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Ficus Retusa Bonsai For Sale + Care Guide

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The ficus retusa bonsai is an excellent choice if you are a beginner to indoor bonsai trees and also a great choice if you are already an expert at bonsai and that’s why I have made this ficus retusa bonsai for sale article.

This type of ficus is also known as the Taiwan ficus or Banyan fig, whatever you call it you can definitely create an absolutely beautiful bonsai specimen out of it.

The aspects that make this a great-looking little bonsai tree are its small oval-shaped dark green leaves and its trunk that is easy to grow thick and strong to make it look like a full-sized tree (bonsai should look just like full-sized trees but tiny in size in comparison).

The bark of this tree is a reddish to grey color and it has horizontal markings on it which make it appear kind of like a tigers markings.

If you are looking to purchase an indoor bonsai tree then you should buy a ficus retusa bonsai as it is one of the most tolerant and versatile varieties which will allow you to have success in a large variety of conditions.

Things that make the ficus retusa a great indoor bonsai:

  • It’s versatile so you can grow it practically anywhere.
  • It has beautiful bark which makes for a great looking trunk.
  • Beginners or experts can create stunning bonsai with this tree.
  • Small leaves make it easy to shape to look like a full-sized tree.

(There are affiliate links in this blog post, and if you click any of the affiliate links and buy the products, I’ll earn a commission. However, this will never affect the price you pay.)

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Check out my article on all the best varieties of indoor bonsai trees for sale.

How often should you water your ficus retusa bonsai?

How often you need to water your ficus retusa bonsai depends mostly on your local climate or the temperature you keep your house at. If you create or live in a hot environment for your bonsai it will obviously dry out quicker than if you create or live in a cooler environment.

Because bonsai grow in small pots they do tend to become dry quite quickly and this means you will probably have to give it water every 1-2 days during the summer months and less during the winter months.

Bonsai trees don’t like their soil to completely dry out yet at the same time they don’t like the soil to be completely soaking all the time so it is a balancing act.

It is simple enough to tell if your bonsai needs to be watered, all you do is look at the soil and if the top of the soil looks completely dry it’s probably time to give it some water.

To confirm your ficus retusa bonsai needs to be watered you should stick your finger in the soil and if it is dry for more than the top centimeter it’s time to give it some water.

Do you need to use fertilizer on your ficus retusa bonsai?

Because bonsai trees are grown in such small pots and even if you grow a large bonsai in the largest bonsai pot it will still have a relatively small amount of soil for their roots to grow in.

This results in bonsai using up all the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong pretty quickly.

You definitely will have to use fertilizer on your ficus retusa bonsai tree or any other type of bonsai if you want to keep it thriving and healthy.

Also, it’s not simply a case of giving it fertilizer once or twice per year as you may do on a lawn, you will have to give it pretty constant fertilizer on a regular basis throughout the year.

Depending on the type of fertilizer you choose you are going to have to apply it as per the instructions but you may end up having to apply fertilizer every week to keep your bonsai nice and healthy.

What is the best fertilizer for your ficus retusa bonsai?

When you are choosing the best fertilizer for your ficus retusa bonsai tree there are lots of different products you could choose.

There are many general-purpose fertilizers that will work just fine on bonsai and you could choose one of them.

However, I prefer to pay a little bit more and use a specialist bonsai fertilizer product as it just means I don’t have to worry about whether I have picked the right product that will give my bonsai the biggest boost or chosen a fertilizer that might actually have a detrimental effect on the health of my bonsai tree.

When it comes to picking what type of fertilizer to go for there are two main options:

  • Slow-release fertilizer – the advantage of using a slow-release fertilizer is that it gets slowly released. This means you only need to apply the fertilizer every couple of months then each time you water your bonsai some of the fertilizer will be slowly released.
  • Liquid Fertilizer – If you choose a liquid fertilizer it normally comes in a concentrated form which means you need to dilute it in the water you feed your tree. When you use a liquid fertilizer you should follow the instructions but you will probably end up having to apply it once per week.

In addition to bonsai fertilizer, I actually use vitamins and minerals supplements as well, because, if you love bonsai as much as I do you will go above and beyond the minimum requirements to succeed.

Check out my full article on the best fertilizers for bonsai.

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Does ficus retusa bonsai need sunlight?

All living things need light to survive and thrive but the real question here is what type of light does a ficus bonsai tree need?

