family that brings together some dozen species of evergreen plants coming mainly from the tropical areas, in nature they reach imposing dimensions, cultivated in pots they remain on the 2-3 meters, the bonsai specimens remain instead under the meter of height. It has dark green brilliant, oval, pointed cravings, with a waxy appearance; the trunk is greyish-brown in color, fairly clear, sometimes flecked or slightly wrinkled, more often smooth and with a silky appearance. Often the plant tends to develop beautiful aerial roots over time. The most commonly used species for bonsai are:
F. retusa: with very leathery leaves, less demanding than the other ficus and more resistant to cold.
F. benjamina: the most used as a houseplant, widely used as a bonsai, especially for its easy retrieval and fairly moderate cost.
F. panda: it has more rounded leaves than the previous species, more difficult to find, with slow growth.
Pruning and exposure
Pruning: the most vigorous prunings are usually practiced in autumn; in spring and summer trim the buds, leaving 1-2 leaves. The wire can be used throughout the year; it is advisable to remove the leaves of greater dimensions to improve the appearance of the foliage.
Exposure: it likes the luminous positions, but not the direct sunlight, especially in summer, when it is advisable to place the ficus in a shaded area. Fears the cold, and in particular sudden temperature changes and drafts or blows of air, therefore have the foresight to find a position far from doors or windows.
Ficus - Ficus retusa: Other tips
Watering: it needs an abundant quantity of water, therefore it must be watered frequently, keeping the soil always damp, but not soaked and without water stagnation in the saucer; excess water quickly causes the leaves to turn yellow. It is advisable to vaporize the leaves often with distilled water, in summer on the hottest days, but also in winter if the plant is kept in a heated environment. Providing the plant with a slow release fertilizer following the instructions for use, the ficus do not need large quantities of fertilizer.
Soil: use good bonsai soil, very well drained. If desired, prepare a compote for ficus by mixing two parts of sand, two parts of peat and a part of clay, taking care to place coarse material at the bottom of the pot, such as perlite or pumice stone, to increase drainage.
Pests and diseases: it is often attacked by the cochineal, which preferably settles in the axil of the leaves; sprouts can be ruined by aphids.