Pine Garden Bonsai Co.

20331 S. R. 530 NE
Arlington, WA 98223
phone (800) 746-3281, (360) 435-5995; fax (360) 435-4865

CARE GUIDE: Ficus retusa (Tropical)

Copyright ©1997 Pine Garden Bonsai
Ficus retusa aka Golden Ficus, or Taiwan Ficus has small leaves. This tree tends to form the aerial roots characteristic of banyans. 1

Care: Ficus retusa which originates in south eastern Asia thrives on warm, even temperatures and constant soil moisture. Site this tree indoors, in bright but indirect light, until fear of frost has passed. In winter place your Ficus in a bright east, south or west window; avoid drafts; maintain temperature at 60 to 70 degrees F. Mist frequently; during the winter withhold fertilizer. Water thoroughly, but allow the plant to dry somewhat between waterings.

When you move the Ficus outdoors, place it in a shaded spot. If you site your plant in a brighter light expect the leaves to drop in the fall when brought inside again. Water liberally keeping the soil continually moist. Fertilize each time you water with a dilution one-fourth the recommended concentration of any 20-20-20 house plant fertilizer, like”Peters”, “Miracle Grow” or “Schultze”, or use a slow release stick fertilizer such as “Jobs-Stix”, in the following manner: Break a stick in half and put 1/2 in opposite corners; 2 weeks later, put two more halves in the other corners; renew throughout the growing season.

January Care Question

Dorothy & Rob, who bought a Ficus Retusa from us a year prior, wrote:

The plant has done very well until about a month ago when the leaves started to curl. I checked the roots and they look good. That is, there are new white roots growing. I have used an insecticidal soap on it and just started a fungicid.

Kate Bowditch responds:

"First line of defense: cut (don't pull) EVERY SINGLE LEAF off the ficus. Then scrub with a tooth brush and insecticidal soap. (Instead of the expensive insecticidal soap, I use Ivory at ten cents a bar), Keep the plant moist but not wet until you see new leaves forming (about six weeks). Then begn to fertilize.

I do this with all my ficus, every January. It forces a rest, regroup and rejuvenation. Also- check the root ball for soil aphids. Change soil if necessary

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Our 1997 Ficus all have excellent shapes and good roots. They have been pruned to bonsai shapes and can easily be transformed into bonsai, even by beginners. Received as bare root stock 2from our Chinese nursery at the end of April, the plants have been potted in soil and moved into our propagation house where they are regularly misted and bottom heated until substantial roots grow.

Go to our best in tools, containers, and stock.

1) Marty Klein, President of The American Bonsai Society suggests leaning hemp twine from possible aerial root sites on the branches through a drinking strsw ( to maintain moisture) to the ground whereit can be secured with a hair-pin. This he suggests ewill stimulate the formation of aerial roots on banyans.

2) 2. The U.S. Department of Agricuture requires that trees imported from abroad be inspected to determine that no soil be included on them.

Copyright ©1997 Pine Garden Bonsai. Last updated 21 May 97 eb

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