Found in the Trash! ---help me save her

Titikshu

Seedling
Messages
5
Reaction score
6
First of all, introduction:
Hello everyone, my name is Dustin, I'm 39 years old, and my wife and I have been talking about how cool it would be to start the art of bonsai care.

With no really great windows, living in Michigan (cold, gray), and with very little time, however, it isn't a priority.

However.... My cousin found a beautiful bonsai in the trash (of all places!.... So sad) and needing some serious TLC so she gave it to me! ....I guess it's time I start my Bonsai journey.

I could make some space in an indoor grow room (if need) and have a variety of nutrients (if/when needed) if that's needed.

I think it's a Ficus bonsai, but someone will have to check my photos. It's pretty tall all I don't know if someone let it go or if that was on purpose or what. I also have no idea what it should look like, but I'm guessing more leaves than this.

The soil looks like the right mix of bark, clay, and pebbles. I have no idea what to do to get it back to health though and no idea how I should prune/train when the time comes. For now.... It needs some leaves! Most have fallen off and are dead...

Can the tree be saved?

So far, I just sprayed a very low concentration of kelp/water on the leaves and fed it a 1/3 strength dose of fish fertilizer with water, soaking to runoff.

My plan is to basically keep watering with room temp water every other day or so whenever the "soil" looks dry. Fertilize once a month or so and have patients. Hopefully some leaves will grow and in spring I can do some serious pruning/maintenance.

Am I way off?

Anything else I can/should do for now (besides a bunch of research on Bonsais of course)?

Thanks in advance for your time and attention.280601
 

Attachments

Forsoothe!

Masterpiece
Messages
3,673
Reaction score
4,211
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
6b
This is your lucky day. Give it as much window light as you can, or buy a grow light and give 16 hours a day, water once every 5 or 6 days, and wait for some signs of new buds that will come as sunlight increases in late winter/early spring. Think about what style you'd like to make it by looking at fig bonsai online, and come back with pictures of proposed pruning to discuss with people here. You'll get pros and cons about this or that style and that will help you decide for that aspect. You can get some repotting advice at that time, mostly done when the tree is growing vigorously in spring/summer. Lucky guys!
 

Shibui

Masterpiece
Messages
2,336
Reaction score
4,331
Location
Yackandandah, Australia
USDA Zone
9?
Pretty sure your ID is correct. This looks very much like some ficus species.
Hopefully it did not get too cold while sitting in the trash. These are sub tropicals and cold can kill. The best news is that ficus do quite well indoors. They do need good light so if the windows and Michigan sun are not sufficient a lighted grow room will be the best answer. There are lots of threads on B'nt about different lights, heaters and U-beaut indoor growing areas for ficus.
Most of your suppositions are correct. This tree has been allowed to grow without pruning for too long and is now way too tall and lanky. Again you are lucky that most ficus respond very well to pruning. I'd leave it alone now to recover from the trauma but when it regains health it can be pruned to regain some proportion and shape.
In the meantime keep it warm, water when needed and light fertiliser if/when it starts to grow. It sounds as if you already understand watering cannot be scheduled. Check that the mix is getting just a little dry before watering again. Constantly wet roots is not good for ficus.
We find that the best time of year for pruning and repotting is warmer weather in late spring and summer.
 

leatherback

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
9,642
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
Looks like a better-than-expected ficus bonsai :) You can make a nice tree from this one.

First thing it to let it recover. Care is no different from ficus that you otherwise might have in your house. Except that the substrate used here will keep very little water. So you have to be vigilent with your watering, keeping in mind that they do not like to be sitting in water (That being said.. I have been growing ficus very happily sitting in a shallow water tray in summer). Lots of heat, moisture and light are asked for now.

Check the plant for animals. Scale, spider mite and thrips are all common on unhappy ficus and they will stop your tree from recovering and may be hard to detect. The leaves indicate there might be something living off it.

