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What is the Best Care You Can Provide for Ficus Benjamina Bonsai?

Helpful Tips on How to Care for a Ficus Benjamina Bonsai

Indoor plants are one of the nicest decorations at home that could just perfectly blend with your interiors. Well, of course, not all types of plants or flowers are appropriate as a home decor.

Some plants do grow twice the size when you first bought it. It can just keep on growing until it gets awkwardly big for your home. So if you need a plant decoration for your apartment, office or room, the best choice would be compact and moderate plants. Bonsai, perhaps.

If you end up with a choice of getting yourself a Bonsai but you are a beginner at it, Ficus Benjamina would be the excellent option. I know how difficult it is to choose the best one among the overwhelming list of Bonsai plants. But, trust me, taking good care of a Ficus Benjamina won’t be much of a problem at all.

What is a Ficus Benjamina Bonsai?

Ficus Benjamina, also known as weeping fig, is one of the most popular kind of Bonsai plants. It usually grows on tropical regions and often kept as an indoor plant. Their strong-pillar trunks are developed due to the aerial roots that most Ficus bonsai trees can produce. These aerial roots grow vertically from the branches right down to the soil. However, growing aerial roots is not like any usual planting process. It requires 100% humidity which can be done with a glass cover or fish tank. Construction with transparent sheets will also do.

​The aerial root growth definitely sums up the whole process. That is why the Ficus Benjamina Bonsai incredibly resemble a miniature tree which becomes quite appealing for most homeowners.

In natural conditions, a Ficus Benjamina can grow up to 30 meteres or 98-feet tall along with drooping branchlets and glossy leaves. The leaves are described with special pointed tips. They can be of different sizes which can grow from 6 to 13 centimeters or 1 to 20 inches. The trunks commonly have smooth grey bark.

The Ficus Benjamina is truly a beautiful decorative plant that you can place by the door or window sills. However, if you are suffering from asthma or you are sensitive from the common allergies, it is best to avoid this plant.​

As they are commonly placed indoors, Ficus Benjamina can be the ultimate source of allergens. It actually ranks third as one of the sources of allergy after dusts and pets. It also contains latex which can be harmful for latex allergy sufferers. So, if you are one of the latex allergy patients, do not take this plant inside your house. Too much exposure with this plant can risk your health. It can cause anaphylactic shock.

Suffice the Care Needs of Your Bonsai

If you are clear from any of these common allergies and you are allowed to take a Ficus Benjamina Bonsai at home, how can you maintain its healthy growth? Take a look at these helpful care tips.

  • Position – This is an indoor plant which cannot endure colder temperatures but only up to 15 degrees Celsius or 59 Fahrenheit. But if the temperature goes above that, you should place your Bonsai under a full sun, either inside or outside the house. These plants love humidity, though they can still endure lower humidity because of their waxy and thick leaves. But then, the best condition would be of 100% humidity for the Bonsai to develop aerial roots.
  • Watering - Water your Bonsai regularly to keep it moist. Soft water with a room temperature would be ideal to use. Daily misting or spraying is also recommended to keep the humidity, but do not drown your plant. If you do so, harmful fungal issues might occur. In winter, it may require more water if it is in a warmer condition. If it is in a cooler place, you do not need to apply more water. Just keep it slightly moist as possible.
  • Fertilizing – You can use organic, mineral and liquid fertilizers. It is advisable to apply some fertilizer twice a month during spring and summer. During winter and fall, you can fertilize the tree monthly.
  • Pruning – If you want to keep the tree in its perfect compact shape, pruning is essential. If you notice that leaves are getting abundant, perhaps 6 to 8 leaves, prune back to 2 leaves. To reduce the leaf size, you can also consider applying defoliation once a year.
  • Repotting – Repotting a ficus should be done once every two years. You should be careful when you do this process. If the pot is congested with fibrous roots, take out the 30% of the root length. The roots that circle the pot should be cut down. Loam, clay, sand or a basic soil mixture is recommended for the soil.
  • Wiring – Wiring is necessary to reshape branches. Thin to medium strong branches are easy to wire, but you have to be extra careful when you do this. If thinner or medium strong branches are wired for too long, it might acquire wire marks, or worse, might damage the bark. On the other hand, strong branches are not as easy as the softer ones. They need guy-wires to shape them perfectly.
  • Propagation – Propagation or reproduction is safe to do any time of the year. However, the best season for growing would be mid-summer and air-layering in spring or between April and May.
  • Check the Leaves – The leaves can also indicate if your tree is not healthy. If they are yellow, old and too little, the tree lacks of nutrients or fertilizers. Too much water may have also caused this condition so it would be best to stop watering for the meantime. Overexposure from the sunlight can also cause dry and yellow leaves. You can neutralize this with a light shade. If you notice some brown spots on the edges, the room temperature might be too high, the air is dry or it is overfed. The leaves should always be green, strong and tough.

