Ficus from a box store

remist17

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Ficus from a box store PHOTOS UPDATED

Well I am new to Bonsai and along with a juniper I got a Ficus. It was 5 bucks. After taking it home and my wife saying it looks like a stump with branches I am starting to rethink this.

The Ficus has a large base. About 3 to 4" and it was cut off flat about 4 to 5 inches above the pot. There are a lot of smaller branches coming off it. The branches are young and about a straw diameter if that. What do I do with it? Repot it in bonsai soil? Cut it back? Start to train it? Or is it just a bush with a stump?

Added photos 8/17



 
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bonsai barry

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Of course, it's hard to make a comment without seeing the tree, but don't be too hasty. Your wife is commenting on how it looks today. You need to see it and view it how it will look in a couple of years. If it has small diameter branches, that can be a good thing because it can make the trunk look more imposing. Those branches will thicken rather quickly if you put it in a larger growing pot. If the top was cut off flat you may have the opportunity to do a little carving to make it look more natural.
 

remist17

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I added photos to the first post. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

treebeard55

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Remist, from the picture I'm pretty sure you have a "Ginseng" Ficus, so called from the shape of the tuberous roots. It's a cultivar of Ficus microcarpa. They're popular as houseplants right now, and are pruned for bushiness rather than structure.

Some people like the tuberous roots, others don't care for them. I'm in the latter camp myself, but it's your tree: if you like them, that's what matters.

You have two options, as I see it: keep the tuberous base, make it a feature, and develop a more tree-like branch structure; or cut the root system off just above where the tubers branch out, grow a new nebari, and go from there.

The good news is that F. microcarpa is tough and vigorous. With either route, you can have a decent looking tree in 3-5 years.
 

Colorado Slim

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this is definitely a ginseng ficus, and as mentioned they are very popular right now because of the root feature. They give the appearance of a bonsai quickly, although as you know it's just a tubular trunk with a few spindly branches on top. I have seen very nice ginseng but they are much older and more developed.
 

remist17

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Thanks all.

How do I develeope the branches? I like the roots and trunk. Should I cut the branches way back?

I am going to a bonsai greenhouse Friday. What type of indoor bonsai is good for a beginer to learn on? I am looking at ficus or fig but open to all.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thanks all.

How do I develeope the branches? I like the roots and trunk. Should I cut the branches way back?

I am going to a bonsai greenhouse Friday. What type of indoor bonsai is good for a beginer to learn on? I am looking at ficus or fig but open to all.


I wouldn't worry about branches just yet. Repot into fast draining soil for now. I wouldn't quite call the "trunk" a trunk, it's really just a big root with branches grafted on top.

Like Steve mentioned, Willow Leaf Ficus is a great beginner tree. So forgiving.
 

remist17

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Ok thanks. I repotted the ficus. And trimmed back some of the branches. We will see what happens.
I have it now so I might as well do something with it.
 

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