This year I came across some 7cm pots of Ginseng Ficus bonsai (Ficus microcarpa ‘Ginseng’) which were very reasonably priced in garden centres so I have bought a few to have some fun with. I started by selecting out some ceramic bonsai pots for them as they were in small 7cm black plastic pots and I was keen to see what the roots were like too as they were growing in pure coconut fibre.
I then went on to re-pot them carefully trying not to damage any of the newly formed fleshy roots whilst repotting them into the ceramic pots. Once I removed them from the plastic pot, I used a chop stick to help gently remove the existing soil medium as well as a pot of water to aid with loosening up the soil to help it come away from the roots.
I prefer to repot any newly purchased trees into a soil mix that I am more familiar with that suits the tree species and conditions in which I keep them. For my tropical ficus I use a soil mix of small grade Akadama, Kiryu, Fuji grit, Kanuma and a sandy loamy soil. I also add a small amount of chopped sphagnum moss and orchid bark with a pumice drainage layer and an addition of slow release fertiliser in with the soil mix. I will be keeping these indoors in a warm conservatory in full sun on pumice grit trays.
I wanted to keep the upright style of the one which reminded me of a Baobab and chose a small brown bonsai pot with a cherry blossom carving. I like the bulbous root that forms which is often used to graft on a different species of Ficus and referred to as “Ginseng ficus”.
I went for a small square Gordon Duffett pot with a blue crackle glaze for this one and planted it at an angle like a mini cascade for a slightly different style.
The roots were already starting to grow out of the upper trunk so I aim to develop the ones growing in this location.
For the other one with a fairly squad fat trunk I have used a slightly larger square Gordon Duffett pot with the same blue crackle glaze as I want this one to develop more roots where it has started to form roots around the upper trunk so a slightly larger pot will allow it to develop more roots.
This was an earlier one I had bought which was repotted around June 2020 and it is doing really well and pushing new leaves. I used a dark blue ceramic bonsai pot to highlight the dark green leaves of the Ginseng fig.
If you want to read up more on Ficus as bonsai then these two books are a great source of information all about Figs by Jerry Meislik and well worth adding to your bonsai book collection. Have a look on Amazon here.