You can also refer to the video below for further guidelines.

Conclusion

If you are planning to get a Ficus Benjamina Bonsai for your home, proper care and maintenance should be applied. You should be aware how this plant actually grows in order to provide the care it needs. The guidelines and helpful tips mentioned above are some of the steps you should follow.

I hope this article helps you as much as it did to me. If you have any other questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to share them in the comment box below!


Source Links:

  1. http://www.bonsaiempire.com/tree-species/ficus
  2. http://tipsplants.com/plants/house-plants/ficus-benjamina
  3. http://guide.makebonsai.com/bonsai_species_guide_training.asp?SpeciesID=5018

Orange Tree Have Thorns: Should I Really Worry

“Thorns are part of roses, but oranges, I do not think so.” I have heard this statement so many times already and I would just smile each time. This article will discuss if you should worry if your orange tree have thorns on them. We will also tackle if you should use pruning saw or other means to cut them.

Are Thorns on Orange Tree Normal?

To simply answer this, yes. However, you have to acknowledge the fact that thornless trees are also common.

Common Characteristics of Thorns

The thorns are normally seen in the stems, particularly in the part where your buds and leaves start to grow. They are also frequently green and short. You may see long thorns though but it is just because they grow from roots or from the shoots of the plant.

The latter type of thorn should be removed. You can do assess your plant by checking the source of the thorn. If you can see them coming from the unions of graft, cut them off. Normally, this is located 6 inches from the soil.

You have to understand, however, that hybrid orange plants are sometimes void of any thorns at all. The cultivation of orange trees gave rise to thornless species. As of today, some thorny orange plants and trees are producing fruits that are surprisingly sweet as well.

Why Do Orange Trees Have Thorns?

Animals and insects feed on plants. As they feed, it is inevitable that they would get damaged especially while they are still growing. They are then said to develop thorns so as to protect them from getting smashed up. To cut this long explanation short, the thorns are there for their own survival.

It was said that as these plants mature, the thorns eventually becomes little because the plant is already strong to withstand physical bouts.​

​Orange Trees with Thorns

They say that if the orange tree was grown from trees, they will be the thorniest ones. Since they would start as babies they would need more protection from herbivore attacks according to experts. On the other hand, if the orange tree started from an adult orange tree’s budding then it will not grow long thorns as much as the other one.

Unfortunately, it has been observed that the more thorns your orange tree has, the less desirable the fruit it will bear. People also notice that thorny orange trees sometimes do not bear fruit.

From a friend who is an arborist, I have learned though that there is a certain phase in which the orange tree can really be or is expected to be thorny and fruitless. It can go from months to weeks but this is just a phase. As the foliage develops, it will soon have blunt extensions and bear fruit in the long run.

Apart from their specific origin, there are particular trees that have thorns. The most popular type is the trifoliate orange trees. This specific type of tree has convoluted thorns on their branches of about 2 inches long. Unlike the others, the fruits that trifoliate oranges produce are not sweet and they have many seeds inside.

Generally speaking, Rutaceae is the family of orange tree that normally has thorns. This family has 2,000+ species of mostly shrubs and trees. Citrange, tangerine, bergamot orange, mandarin, and other citrus sinensis fruits are expected to bear thorns.

There are some situations though that may cause orange plants and trees to bear thorns. For example, if the orange tree is dehydrated or the orange plant has been in a pot for so long, they would grow prickly stems in the long run.

Is it Okay to Remove the Thorns?

If the thorns of the orange tree are hurting you and if you have the luxury of time to get rid of them, I do not see any reason why you should not prune your thorns. It will not be detrimental to the health of your citrus tree, don’t worry.

Here’s a good video that will teach you how to prune citrus tree:

Make sure that when you are pruning your orange trees, you make use of proper protective equipment so as not to hurt yourself. It is also important to learn proper techniques so that you can enjoy long-lasting effects. Lastly, ensure that the tools you are going to make use of are effective and it will not make the task more stressful since this is not as enjoyable as you take care of your bonsai trees.

