If you are looking for a traditional bonsai, the ficus bonsai may be ideal for you.
The exact number of existing ficus species is not certain, but there may well be anywhere between 1000 and 2000 in total.
This style of bonsai is highly popular in traditional bonsai designs because the aerial root system of this family of fig is highly conducive to design and styling.
Also, ficus has the interesting ability to fuse parts that touch and so form interesting features. This further adds to the appeal of this species.
Suitable for the standard bonsai design, as well as root over rock styles, the ficus bonsai is a versatile, relatively hardy tree that is fairly easy to care for. It can be kept indoors or outdoors, although extra care is required if you intend to keep a ficus bonsai outdoors because the temperature should remain above 15 degrees Centigrade (59F).
Like many plants, ficus bonsai trees require a period of dormancy, where the plant is given time to recover from the blooming and growing season. During this period, the plant is kept in slightly colder temperatures than when it is in bloom.
This can take place indoors, so long as the temperature near the plant remains cold enough that the tree does not come out of dormancy. This is particularly important, as a tree coming out of dormancy too early can cause problems.
It is possible for ficus bonsai trees to be maintained year round, although this can damage some species. If you are planning on keeping your ficus bonsai in full leaf year round, you will need to ensure that the plant does not fall into dormancy.
If the tree goes into dormancy, you should arrange conditions so that the tree can remain in dormancy, so as to prevent damage to the tree.
Ficus bonsai training can be achieved by bonsai growers of all experience levels. This is one of the reasons this style of tree is very popular. It can be sculpted into complex scenes, or guided for a more natural appearance with relative ease.
Given the fact that the ficus bonsai group contains many varieties of figs, there are species that are harder to care for, and some that are easier to care for. Therefore it is important to research this species before acquiring one.
It should be remembered that the fruits of several ficus bonsai are not edible, although some varieties do produce edible fruits. It is vital that you are aware of the edibility if the fruit before eating any that might grow from your bonsai. In many cases however, especially with dwarf ficus, the tree will either never produce fruit or fruits that are produced are too small for consumption.
Never eat a fruit from a ficus bonsai unless you have confirmation that it is not poisonous!
For further information on caring for bonsai trees check out other articles on this site.