The Ficus Benjamina bonsai is a hardy variety of bonsai that easily adapts to changing environments. This bonsai has broad leaves that grow from stems at the top of the plant, making it easy to keep pruned. The Ficus Benjamina is a dwarf variety of the species and is known as:
- Java Fig
- Benjamina Fig
- Dwarf Ficus Tree
- Weeping Fig
One of the best features of the Ficus Benjamina is that it’s a good choice for a novice learning about the species. The leaves of the Ficus Benjamina are small, and the roots are strong, so it’s easier to train a beginner in the care of the tree. The Ficus bonsai is a species native to Australia, south and southeast Asia.
The Ficus Benjamina needs protection from the cold and freezing temperatures. Since it’s a tropical species, the bonsai is accustomed to a hot and humid climate and grows well under these conditions. If you live in an area where the climate is tropical or sub-tropical, you can usually allow your bonsai to grow outdoors.
Growing A Ficus Benjamina Bonsai Outdoors
Although it’s a hardy plant, the Ficus Benjamina will only grow well in USDA zones ten B and eleven. The tree gets its nickname “weeping fig” because when it grows outside, the branches get so long, they extend nearly to ground level. If you live in one of the USDA zones in which the tree will thrive, you can grow a beautiful tree that may reach sixty feet at maturity with a canopy that extends the same width.
In its early stages, the bonsai requires at least six hours a day of sunshine. The soil should be kept moist rather than soggy. Mulch should be used if there’s a threat of frost when the tree is young. The mulch should be placed around the base of the tree and extend out to the edges of the canopy. Watch for signs of insects and spray if necessary.
The Indoor Ficus Benjamina
If you live in an area where the temperature drops below sixty degrees on a regular basis or for an extended period, your bonsai should grow indoors. It’s essential for the plant to remain moist. If the soil is too dry, the plant can be adversely affected. The Ficus should be planted in a pot large enough to allow for growth. The container should be a design that allows excess water to drain fo\rom the bottom. When the soil is dry to within an inch or two from the top, the plant should be watered. Fertilise once a month during growing season.
Characteristics of the Ficus Benjamina
The bonsai must grow in such a way that the general characteristics and appearance of the tree aren’t affected. To maintain the standards of the tree, you should follow the guidelines for care of the bonsai including pruning. The Ficus species is an evergreen with lush, broad leaves. The tree bark is a light colored gray which is smooth and branches out at the top forming a canopy. The canopy has pendant-like branches and oval, shiny leaves. The leaves droop down which is how the tree gets its name Weeping Fig. When the bonsai begins to grow, the roots are fragile but become stronger as the tree matures.
Special Care of the Ficus Benjamina Bonsai
You must be very careful when you’re watering your Ficus Benjamina. Over a period, you’ll get to know when the plant needs water. As a tropical plant, the bonsai does best when the soil is moist but not extremely wet. The soil should be well drained. If the bonsai is given too much water, the leaves will start to drop off the plant. You should check the soil each day to make sure it has enough moisture.
The bonsai likes full sunlight and grows well in direct sunlight, but can take some shade. An occasional misting will help the tree to grow better. During the growing season, the bonsai should be given a fertilizer that’s well balanced so it will grow properly.
The season when the bonsai is growing is when feeding should begin. Usually, feeding starts in the spring. During the fall, it’s recommended that your bonsai not be given fertilizer. You should transfer the bonsai to a larger pot once every two years during the spring. A tree that grows faster may have to be transferred to a larger container on a yearly basis.