Need some help with this Ficus

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7
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4
Location
Brigham City, UT
USDA Zone
6a
#1
Long story short I have forever wanted to grow a bonsai tree but never actually got around to doing it until about a month ago. I went down to SLC (like the only place in Northern Utah I could find to buy any sort of a bonsai tree that wasnt nursery stock), and got myself a Ficus (I believe its a Retusa or a Tigerbark). When I chose the tree they said that they would pot it there for me for free if I picked out a pot, so I found one I liked. When they gave it back to me they said they ran out of sphagnum moss so they did have moss half rock to style it.

When they gave it back to me I noticed the tree was still wobbly in the pot and was not tied down well with wires. I checked underneath to make sure they even used wires (ive watched a lot of repotting videos on youtube) and they did but i can still gently push the trunk and have it wobble in the soil. Is this normal? Maybe it just didnt have a very solid root system to actually tighten down. I was thinking about repotting it myself to see what they did but I also have read that after its been repotted you want to kind of leave it alone and let the tree absorb the shock of being moved before you do to much to it. What do you guys think I should do. Just let it be and see if it eventually tightens up or repot it and see what it looks like underneath?

Also, I have been wanting to make a plan for allowing the trunk to get thicker and more sturdy because even though it does have (what i find to be) a pretty sweet S curve and i dont want to ruin that, it does need to thicken a bit. Ive been going back and forth in my head how to do this. Some say just let it grow for a few years and it will thicken itself. On the other hand i've also read take off the upper foliage and kind of force it to put its nutrients into trunk, but i dont want to do any drastic cutting while the tree is only recently repotted and started to get its roots down.

Just unsure about a few things and hoping you good knowledgeable fellow bonsai growers can help a brother out. Ill put some pictures of my tree up also.
IMG_20170910_123130.jpg IMG_20170910_123138.jpg IMG_20170910_123148.jpg
 

Bonsai Nut

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Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
#2
i dont want to do any drastic cutting while the tree is only recently repotted and started to get its roots down
Welcome to the site!

First and foremost, you need to let this tree settle in. Don't prune or mess with it for the time being. What are your plans for it in the winter? (I am pretty sure you know this, but just to confirm, you can't keep it outside in Utah).

If you want the trunk to thicken you have to let the tree grow. Trunk thickness is driven by vascular demand from the foliage. You need to put on a lot of foliage... and then the trunk will thicken.
 
Messages
7
Likes
4
Location
Brigham City, UT
USDA Zone
6a
#3
I have a dresser sitting right in front of my bedroom window (unfortunately it is facing East with the afternoon sun). I will bring it inside and most likely use that or some form of artificial lighting. I mist it 2 or 3 times a day to give it some more humidity as Utah is a desert and lacks that moisture in the air the Ficus likes. The tray underneath I am using as a humidity tray with the rocks and water to also help increase the humidity around it but I havent noticed any new growth in the last month (also probably just because it is getting used to its new home.)

Thanks for the tip. The only thing I did is I took off two branches about 2 weeks ago that were rather unsightly and I have tried growing those from cuttings. I have gotten addicted to this and needed something to do rather than just stare at the one tree that I have. The cuttings seem to be still green and growing alright but I dont want to pull those up to look at the roots either. Here is a picture of those two.
IMG_20170910_123154.jpg

I will just let my main man Winston (the name of my ficus) grow for the next year or so then and wait to see how it turns out. I dont want to do any wiring or training until the trunk is solidly held in the soil anyways. But im just trying to use some mere common sense here since I really dont know to much about Bonsai just yet. Although I am eager to learn
 
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789
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1,261
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
USDA Zone
5
#5
I have a dresser sitting right in front of my bedroom window (unfortunately it is facing East with the afternoon sun). I will bring it inside and most likely use that or some form of artificial lighting. I mist it 2 or 3 times a day to give it some more humidity as Utah is a desert and lacks that moisture in the air the Ficus likes. The tray underneath I am using as a humidity tray with the rocks and water to also help increase the humidity around it but I havent noticed any new growth in the last month (also probably just because it is getting used to its new home.)

Thanks for the tip. The only thing I did is I took off two branches about 2 weeks ago that were rather unsightly and I have tried growing those from cuttings. I have gotten addicted to this and needed something to do rather than just stare at the one tree that I have. The cuttings seem to be still green and growing alright but I dont want to pull those up to look at the roots either. Here is a picture of those two.
View attachment 160269

I will just let my main man Winston (the name of my ficus) grow for the next year or so then and wait to see how it turns out. I dont want to do any wiring or training until the trunk is solidly held in the soil anyways. But im just trying to use some mere common sense here since I really dont know to much about Bonsai just yet. Although I am eager to learn
cover those cutting with a clear bag, and mist the inside. To give them the best chance of rooting.

or cut the top off a 1.5 liter bottle of water, flip it upside down and cover the cuttings.

just cover those cuttings. basically.

Welcome to the hobby.

And the site.
 
Messages
599
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432
Location
Orem, UT
USDA Zone
5
#6
Just barely saw this. Good to see another Utahn! the bonsai scene is kind of slim here unfortunately. When I lived in Logan several years as go I had thought of starting a little Bonsai group with a couple people I had met up there who had an interest but it never got past the idea stage. The only other club I know of that meets regularly is the Bonsai Club of Utah. There is a website http://bonsaiclubofutah.com but the Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/pg/The-Bonsai-Club-of-Utah-189912614380799/posts/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=1 is much more active. There are members from all over the Wasatch front. It's a little drive from where you are but there's a meeting tomorrow night if you can make it. I won't be able to be there but everyone is very frendly and helpful.
 
Last edited:
Messages
154
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188
Location
Tampa, Florida
#7
Don't touch it. Let it grow. You may like the design now but as you learn more, you'll realize this isn't your final design. Hopefully the cuttings weren't the two lowest branches. Get more trees so you can leave this one alone.
 
Messages
599
Likes
432
Location
Orem, UT
USDA Zone
5
#8
I have a ficus Benjamina that I'm growing out to thicken the trunk. It's not in a bonsai pot yet or anything special at all. Its actually pretty ugly right now just in a plastic flower pot. I left it outside all summer without a humidity tray and it did fine.
 

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