Beginner advice for a ginseng-bonsai rescue

boggy

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Hello everyone!

Me and my wife just got my hands on a random bonsai from a person who didn't have time to take care of it, I believe it is ginseng bonsai. We watched multiple videos about how to take care of it so this shouldn't be an issue, however - we can't figure out what to aim for with it's structure with just one sad branch.. How would you approach this? Is it possible to manipulate it to have multiple branches from just one? We'd love to hear your opinion.

I work with graphical design so I'm pretty curious how to turn this into something more appealing ..or maybe just ditch this one and get a bonsai that has more branches? This one looks like a sad headless chicken :)) So we're not sure..

Thank you!
 

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DonovanC

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Yes and yes. Also please fill in your location so people can help better.
Yes you can turn it into something more appealing, and yes you should get another with more branches. This is Ficus microcarpa “Ginseng” - Ginseng is the cultivar name, the species is Ficus microcarpa. If you get another ficus, I would look for a “Tigerbark” - same species, different cultivar. And in my opinion, a much nicer cultivar. They’re usually easy to come by.
It’ll take some time but this can turn into something. Don’t worry about the canopy, for now - The Headless Chicken is a ways away from that. With bonsai, one often works from the bottom up - so start with the roots.
Late spring, if it were mine, I’d chop the roots off completely (not the aerial roots) and burry the trunk pretty deep (3-4inches) in some bonsai soil and set it outside. But only if the tree is growing healthy and vigorous.
FCB27D42-9193-4F18-88F9-1FB5859E3AA0.jpeg
You would do this to establish a root base - you want all of your roots coming from one plane. Doing this cut will give you roots growing from the cut point. Then after that, let it grow and get bushy and out of control.It needs plenty of sun and with proper soil during the summer you’ll probably be watering once a day or more.
 

boggy

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We're growing in Eastern Europe, this is a graph of the amount of sunlight here, it is going down quite a bit in winters while getting dry as well.
Capture.JPG
At least it will be by the window facing south completely exposed to sunlight when there is some.
Room temperature is around 22-25°C or 72-77F°


Thank you DonovanC for the quick response,

I guess we'll then see how bonsai will feel after the winter and then figure out about the root cutting.

Tigerbark definitely looks attractive. I was thinking about a coniferous bonsai as it reminds me of pines growing here calmly by the seashore.
But I suppose we will practice with Headless Chicken here while doing some research about which would be the right choice for us.. :)


boggy
 

DonovanC

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We're growing in Eastern Europe, this is a graph of the amount of sunlight here, it is going down quite a bit in winters while getting dry as well.
View attachment 329108
At least it will be by the window facing south completely exposed to sunlight when there is some.
Room temperature is around 22-25°C or 72-77F°


Thank you DonovanC for the quick response,

I guess we'll then see how bonsai will feel after the winter and then figure out about the root cutting.

Tigerbark definitely looks attractive. I was thinking about a coniferous bonsai as it reminds me of pines growing here calmly by the seashore.
But I suppose we will practice with Headless Chicken here while doing some research about which would be the right choice for us.. :)


boggy
A juniper is a nice place to start as far as conifers - although this is a bias opinion. You can usually get a nice little Chinese or procumbens juniper at a nursery this time of year for really cheap. I got one the other day for $5 US - they’re nice to use to get to know the species.
 

Michael P

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Your first task is to make the tree as healthy as possible. This will be a little tricky indoors over the winter, but your south-facing window will help. When it is actively growing and has gone outside next spring, then you can prune, cut off the top and root it, let the base sprout new growth, etc. It is a ficus, very forgiving of all types of bonsai techniques if in warm temperatures, bright light, and high humidity.

Given enough time, you can turn it into almost any style. But it would be a lot easier with better material. If you find that you like bonsai you won't be able to stop with one, LOL.
 

Mapleminx

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I love your headless chicken, it gives me some peace over my “tragic olive” and suddenly I don’t feel so alone anymore in the “that’s a bonsai tree?!” stakes.

I look forward to seeing how the chicken improves over spring 🙂
 

smilezzz

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We're growing in Eastern Europe, this is a graph of the amount of sunlight here, it is going down quite a bit in winters while getting dry as well.
View attachment 329108
At least it will be by the window facing south completely exposed to sunlight when there is some.
Room temperature is around 22-25°C or 72-77F°


Thank you DonovanC for the quick response,

I guess we'll then see how bonsai will feel after the winter and then figure out about the root cutting.

Tigerbark definitely looks attractive. I was thinking about a coniferous bonsai as it reminds me of pines growing here calmly by the seashore.
But I suppose we will practice with Headless Chicken here while doing some research about which would be the right choice for us.. :)


boggy

Ditch the chicken tree and get you that conifer.

Better yet, get 3.

And some privet, they're basically bullet proof.

And Olives, cedar, boxwood.
 

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