Oriental Ficus Coiled is most suited for bonsai training

Oriental Ficus Coiled, which is an evergreen tree with a strong trunk and shiny leaves, belongs to the fig family. It is indigenous to South and South-East Asia and is primarily a tropical plant. It is a preferred variety for bonsai training because of features like knotty roots, good branching, and its positive response to indoor conditions. The exposed roots and the strength of the trunk give it an ancient look.

It needs proper watering and a temperature that ranges from 60 F to 85 F. Misting is necessary to compensate for low humidity. In winters, the bonsai should not be kept near the stove. For this variety, the best possible exposure is the bright eastern or northern window. Places where soil dries quickly are not advisable. The pot should also be placed away from electronic gadgets, especially those that generate extra heat.

Besides misting, another method to maintain humidity is the use of humidity trays. These are shallow trays with pebbles in them and sufficient water to cover the small stones. These are kept near the pot. As water evaporates, humidity is generated.

The Ficus is susceptible to light change and can shed its leaves within 10 to 20 days of change. This can happen even when the weather changes during October-November or February. This is, however, a natural process and new foliage sprouts within 30 days.

Re-potting can be done any time of the year but not when it is growing new shoots. The periodicity for re-potting is 1 to 2 years till it is 10 years old; thereafter it may be re-potted after 3 to 5 years. A well-drained soil mix is good for re-potting.

The Ficus requires trimming and pinching. The best time is early summer. Pinching several times during the growing period ensures a full, thick growth. Pruning removes unwanted twigs and helps in proper foliage growth. Pruning is, in a way, amputating the plant’s limb and should be done carefully. A clean cut will help quick healing.

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