Chris85

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I currently have two ficus microcarpa. The first is tiny and I've had it since the fall. It seems to love my apartment conditions so I made a much larger investment on a second one.

The new one is about 25" tall out of the pot, so something fairly large that I desperately want to keep alive (the biggest tree I have yet to kill haha). It's in a 6" deep training pot currently and I have no desire to change pots or scale it down anytime soon. I just bought the tree this past Saturday 4/24 so it's still acclimating to its new environment. Some leaves are turning yellow and dropping here and there - just typical stress (I think/hope). It loses about 3-4 leaves a day but its also pushing a bunch of new growth.

The problem is it's currently planted in dirt/soil which is far too moisture retentive. Jerry Meislik's book says that the soil shouldn't be damp more than 24-36hours and it seems to take a full 2-3 days to feel dry again. I want to get this thing repotted in some fast draining substrate ASAP, but again Jerry Meislik's book says to wait 30 days so as not to further stress the plant.

I don't want to get root rot, but I don't want my plant to stress and die either.

Can anyone offer some advice on this situation? Is it better to be too dry than too wet? Can I water the topsoil and hope for some good capillary action rather than giving it the full soaking? Is it better to get this thing into substrate and ignore the risks of stress?


Thanks!
 

Cadillactaste

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Watch your watering. It won't need watered as frequently. It's grown fine in the medium It's been in. The thing is to just allow it to not be so wet before watering again.

It's indoors...so not in a warm climate now. Thus...up north we tend to repot in summer when trees are acclimated on the bench and growing aggressively happy.

Acclimating is important...
 

HorseloverFat

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I could be wrong here... but..
With decent soil... OVERwatering will almost never be a problem..

I repot smallER nursery ficus into some “big ol” pots of aggregate soil.. water often... they seem to love it.
 

Cadillactaste

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I do the same. I should’ve been clearer. I meant saturating the soil as opposed to watering lightly
Water should always drain from the drain hole to ensure all roots are watered. Then monitored the soil for moisture level before watering again.
 

Chris85

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I could be wrong here... but..
With decent soil... OVERwatering will almost never be a problem..

I repot smallER nursery ficus into some “big ol” pots of aggregate soil.. water often... they seem to love it.
Yeah I guess that’s my concern. It’s currently potted in compacted dirt. It doesn’t drain well at all and stays wet too long. It might’ve been fine outdoors and in warmer climates, but not inside.

I just hope it doesn’t get root rot over the course of its acclamation period. I want to get it into substrate as soon as possible. But I’m concerned about stressing the tree.
 

HorseloverFat

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Yeah I guess that’s my concern. It’s currently potted in compacted dirt. It doesn’t drain well at all and stays wet too long. It might’ve been fine outdoors and in warmer climates, but not inside.

I just hope it doesn’t get root rot over the course of its acclamation period. I want to get it into substrate as soon as possible. But I’m concerned about stressing the tree.
I think it’s stressing YOU more than the tree! 🤣

I’m a “hooligan”... but I, personally would get it into better soil.. as soon as you are ready to “care” for a weirdly-timed repot...

I’d wait for someone wiser to comment before listening to a beast like me.

;)
 

Chris85

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I think it’s stressing YOU more than the tree! 🤣

I’m a “hooligan”... but I, personally would get it into better soil.. as soon as you are ready to “care” for a weirdly-timed repot...

I’d wait for someone wiser to comment before listening to a beast like me.

;)
The tree and I can be stressed together haha
 

HorseloverFat

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Also...

Pics.... because there haven’t been any all thread... and you don’t want me to start posting ridiculous pictures of myself.

🤣🤣🤣
 

Cadillactaste

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You repot it now...I hope you have a grow light with 18 hours on with a timer set. Along with a humidifier... If you have it in front of a window, offering less than ideal environment. Repotting out of season...when it was just shipped. 🤔 Not the path I would take.
 

Cadillactaste

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My bougainvillea in my profile photo...came in organic medium...as well as my olive. Neither did I repot when they arrived. I repotted when they were actively growing. Honestly I left the olive in the medium over a year. Neither died of root rot. And bougies are known for rotting roots when not ideal. Watering less is what I did...and it never was an issue. I treated them like house plants. Watering when needed.
 

HorseloverFat

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You repot it now...I hope you have a grow light with 18 hours on with a timer set. Along with a humidifier... If you have it in front of a window, offering less than ideal environment. Repotting out of season...when it was just shipped. 🤔 Not the path I would take.
Yeah.. I always forget that not everyone just HAS grow “rooms”

..gotta be able to provide the aftercare.
 

Cadillactaste

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Yeah.. I always forget that not everyone just HAS grow “rooms”

..gotta be able to provide the aftercare.
Even though I could...I wouldn't. That's me. I don't push the envelope. I also can keep house plants alive. 😉 I think people over obsess with medium of trees if there is any organic in it. Yet, landscape nurseries have done it for years... yes, we use inorganic for a reason...BUT...they won't die in something else. If we pay attention and water when needed.
 

HorseloverFat

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Even though I could...I wouldn't. That's me. I don't push the envelope. I also can keep house plants alive. 😉 I think people over obsess with medium of trees if there is any organic in it. Yet, landscape nurseries have done it for years... yes, we use inorganic for a reason...BUT...they won't die in something else. If we pay attention and water when needed.
Understandable!
 

Cadillactaste

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@Chris85 you mentioned how tall it is. One thing with our hobby...the shorter the tree the wider the trunk. Gives the illusion of an older tree. Not saying you can't have a taller tree. But there are benefits to shorter trees.

Development and what we are focused on depicts what we do along our journey with a particular tree.

Since you haven't felt comfortable to share yours. I suggest look into Google images of the species you own with the word bonsai in the search engine. Study styles you like...and see if any can be applied to your tree. And then, if it's happy and healthy in the summer. You can look to style your tree if its to that point yet. You still can develop the main bones of the tree which most do, first. Ramification is typically not the first step with newly acquired material. Unless you purchased a specimen tree. But alas, then it would be in ideal substrate.

To also help with drainage...take a screw driver and gently listen the soil so water can drain without forcefully ripping at the roots. I've done that with material that came in and it wasn't an ideal time to repot and drainage wasn't ideal. Actually I used a chopstick. But a screwdriver could work...just be gentle with the process.
 

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