bonsai – Bonsai Questions and Answers

we have since late August in the house a Bonsai of Ginseng, the we put in a sunny room but without direct light, and we avoided the drafts of air, I noticed that puts new leaflets, but the old ones are all greying crumpling and falling, and many of the new ones have like burnt tips…. what are we doing wrong? Before it was in a mall may be the change of environment?

Ficus ginseng


Olive Bonsai in a low bowl

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Response : bonsai

Dear Silvia,

ficus ginseng, or ficus retusa, are very cultivated plants such as bonsai, because they are resistant plants, which can withstand even some cultivation errors; clearly the move from the shop, where it certainly received all the necessary care, to your home, can be a source of stress.

Usually the symptoms of black leaves, crumpled or with spots are linked to the development of rottenness in the soil, but since I have no other indications on the plant, or a photograph, it is good to consider all options.

The ficus ginseng bear quite well the drought, but prefer a cool and humid climate; this means that they love to be watered regularly, with the intention to keep the soil slightly humid; humid does not mean soaked in water, and excessive watering, which results in a soil always wet soaked, quickly leads to the development of radical rottenness, which can ruin the plant even heavily.

If the soil of your bonsai is always soaked, and the plant shows symptoms of suffering, it is worth repotting it, to remove the parts of roots damaged and also the soil, to replace it with fresh soil. The correct watering of the ficus is provided when the soil begins to dry: with your finger, check that it is dry, and water abundantly.

Often the poor quality bonsai have a hard and rigid earthen bread, on which the water flows, without wetting it, in these cases it is advisable to water by immersion: place the pot in a tub, and fill with water to the outer edge of the pot, when the ground is moist on the surface, you drain the pot and store it in place. This method of watering is definitely the best for bonsai, because it ensures that the soil is well moist in its entirety.

Another problem related to bonsai concerns the ambient humidity; the air in the apartment is constantly dry, especially when we have active the heating system or air conditioning, so it is good to vaporize periodically the canopy, or place and the pot on a tray with at least 3-4 cm of gravel, which will be kept moist, so as to increase the ambient humidity.

During the cold months, the watering will be sporadic, but try to keep the gravel under the pot seems wet, especially if the room where you keep the bonsai is very heated.

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Bonsai of Chinese Elm vase cm. 15

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