How do I take care of Bonsai – ficus microcarpa ginseng? Bella Siddiqui , Issaquah, WA

I get a fair number of these trees brought to me after they have lost leaves and a lot of the branches have died back, or the tree has become unstable in its pot and is falling over.

You need to be aware of corrective action necessary for future health of the tree and what to do regarding care and maintenance are the following:

  1. Carry on watering the way your doing, ensuring the soil is moist, but not soaking wet.
  2. There is an inner plastic pot in which the tree is planted, and an outer ceramic pot. The inner plastic post has drainage holes for excess water to drain out, but the outer ceramic pot does not have any drainage holes and excess water will gather at the bottom if now removed. Failure to remove the excess water will result in the tree suffering and if not dealt with leading to root rot and the tree dying. A few hours after watering remove the tree with its plastic pot and empty any excess water from the bottom of the ceramic pot.
  3. Keep the tree where is gets plenty of light and within one meter of a window, and not immediately behind it, as it becomes very hot during midday sun.
  4. The soil it is in tends to be coco peat and not meant for bonsai trees. It will need re-potting. The tree is already showing signs of stress as there are a few leaves it has shed which are lying on the soil.
  5. The drainage holes are not covered by mesh and this can be rectified at the next re-pot. There are no anchor wires to secure the tree in its pot. Many such trees have been brought to me because they have become unstable in the pot and are falling over. This too will have to be rectified when the tree is next re-potted.
  6. Feed with bonsai fertliser, or balanced 10:10:10 general purpose fertliser.
  7. re-potting is best done in Spring, you can consult a local bonsai nursery and they would re-pot it for you.

To learn more about bonsai tree growing, care and maintenance visit:

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