Ficus Bonsai Progression

This is basically a one year progression of a Ficus Retusa var. Microcarpa I purchased at Wal-Mart last year when I first got into bonsai.  They grow really fast and despite setbacks and my beginner maintenance, it has thrived.

Ficus Retusa Bonsai

Ficus Retusa Bonsai

I spoke about this last year, but after leaving it outside for a few months, birds (or something) stripped all the branches off.  There wasn’t a leaf left on the tree and most branches were broken.  About a week or two later, this is what it looked like.

Ficus Retusa Bonsai

Ficus Retusa Bonsai

And after repotting this spring.  As you can see, the branches are really starting to develop, and in my humble opinion, this is going to be a nice bonsai.  It does need some wiring which I haven’t done on this tree at all.  The branches are very flexible though.  It gets a lot of good compliments from the people that visit me.  People tend to love the S-curve, even though bonsaists hate it.  I don’t know if I’m here for the experts though.

Ficus Retusa Bonsai

Ficus Retusa Bonsai

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Reflections on the Past Winter

My first winter as a bonsai owner was very interesting and very boring at the same time. First, barely anything grows during the winter. My flowering sansaqua camellias were about the only thing to look at when I went outside. At first, I thought this would be a huge letdown, but it actually turned into a positive. With all the rain that takes place and with nothing growing, winter is a time that you can take away from bonsai for a while. They get plenty of water (although I’d still check them every few days) and so you can concentrate on other things in your life. This spring, when everything started growing again, I gained a renewed interest into something that was basically in the back of my mind for the last few months. It was a welcome break and now I’m ready to get back fertilizing and watching things grow. The only items of maintenance for me were:

  1. Make sure everything was watered well when it hadn’t rained in a few days.
  2. Make sure ants weren’t taking up a winter home in my pots.
  3. Protect the more sensitive plants from wind.
  4. Fertilize with a 0-10-10 (balanced is fine too, but I had already bought this) once a month.
  5. Bring in the tropicals for the winter when lows start dropping below 50 degrees.