The Ficus is commonly used as a houseplant. However with between 200 and 800 species including the common fig, there are many varieties that are suited for bonsai as well. Other common species include the weeping fig, Port Jackson fig (ficus rubiginosa) and Australian Fig (ficus platypoda) Although very common in warmer and tropical climates, ficus is also used for indoor bonsai in North America and Europe.
For healthy development of the tree, it will require regular maintenance and care.
Although kept as an indoor plant, the ficus still requires a lot of sunlight for the proper development of its leaves. Direct sunlight is the best and if kept indoors, it should be placed in a location that has access to lots of direct sunlight.
In colder climates, a ficus will die if exposed to frost therefore it is vital that it is brought indoors when temperatures get lower than 60 F (15 C)
The tree should be watered only when necessary (check that the soil is dry each time before adding water) since it does not like being water logged
Fertilizer: can be added during the trees growing season.
Pruning a Bonsai Ficus
As a rule ficus can grow every fast therefore they should be pruned regularly to control their size and shape. A common feature in all the species is that they all have a milky latex sap when cut. Regular pruning will also reduce the size of the leaves, making them more proportionate to the size of the tree.
Guide to pruning
Regular pruning can be done all year round while heavy /hard pruning is best done in spring and only on healthy plants.
Bonsai cut paste can be added to the wound for larger cuts to prevent loss of moisture.
Pinching can be done to thinner branches to create a denser look; to do this, when a branch has 4 leaves 2 can be removed, for general pruning,2 leaves can be removed for every 10 leaves.
For every 10 leaves, 2 can be pruned although protruding branches can also be manipulated using wire. After heavy pruning, the tree should be placed in a shade to recover from pruning.
Can be done once every two years, and this is the perfect opportunity to prune the roots as well.
Pests and Diseases
Although they have a high resistance to pests and diseases, they can be attacked by scales. For more information on pests and diseases that can attack bonsai trees, see this article.