Reader Approved

How to Care for Tiger Bark Ficus Bonsai Tree

The tiger bark ficus bonsai tree is an indoor tree that needs to be kept away from frost.

Part One of Seven:
Propagation
Edit

  1. 1
    Plant a cutting. Cuttings can be planted at any time of the year, but the highest success is likely to be experienced with mid-summer growth.
    • Airlayering will work best in spring (April – May).
  2. 2
    Grow from seed. Growing ficus plants from seed in spring also works easily in most cases.
  3. 3
    Purchase ficus ginseng bonsai as an already growing plant. Ficus plants are available as cheap bonsai or pot plants in nearly every home-store, building supplies store or nursery.
    • Be aware that mass-produced cheap bonsai in most cases bring a lot of problems with them, like ugly scars from rusty wire that bit into the bark, unattractive shapes, often poorly grafted branches in odd positions, bad soil and sometimes inappropriate pots without drainage holes. On the other hand, specialised bonsai traders offer everything from young plants, pre-bonsai and pre-styled ficus trees up to high-value bonsai, in most cases well-tended and of good quality.
    Advertisement

Part Two of Seven:
Providing an appropriate position
Edit

  1. 1
    Grow the plant indoors. The ficus bonsai tree is an indoor bonsai which cannot endure frost. It can be kept outside in summer, if temperatures are above 15 degrees C (59ºF).
  2. 2
    Ensure plenty of light. This plant needs lots of light. Full sun is ideal, in the house as well as outside. A very shady position is unfavourable.
    • If the tree is outside, expose it to the ultraviolet radiation gradually or make sure it is defoliated before placing the tree outside.
  3. 3
    Keep the temperature relatively constant. Figs can endure low humidity due to their thick, waxy leaves, but they prefer a higher humidity and need extremely high humidity to develop aerial roots.
    Advertisement

Part Three of Seven:
Watering
Edit

  1. 1
    Water the ficus normally. This means it should be given water generously whenever the soil gets slightly dry. The Bonsai Ficus can tolerate occasional over- or underwatering.
    • Soft water with room temperature is perfect.
    • Daily misting to maintain humidity is advised, but don't overdo this, otherwise fungal problems can appear.
    • The warmer the position of the fig during winter, the more water it needs. If it overwinters at a cooler place it only needs to be kept slightly moist.
    Advertisement

Part Five of Seven:
Pruning
Edit

Part Six of Seven:
Wiring
Edit

  1. 1
    Wire the branches. Wiring of thin to medium-strong ficus branches is easy as they are very flexible. The wires should be checked regularly though, as they cut into the bark very quickly. Strong branches should be shaped with guy-wires because those can be left on the tree for a much longer period.
  2. 2
    Try some special training techniques:
    • Ficus has the ability to fuse plant parts which touch each other with some pressure. So branches, roots or trunks can fuse together and form appealing structures. You can use this feature for example to tie a lot of young plants together and let them fuse to build one strong single trunk. 
    • Fig trees also react very well to approach-grafting of branches and roots and to other grafting techniques. If the growing conditions are ideal, even aerial roots taken from one part of the tree can be grafted in a different position.
  3. 3
    For faster closing of large wounds young plants, shoots or aerial roots can be grafted across the wound. The grower can work on fig trees with nearly unlimited creativity, which increases the appeal of ficus as a bonsai plant considerably. 
  4. 4
    Use the roots as part of the designing. Most ficus bonsai trees can produce aerial roots in their natural habitat, which are often presented in appealing bonsai creations with many aerial root pillars or root over rock styles. To enable aerial root growth in your home, a humidity of nearly 100% must be achieved artificially. You can use a glass cover, fish tank or a construction with transparent sheets for this purpose.
    • Aerial roots grow down vertically from the branches and when they reach the soil they develop into strong pillar-like trunks.
    Advertisement

Community Q&A

Search
Add New Question
  • Do they lose leaves in the fall and come back in the spring?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Figs are evergreen, not deciduous. So they will keep their leaves all year round. If your ficus is losing leaves it could be due to stress.
    Thanks! 4 1
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
Submit

TipsEdit

  • The ficus genus belongs to the family of mulberry plants (Moraceae). There is differing information about the number of existing ficus species, there may be between 800 and 2000. They live on all continents in the tropical regions. Some figs can become very large trees with a crown circumference of more than 300 m (1000 ft). Typical for all fig bonsai species is their milky latex sap, which will leak from wounds or cuts. The tropical figs are evergreen trees, small shrubs or even climbing plants. Some of them can produce nice flowers, while most ficus species have hidden flowers in small receptacles from which the fruit grow. Only specialised pollinating fig wasps can pollinate those hidden flowers.The fruit can be yellow, green, red or purple-blue and are between a few millimeters to several centimeters, like the edible fruit of Ficus carica.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • In tropical climates a single tree can become a forest-like structure and cover an enormous expanse.The leaves of most bonsai ficus species have special pointed tips from which the rainwater drips off. The leaves can be of very different sizes, between 2 and 50 cm long (1 – 20 inches).The trunks have a smooth grey bark in most cases. There are a few species or varieties however with special bark patterns, like the ficus microcarpa "Tigerbark" for example.
    0 Helpful?  0
Add

WarningsEdit

  • Ficus Ginseng Bonsai plants are poisonous for pets, it can be especially dangerous if they eat the leaves. The trees should be placed out of the pets' reach.
    0 Helpful?  2


  • Pests / diseases: The fig species are quite resistant against pests. Depending on the location, especially in winter, a number of problems can occur anyway. Dry air and a lack of light weaken the bonsai ficus and often result in leaf drop. In a poor condition like this, ficus bonsai are sometimes infested with scale or spider mites. Customary systemic insecticide sticks to put into the soil or insecticide/miticide sprays will work, but the weakened ficus' living conditions must also be improved. Plant lamps (shining 12 – 14 hours a day) and frequent misting of the leaves during the recovery can be helpful.
    0 Helpful?  0

About This Article

55 votes - 95%
Co-authors: 4
Updated:
Views: 13,687
Categories: Bonsai

Reader Success Stories

  • S

    Sam

    Sep 22, 2017

    "Love the step for step explanation of how to care for this plant. Especially good for beginners like me!"
  • CM

    Carol Mallard

    Aug 13, 2016

    "Giving one to friend and wanted to know what to tell her about keeping it. Thanks!"
  • VN

    V. Neece

    Feb 7, 2017

    "Nice beginner article. Lots of good basic info on a specific species. Thanks!"
  • SV

    Scott Vanderleest

    Oct 13, 2016

    "Very informative. I was happy with the excellent information."
  • BH

    Bob Holloway

    Sep 11, 2016

    "I'm a beginner, so any information is helpful. Thank you."
  • CJ

    Chuck Jacobs

    Aug 4, 2016

    "Very much helped, thank you for the info."
Share your story

Did this article help you?

Yes
No