Ficus Techniques : 48

Repotting A Large Ficus Without Help

by Jerry Meislik

This is a Ficus microcarpa that I imported from Taiwan in 1989.

Since then it has been in the same pot but repotted every 2-3 years. Interestingly the tree has surprisingly few fine roots for such a large tree with masses of foliage. This seems typical for this species of Ficus under my growing conditions.

I never felt the rectangular pot was particularly a good match for this tree but getting another pot of the appropriate size proved a difficult task.

The tree has been in this same pot since 1989

I finally found a light brown oval pot in 2011 that looked about the right size and I had it shipped to me. The first one came shattered into bits but the second one survived without any problems.

Normally, I have 3 people at hand when I repot my larger bonsai but my usual bonsai helpers were not available so I took on the task of repotting the tree by myself.

First, I removed as much soil as I could leaving the tree where it stood in its pot.

Once much of the soil was removed I could tip the tree back with one hand while I removed more soil from underneath the trunk.

Next the tree was lifted out and placed on top of the new pot. Ficus have relatively light wood and the trunk was not too heavy to lift by myself.

The remaining soil in the old pot was removed and then the old pot was lifted away with my wife's help.

Once the tree was sitting on the new pot it was apparent that some of the large root system would need to be removed to get it to fit into the new pot.

Holding the tree on the new pot to determine how much of the root must be removed

The new pot was a bit smaller than the old pot.

Removing some roots

Large existing roots were sawed off. Cut paste was applied to the largest cuts.

New soil was mounded in the center of the pot.

The tree was placed onto the mound and new soil gradually added around the roots.

Soil was settled in and around the roots with a chopstick.

Roots being adjusted down into the soil

Ficus in its new pot, 2011

The new pot seems to suit the tree very well.


All Rights Reserved © Ficus Forum 2011