New to Bonsai, my first Tiger Bark Ficus?

pinosilvestre

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Hello. I'm new to Bonsai and to the forum, in fact this is my first post.

I am planning on buying my first tree, and after reading a lot of threads I have arrived to the conclusion that the best choice should be a Tiger Bark Ficus.
My goal for me, at least at the beginning, would be to learn how not to kill it (I have zero experience with plants, fertilizers, soils, repotting, pots, watering, etc.). My long term goal would be to enjoy the company of this tree and hopefully few more in the future, for the next twenty+ years (I am not far from retirement).

The only information that I was not able to find, is what kind of Tiger Bark Tree. How old, how big? How much would be reasonable to spend for the first three? Should I spend $50-$100 on a 7-10 years old pre-made Bonsai that I can find online, or should I plan on spending more and buy a more mature specimen from a Bonsai nursery?

If it makes any difference, it is for indoor (with plenty of light). Also, unfortunately I will not be able to join any local club in the near future, so I will have to rely only on information that I can find online.
 
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pinosilvestre

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I wrote pre-made Bonsai but I think these are actually called pre-Bonsai.

yVYbbtg.jpg
 

LittleDingus

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For a first tree to be kept indoors, I would advise going cheap. Like look for a houseplant cheap...not something marketed "bonsai" which adds a premium. Keep it alive for a year. 90% of bonsai is horticulture.

After a year, you'll have more confidence in your abilities and the mount of care involved. Then look for "the one"...which may be right in front of you by that point as we do get attached to our trees :)

I was just speaking with someone yesterday who loves orchids. She buys them and is happy when they last 3-6 months. She was proud she could keep them alive that long. I told her I have several that are many years old and bloom reliably for me every year. She was amazed! Many people put big money into plants thinking they can/will keep them alive...then don't :(

Learn cheap. Then, once you know you have the chops, spend what you saved if that is what you want.

My $0.02...
 

rockm

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Hello. I'm new to Bonsai and to the forum, in fact this is my first post.

I am planning on buying my first tree, and after reading a lot of threads I have arrived to the conclusion that the best choice should be a Tiger Bark Ficus.
My goal for me, at least at the beginning, would be to learn how not to kill it (I have zero experience with plants, fertilizers, soils, repotting, pots, watering, etc.). My long term goal would be to enjoy the company of this tree and hopefully few more in the future, for the next twenty+ years (I am not far from retirement).

The only information that I was not able to find, is what kind of Tiger Bark Tree. How old, how big? How much would be reasonable to spend for the first three? Should I spend $50-$100 on a 7-10 years old pre-made Bonsai that I can find online, or should I plan on spending more and buy a more mature specimen from a Bonsai nursery?

If it makes any difference, it is for indoor (with plenty of light). Also, unfortunately I will not be able to join any local club in the near future, so I will have to rely only on information that I can find online.
Your question about what to get are very subjective. They depend on what you can afford in money, time and space.

You should know that by keeping the tree indoors all the time greatly increases your learning curve. Indoor environments are extremely hostile to plants--extremely low light and desert-level humidity, as well as no significant air circulation. There are no "indoor" bonsai, only species that can tolerate those conditions. Unless you invest in a significant lighting system and have a room dedicated to high humidity (misting won't cut it) you're going to have difficulties.

Also, you will probably kill the first tree you get, most everyone does when they're learning. I killed numerous trees when I began.

All that said, if you're after a ficus (Which is a great indoor choice as they are pretty tough and take a lot of abuse), investing $50-$100 up front on a decent specimen might be a way to start. A more mature specimen is more satisfying that trying to make a bonsai out of a sapling (which takes years and the plant doesn't look like a bonsai, only a houseplant, for a very long time).

Something along these lines would be a good starter tree. Brussels is a pretty good supplier of beginner trees:
 

19Mateo83

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Hello. I'm new to Bonsai and to the forum, in fact this is my first post.

I am planning on buying my first tree, and after reading a lot of threads I have arrived to the conclusion that the best choice should be a Tiger Bark Ficus.
My goal for me, at least at the beginning, would be to learn how not to kill it (I have zero experience with plants, fertilizers, soils, repotting, pots, watering, etc.). My long term goal would be to enjoy the company of this tree and hopefully few more in the future, for the next twenty+ years (I am not far from retirement).