Ficus bonsai don’t need to be in the full blazing and direct sun for many hours every day to survive, the main thing is that it gets enough light which can be acquired by keeping it in a bright room.

If you can keep your bonsai in a bright room and position it so that it gets a couple of hours where the sunlight shines directly on it every day that would be fine.

This is why bonsai are so popular as decorative pieces and you find many get kept on a coffee table etc. as an ornament.

Ficus Retusa bonsai are able to tolerate full sun so if you want to keep your bonsai in a south-facing window or even move it outside during the summer months then go for it your bonsai will be fine.

The only thing you need to be aware of is that your bonsai becomes used to the light you have it in and you should try and only gradually change the amount of light it gets because the leaves may get burnt in full sun if your tree is not used to it.

Keep this in mind and if you are moving your tree outdoors for the summer you should move it in stages and put it out for ¼ of the day then ½ the day until it gets used to the direct sun and you can keep it out all day.

If you want more light: check out my article on the best cheap grow lights.

When is the best time to prune ficus retusa bonsai?

Spring is definitely the best time to prune your ficus retusa bonsai tree.

This is because when you prune a tree it will put it under stress and stress can actually kill trees the same as animals.

By doing any major pruning work in the spring it will mean your bonsai will be going through its recovery from the pruning during the summer which is the peak growing time and this should result in a nice and healthy bonsai that produces fresh growth after you prune it.

You should do any major pruning during spring but this is not the only time to prune your bonsai.

You will probably notice fresh shoots and branches that spurt out at certain times of the year that ruin the look of your delicately crafted bonsai, chop them off if you really want to.

It is ok to do light pruning of your ficus retusa bonsai throughout the year but just make sure you only do major pruning work during the springtime.

Check out my article on all the tools and supplies you will ever need.

How to shape your ficus retusa bonsai?

The main tool you have to shape your ficus retusa bonsai is how you prune it.

You can use wire to gently bend the branches but back in the day wire didn’t get anywhere near bonsai and the shape was completely controlled by how you prune your tree.

The goal when you are creating the shape of your bonsai is to recreate the shape of a full-sized tree that you would find in nature but just make it a miniature version.

Remember when you prune your bonsai right back it will generate lots of new leaves and fresh shoots as a result.

Trunk thickening

If you want to significantly thicken the trunk of your bonsai you should let it grow wild for 1-2 years without any pruning.

When you do this you will then have to chop off some relatively thick branches to get it back into bonsai shape (It feels hard to make this decision but has to be done).

Leaf pruning

To prune the leaves you want to keep the leaves to a minimalist style for a genuine bonsai look.

When the branch has 8 leaves on it you should prune it right back until there are only 2 leaves left per branch.


If there are branches that are growing upwards or at the wrong angle and you don’t want to chop them off then you should use wire to guide them to your preferred angle.

To use wire you should anchor one end to the pot and wrap the other end around the branch you want to move.

This is fairly easy on a ficus retusa because the branches are pretty flexible.

Check every few months if the branch will hold its new angle and when it does you should remove the wire.

Do ficus retusa bonsai trees lose their leaves?

If you have an indoor ficus retusa bonsai tree then it should not lose its leaves during the winter.

Some leaves dropping off is what naturally happens to trees but your indoor bonsai should not drop all of its leaves and if you think your bonsai is heading in that direction then you have a problem.

The main reasons that will cause an indoor ficus retusa bonsai to lose its leaves are:


If you overwater your bonsai you will cause root rot.

For your tree to be affected by root rot it’s not a case of overwatering it once or twice but actually overwatering it for a period of months. When root rot sets in you will notice your bonsai starting to wither and it will start to drop its leaves.

To solve overwatering leaf drop you should repot your bonsai in fresh soil that has better drainage and cut back on watering.


If you have been under-watering your bonsai that could be a cause of the leaves to fall off.

When you underwater your bonsai and the roots dry out the leaves will start to fall off, unlike overwatering this may only take a couple of days of being dry for the leaves to start falling off.

If this gets too bad and all the leaves fall off there is no cure and it will be the end of your bonsai tree so make sure you do not underwater your bonsai!

I hope you have found some useful information in my ficus retusa bonsai for sale article. If you don’t have a bonsai yet you should definitely buy one as it is an amazing and satisfying hobby to have. 

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