Conclusion

There are indeed types of orange trees that have thorns and there is nothing to be worried about. You may prune them if they are hurting you or you can make the most out of it by providing safety homes for animals and insects.

I hope you learned something from this article, if you did, please do not forget to share.


Sources :

  1. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/citrus/thorns-on-citrus-trees.htm
  2. https://www.britannica.com/plant/Rutaceae
  3. http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/1822223/thorns-on-orange-tree
  4. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/citrus/thorns-on-citrus-trees.htm
  5. https://www.homeguides.sfgate.com/type-orange-tree-thorns-55620.html
  6. https://extension.arizona.edu/pubs/az1455.pdf

What are These Tiny White Bugs in Soil? +Other Things You Need to Know Now

Your garden can surprise you in so many ways. You can see blooms you did not predict, unexpected plant hybrids and even unwarranted visitors. It is somehow understandable for people to ask about the tiny white bugs in soil they saw perhaps in their compost.

Today, we will check if we should get worried with them or not.

Soil 101

To be a successful farmer, one must first know the nature of the soil. – Xenophon

We are aware that the soil does not only contain rock sediments and nutrients but also life forms in different shapes and sizes. We have discussed its layering as well and how possible it is for gardeners to actually imitate nature and build soils.

​I understand, nonetheless, that sometimes the presence of new creatures such as tiny white bugs can make us wonder and even anxious.

Tiny White Bugs in Soil

The problem people encounter is that these bugs may belong to different animal kingdoms. So it is very important that you know how to classify them accordingly.

Look at them closely. Make use of a magnifying glass if you need to just to be able to see their characteristics. You should also be able to identify which part of the plant they are really staying. Is it on the leaves? Stems? Or Soil? From there, you would be able to know if they are soil mites, spider mites, root maggots, or fungus gnat larvae.

Aphids

You can see them lurking at the soil part because they enjoy it when they thrive in the roots of the plants. You can, however, see some of them pooling at the leaves and stems.

They are also called as plant lice and their population can grow very fast. They are often invisible just like your russet mites

Fungus Gnat Larvae

These little bug-like creatures loves staying on soil surfaces that are damp. You should not allow them to stay long with your plants because they consume the roots and get the nutrients of the plants. Eventually, the health of the plant will deteriorate and there is a huge probability that it can die in the long run.

The larvae have black shiny heads and do not have legs. They are yellow-white in color and they become dark as they grow old.

Root Maggots

This kind of species love staying at the roots of plants bearing fruits and vegetables. Although minute, these are sometimes considered as pests. They can deform the fruit, make the growth process of the fruit abnormal, and predisposes the plant to diseases.

The larvae of these maggots look like a common housefly. They are color yellowish-white. You can commonly see them in soils where you plant broccoli, cabbage, chayote, onions, and turnips.

Soil mites

They appear as little dots moving around the soil area. They are considered beneficial and a good part of the plant’s ecosystem. They do not bring any danger to the plants. They feed on decaying matters, hence, compost is the best habitat for them.

There are different classifications of soil mites such as worm bin mites and oribatid mites.

Getting Rid​

The saliency of assessing the bug correctly is irrefutable. If you fail to identify the mites, you will not be able to tell what kind of bug they really are. However, as a rule of the thumb, if you cannot properly describe them, you might want to check out how your plants are doing. If they seem untouched, then these creepy crawlers can stay as long as they want.

On the other hand, if you see some changes in your plant or if you positively identified them as pests, you have to eradicate them as soon as possible. There are different techniques you can make use of:

  1. You can use pesticide accordingly. This, however, will not be a good idea if you are growing an organic garden. But if not, there are many commercially prepared mixtures available in the market. You can also do your own concoction alternatively.
  2. For organic gardens, on the other hand, sticking with the traditional homemade barriers, garden fabrics, row covers, plant collars and sticky traps can help you. Neems and beneficial insects can also control some bugs.
  3. Hot pepper, wood ashes, and diatomaceous soil can keep away flies.

Conclusion

Bugs are not really pleasing to the eyes even if they are actually beneficial. They can cause anxiety that is why you have to know how to properly label them.

I hope this guide made things clearer for you. If you have any techniques on how to identify tiny white bugs in soil please feel free to share your experience or ideas in the comment box below!


Sources:

  1. https://garden.org/learn/library/pests/bugmugs/
  2. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/soil-mites-info.htm
  3. htmhttps://www.gardeners.com/how-to/root-maggot/5312.html
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