Today I was walking by the garden center of Walmart and saw their “bonsai” section. It was a sad little display of trees. There were a couple Fukien Teas, some ginseng ficus, but I was surprised to find a couple bigger ficus microcarpa (or retusa?) s-shaped trees. I was really surprised when I looked at the price though, just $10.88 each!
Of course the rocks on the top were glued together and the soil it was in seems like pure peat. I pulled each one out of the pot and put it into better soil. There was probably an inch of trunk buried on each one. The roots looked good, but there weren’t that many. I rinsed them, but didn’t cut any back. I clipped all the growth that was popping out in the crevices so that there were only two branches at each split. I don’t want any weird bulges or whorls as it grows out. Didn’t really take off anything else.
Hopefully as it gets warmer and closer to summer these guys explode with growth. I already have ideas about where I am going to take them in the next couple of years. I’m going to cut them back pretty hard to get rid of the generic S shape, but that can wait until they get stronger.