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Bonsai ficus benjamin

Exposure and watering

In the areas of origin, the bonsai ficus benjamina can live in the open air all year round. In Italy, in particular in the center-north, it should be grown in an apartment. It should be placed in a bright environment, preferably near a window, facing south. However, attention must be paid to the lens effect caused by the glass which can damage the leaves. It should also be placed away from heat sources (radiators, fireplaces and stoves that dry the air) and from drafts. It fears temperatures below 10/12 ° C. In summer, it can also be moved outside, while avoiding direct sunlight which could burn the leaves. The benjamin bonsaio benjamina, being a tropical plant, needs a good degree of ambient humidity. Habitat, which can be guaranteed by the use of a saucer with water and expanded clay and by nebulizations on the leaves especially in the summer period (even daily). It should be watered regularly throughout the year, avoiding stagnation of water that could cause rottenness to the root system. In summer, better watered in the morning or in the evening. Proceed to watering, when the soil is dry to the touch.

Pruning


There are two types of pruning, training and maintenance. The first must be done in winter, when the plant is in the period of vegetative stasis, and is necessary to give the desired shape to our bonsai. Opposing branches, those that are damaged or dead, those that intersect each other, those that grow too vertically must be eliminated, using the shears available in every bonsai kit that can be found in specialized stores. During the vegetative period, maintenance interventions will be carried out which will be frequent, as the bonsai ficus benjamin has a rather fast growth. The plant also tolerates drastic pruning, provided the wounds are treated with healing paste or mastic. The ficus benjamin, emits a white latex from cuts that causes skin irritation and eye damage in case of contact. Regular and frequent topping and pinching and defoliation operations should also be performed, to reduce the size of the leaves which would otherwise be too large. They do not tolerate tying with wires and tie rods, and for this reason its shape must be set almost exclusively with pruning.

Soil and fertilization


The soil of the ficus benjamina bonsai must be a bit acidic, rich in nutrients, and draining. The ideal one is made up half of universal soil and the other half of a mixture of sand, peat and pumice. Fertilizers are very important for the care and growth of the ficus benjamin bonsai, in consideration of the small amount of soil present in the pot. The fertilizations themselves must be carried out during the whole vegetative period of the plant which goes from spring to autumn, taking care to stop in the hottest months (July and August). Both organic and chemical fertilizers, as well as mixed, liquid or solid fertilizers can be used. In case of use of liquid fertilizers, it is necessary to intervene every 15/20 days by diluting them in water. If, on the other hand, a solid fertilizer is used, which must be slow-breaking, the frequency of administration will be longer (30/40 days). Some types of solid fertilizer emit a bad smell and for this type of bonsai, which lives mostly in the house, it would be advisable to buy an odorless one, to prevent it from spreading throughout the house. Fertilization is essential to restore nutrients.

Bonsai ficus benjamin: Repotting, pests and diseases


With the repotting operation, the root system of the bonsai ficus benjamin will be reduced(especially the woody part), to renew the soil (which will give new nutritional principles), and eventually to replace the pot (although sometimes it can remain the same). The best time to do this is spring (May), when the plant is preparing to vegetate. Repotting is done every year, or at most every two, for the younger plants, and every 3/5 years for the adult ones. The bonsai ficus benjamina is subject to parasitic attacks such as scale insects. These small parasites ruin the tissues of the leaves and suck their sap, and then release excrements that attract fungi and insects. You can fight them manually using a brush with not too hard bristles, or even by nebulizing the hair with a solution based on pine oil, purchasable at specialized shops. In addition, excess water can cause leaves to fall or weaken. The same inconvenience can be caused by a lowering of the ambient temperature or by poor lighting.

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