Have watched all ur videos ! You’re awesome. Just bought a ginseng ficus really thinking about making it into bonsai any tips and am I wasting my time do u have email I can send pics ? John Q

No you are not wasting your time. This is classic making a bonsai from a nursery plant. You need to do the following:

1) The bonsai pot should be 2/3, (at its widest point), of the height of the tree when measured from the top of the pot to the apex of your tree.

2) If you don’t know how to prepare a bonsai pot for repotting, wire mesh and anchor wires, there is a video on it in playlist bonsai basics. After you have prepared your pot proceed to step 3.

3) Make sure you have bonsai soil mix to hand. If you cannot get it where you are, then make it with professional growers compost 1 part , horticultural grade sand 2 parts and grit 2 parts.

4) Have some basic tools, scissors, root hook, or bend a fork to resemble a rake and use this for root hook, secateurs, Chop sticks, pliers, wire cutter, some bonsai wire, Bonsai pot as referred to in (1)

5) Take the plant out of its container, and using the root hook very gently work the roots. The roots will probably have gone round the pot a few times, or may be badly root bound, dependent on how long the tree has been in the same pot. Untangle the roots very gently. If there are very thick roots including tap root, remove these using scissors or secateurs. then remove at least half the roots with scissors making a clean cut. Put tree to one side. If it is warm or the roots look like dry, mist them as you are working on the roots, as your tree will die if the roots dry out.

6) take the bonsai pot previously prepared and start making a mound in it with the bonsai soil.

7) Place the your tree on top of the bonsai soil mound and gently wiggle it into the soil and position into the pot. View from all sides and if not happy with the position keep adjusting and viewing until you are happy with the way the tree sits in the pot and the way the front of the tree looks. You will have to decide on the front. But for now don’t worry too much about the technical aspects of choosing a front, that can be done at the next repot.

8) Once step 7 is done, put more bonsai soil and use the chop sticks to work the soil between the roots, to eliminate any air pockets.

9) Secure with anchor wire the tree in the pot and start to tighten one set of wires, then the next. When tightening the wires, the technique is, with pliers pull the wires, gently turn and release the tension at the same time. It is the slack which it being taken in each turn of the plier. Stop when there is no more slack. If the wire breaks, you went too far, don’t worry as every on nursery stock to bonsai, I show how this is done.

10) Put more bonsai soil to the top of the pot and do some more work with chop sticks to remove any left over air pockets. The roots need to be in contact with the soil, if not and are in an air pocket, they will die.

11) now thoroughly water until the water runs from the drainage holes.

12) Now prune the thick foliage removing and branches growing down wards, growing inwards. Also reduce the height of the branches by pruning and leaving a two to three leaves on each branch. Aim to achieve an umbrella shape. As the roots have been pruned so much, pruning the top reduces the pressure on the roots to support the top of the tree.

13) Wire some of the branches and position them to open up the top of the tree, working towards an umbrella shape.

14) It will be good practice and once you have done this a few times you will start to get more confident and move on to other species. Nursery stock is cheap and good to practice on.

Before you get started, do watch again the videos on my channel where I work with nursery stock and make them into bonsai. After watching the videos it will be easier to follow the instructions.

My contact details are in the description section of the videos. My email is: info@mikbonsai.co.uk

Do take photos of before you start and after you have finished wold love to see what you do with your ficus. Good luck !

Your question has given me an idea that I should do a video explaining all the steps in detail, but then the video becomes long…… Have a lot going on right now, so it won’t be for a few months, if I can fit it in. Best wishes Iqbal

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