Tiger Bark Ficus Bonsai Care Guide
I will provide a brief description of the species followed by a Ficus Bonsai Care Guide. Tiger Bark Ficus or Ficus Retusa are found throughout Asia. They make an excellent indoor bonsai! This is a tree that is used to competing for light, as a result they will tolerate shade but thrive in full sun. The more light your tree gets the faster it will grow new foliage. These are excellent specimen to train. With proper trimming the leaves can be reduced to 1/3 of their original size. When given the proper amount of humidity these ficus will Develop detailed aerial roots all along the branches and trunk. They give a very old effect to the tree and when they reach the ground they quickly thicken and fuse with other roots and the trunk
Ficus Retusa Bonsai Climate
They make an excellent indoor bonsai! Ficus are tropical plants they will not do well in temperatures below 40F. Outdoors Ficus prefer temperatures below 90F and full sun to part shade.
Tiger Bark Ficus Water Requirements
Ficus Retusa love water. They do well with any soil mix that is free draining but absorbs water well. Such as a 50/25/25 mix of Lava Rock/Perlite/Pine Bark They can be fairly forgiving when learning the watering rhythm but the goal is to bring them into a cycle of wet to dry always avoiding a completely dried soil condition. This will depend on how much humidity is in the air and how much sun the ficus is getting
I use a slow release bonsai fertilizer 10-10-10 every 6 months. Then a liquid based fish fertilizer mixed or any high nitrogen based fertilizer into the water every 2 weeks during growing season.
Pruning And Styling
Ficus Retusa can be cut back with the expectation that they will put new growth on old wood (aka back-budding). They do well when shaped with wire but care should be taken to ensure that with wire as they bend very easily and keep their shape quicker than other species of bonsai especially evergreens such as juniper.
Ficus Bonsai Care is like any tree you have to feel out your tree, listen to what it needs. Ficus Retusa are a forgiving plant and are excellent to learn with.