The only information that I was not able to find, is what kind of Tiger Bark Tree. How old, how big? How much would be reasonable to spend for the first three? Should I spend $50-$100 on a 7-10 years old pre-made Bonsai that I can find online, or should I plan on spending more and buy a more mature specimen from a Bonsai nursery?

If it makes any difference, it is for indoor (with plenty of light). Also, unfortunately I will not be able to join any local club in the near future, so I will have to rely only on information that I can find online.
Since you are in north Georgia, go look at lowes. They have tiger bark ficus just like that in the tropical section for under $30.
 

pinosilvestre

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Wow! Thanks a lot for all replies.

There is a Home Depot near me. I did not find any Tiger Bark Ficus but they had several Fukien Tea Tree. I'll go to a Lowes later in the day to see if I can find the ficus.

Here is what I got. May I ask if should I leave it alone for some time, just water and fertilizer, or should I put it in new soil and/or a different pot?

VUCTDVc.jpg


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QImuoPv.jpg


Ed6zGqT.jpg
 

rockm

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The issue with trees bought from big box stores is typically the crappy soil they're planted in (and crummy pots). You have both. Both need to be addressed at some point. Fukien Tea aka Pauper's Tea ( Carmona retusa--can also be called Ehretia microphylla) is a tropical, just like ficus, only it's more touchy indoors--likes more sun (always a problem, and a bit more water--although not soggy).

The plant you have can be repotted now. That soil looks pretty dense and heavy, but not altogether clogged. As long as you get water draining through the bottom hole and water doesn't sit on top of the soil for more than a second, it should be ok for a while. The pot is pretty crummy, but as long as it drains and isn't cracked, it should be ok too--for a year or so while you learn how to care for it.

Do some research.
Here's link to one fukien tea post here:

Since this is a species used to create mass market bonsai aimed at beginners, there is a TON of dimiwitted idiotic videos on "how to care" for it on the net so beware.

Here's a pretty decent starter


Also FWIW, fukien tea, like all other bonsai, does best outdoors (in the late spring and summer obviously for your tree since it's a tropical). This is one at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. It's one of my favorites there and is about four feet tall. It is kept outdoors all year (the museum has storage areas outdoors that it heats to keep them from freezing in the winter).
 

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pinosilvestre

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Based on this picture, if I replace the soil with better one now, and keep the same pot, should I trim the roots?
The idea is to make it grow further.

Ed6zGqT.jpg
 
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pinosilvestre

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Hello!

Today I was at a Home Depot and they had a couple of Tiger Bark Ficus trees. I brought one home.

So I decided to move the Fukien Tea Tree outside and give her spot indoor to the ficus.
It's a place facing north, where she may get an hour of direct sunlight in the morning, after that it is shaded. The coffee tree just above her has been there for a month without visible problems.

vbHpaxg.jpg



Here is the ficus.

arXkEmP.jpg


Of course I have few questions.

Removed all the green stuff. There is a root above the soil. I assume it comes from repotting.
My question however is: should I replace the soil with new one, like Miracle Grow, and should I prune the roots when I repot it?

kGNcz1P.jpg



The other questions I have is that I would like to "clean" it a little bit. What leaves or branches would you remove?
Also, is there any way to make that side branch grow thicker?

iaiRPaj.jpg

R7USrul.jpg
 
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pinosilvestre

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Would 'Miracle Grow Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Soil' be a good soil for replacing the nursery soil the Ficus and the Fukien Tea came with?
Or would the 'Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111' be better?
Again, I am still thinking about let them grow and maybe start training them (I think that is the way it is called).


cactus.jpg cactus 2.jpg
 
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Carol 83

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I use the Miracle Grow Cactus mix for my jades and p.afras, but that's all.
 

Colorado

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Would 'Miracle Grow Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Soil' be a good soil for replacing the nursery soil the Ficus and the Fukien Tea came with?
Or would the 'Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111' be better?
Again, I am still thinking about let them grow and maybe start training them (I think that is the way it is called).


View attachment 432338 View attachment 432340

Bonsai Jack is much better than Miracle Gro for bonsai.
 

leus

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The hardest skill to master, for me, is still patience. I want to prune and repot ALL THINGS ALL THE TIME. I started just months ago but I have a very high death toll already.

To refrain myself of killing all my trees I started gardening. Luckily, I have massive vines so there's plenty of stuff to prune. That helps me with the jitters.
 

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