the soil is not soaking wet, it's OK. The rest is a question of "aesthetics" (shape, colour,etc.)

    Ficus in general like to have the soil get somewhat dry before the next watering.
     
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