Have fun. Let it recover. Once you get new leaves on each branch every week you are on track to think about styling options. Just getting a few sprouts here and there are NOT a sign of health, but only the onset of recovery. Do not prune untill truely healthy or branches may dieback
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,064
Reaction score
14,851
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
If you are in the Grand Rapids area, there's a Orchid Show in the no entry fee lobby of the Fredrick Meijer Botanical Garden. January 26, 2020. There will be a Bonsai Show same place May 9 & 10, 2020. The bonsai show is fairly high quality. Vendors, talks & good trees on display. Good learning experience.
 
Messages
954
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Tennessee
USDA Zone
7a
What a nice accident! Definitely give it TLC mentioned by posters above. Once it gets back into shape though, you can take lots of cuttings and root them for future trees! Ficus cuttings are easy to take and you can try out different techniques to them to learn more about how they grow.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
26,807
Reaction score
35,718
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
That look, with the leaves at the ends only, is from underwatering.

I'd water everyday without question, it's easier. Over the sink, a Good soak.

Nice trunk..s.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Titikshu

Seedling
Messages
5
Reaction score
6
This is your lucky day. Give it as much window light as you can, or buy a grow light and give 16 hours a day, water once every 5 or 6 days, and wait for some signs of new buds that will come as sunlight increases in late winter/early spring. Think about what style you'd like to make it by looking at fig bonsai online, and come back with pictures of proposed pruning to discuss with people here. You'll get pros and cons about this or that style and that will help you decide for that aspect. You can get some repotting advice at that time, mostly done when the tree is growing vigorously in spring/summer. Lucky guys!
Yeah, I suppose there was a bad break up or something and the tree got thrown out. I have no idea how old it is, but it looks like someone cared for it for a while, then not so much. I'm guessing someone bought it, let it go, then leaves started dropping and they tossed it.
Thanks for the advice. Looking up some ideas is great. I just don't know with how long the branches are now what can even be done with this, but it will depend on new growth.
 

Titikshu

Seedling
Messages
5
Reaction score
6
If you are in the Grand Rapids area, there's a Orchid Show in the no entry fee lobby of the Fredrick Meijer Botanical Garden. January 26, 2020. There will be a Bonsai Show same place May 9 & 10, 2020. The bonsai show is fairly high quality. Vendors, talks & good trees on display. Good learning experience.
That would be awesome but can't make it this weekend. Thanks for the info. I'm closer to Detroit, but I'll keep my eyes open.
 

Titikshu

Seedling
Messages
5
Reaction score
6
What a nice accident! Definitely give it TLC mentioned by posters above. Once it gets back into shape though, you can take lots of cuttings and root them for future trees! Ficus cuttings are easy to take and you can try out different techniques to them to learn more about how they grow.
Sounds fun. Thanks
 

Titikshu

Seedling
Messages
5
Reaction score
6
Pretty sure your ID is correct. This looks very much like some ficus species.
Hopefully it did not get too cold while sitting in the trash. These are sub tropicals and cold can kill. The best news is that ficus do quite well indoors. They do need good light so if the windows and Michigan sun are not sufficient a lighted grow room will be the best answer. There are lots of threads on B'nt about different lights, heaters and U-beaut indoor growing areas for ficus.
Most of your suppositions are correct. This tree has been allowed to grow without pruning for too long and is now way too tall and lanky. Again you are lucky that most ficus respond very well to pruning. I'd leave it alone now to recover from the trauma but when it regains health it can be pruned to regain some proportion and shape.
In the meantime keep it warm, water when needed and light fertiliser if/when it starts to grow. It sounds as if you already understand watering cannot be scheduled. Check that the mix is getting just a little dry before watering again. Constantly wet roots is not good for ficus.
We find that the best time of year for pruning and repotting is warmer weather in late spring and summer.
Thanks for the info. I've got a small room with a CMH light at 16 hours and some HPS in another room at 12 hours. For now I'll keep it near the window as suggested, then maybe move it to the corners of one of those rooms. It is winter here so I imagine it's used to a shorter light period. I'd have to blast it with too much light all of a sudden. I will look into those forum topics.
 

Henryparson

Seedling
Messages
8
Reaction score
20
Location
Northern Kentucky
USDA Zone
6a
I travel to Michigan for work. I always stop by Telly's Greenhouse and Nursery in Troy. I love the Pre-Bonsai collection.
 
Top Bottom