Walmart "Bonzai"

Has anyone seen the current crop of faux Bonzai at Walmart? The are selling for $10 but I was able to pick one up for half price out of a bunch that looked like it had freeze or sun burn. Most of them were pretty shriveled up and sorry looking but one had some promise so, unable to resist a plant in need, I hauled it home, trimmed off the top of the damages branches (taking out about 1/4 to 1/3 of the plant) and now it looks pretty respectable. The branches oozed a milky sap briefly after being cut. I have no idea what plant this is. I suspect some sort of ficus but I don't know ficus at all. It has a most interesting and contorted root system.
I'd appreciate it if you would take a look at it and see if you can identify it. Go to: http://community.webshots.com/user/deerhnd
It's the first photo in the PLANTS and GARDENS folder. (That should be the first folder, too.)
And if anyone can tell me what Walmart pours over the gravel layer on top of the soil that turns it into a solid, unmoveable mass, could you share that info, too?
Thx.
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Looks like ficus retusa. Here's another pic to compare
www.bonsai-collectables.com/Ficus%20retusa.jpg
HTH Janet.
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BINGO! That's it! Thank you.
(Sorry about the spelling of bonsai. Momentary insanity, I guess. :)
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It is probably a Ficus because it is simple to get a nice knarled bark and shape at the base in a short span of time. Don't be freaked when it loses its leaves, if it does. It's normal and the foliage will come back if you keep it evenly moist, not wet, not dry.
On Mon, 19 Feb 2007 20:54:16 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

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What causes the loss of leaves? I wonder if the other ones that were being sold for $5 ea. due to their leaves being shriveled and dry are actually going to recover?
This plant had brown spots on the leaves (not scale, the brown parts were sort of indented into the leaves) which made me think they got cold exposure during our recent cold snap but it's just a guess on my part.
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On 2007-02-20 07:52:10 -0500, FragileWarrior

Ficus are stupendously picky about their location. I love them but don't own them anymore because the littlest thing can cause them to drop leaves. Sometimes they recover, sometimes not. They don't like to be moved, IME, and they like a certain amount of sunlight.
--
Tara


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That's a lot more true of ficus benjimina than ficus retusa. Ficus retusa are pretty much tough as nails.
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On Tue, 20 Feb 2007 12:52:10 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

Immediate changes in light, over watering, under watering.

If the plant you posted is the plant you have, it looks healthy. Ficus does not like to be moved around a lot. I have two large trees and I move them indoors in winter, unless we put the greenhouse up, then I put them in there. I didn't put up the greenhouse this year, so...kitchen. Both lost many leaves when I moved them into a different lighting situation. Even if you put a plant in a south facing window, two inches from the glass, it will only get half the direct sun it got outside.
So, your plant looks fine. If it loses leaves, it will be fine. That's what I told you in another post. Don't worry if it happens. Evenly moist, plenty of light, outside in summer (and it may need several waterings a day outside in that small pot) and you'll be fine.
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All trees shed leaves, even the most evergreen and hardy, (which ficus is not).
Ficus is a warmclimate plant. Kept in ideal conditions it will stay in leaf for years, just gently shedding the oldest ones occasionally. However, it will shed more leaves (or, all leaves) if it gets stressed, such as chilled, dried out, or a cold draft of air. Even indoors, houseplant ficus may suddenly drop the leaves if you move them from one room to another where it's a bit brighter or darker. So, if you move it, pick your moment and make it gradual, no sudden extreme changes.
Janet
Janet.
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It's a wonder they use those plants for their bonsai trees then. You'd think the shock of traveling from the distributor to Walmart and then being hustled all around the store -- in the dead of winter, no less -- would put them ALL on the discount table in short order.
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FragileWarrior wrote:

Did WalMart really label it "bonzai"? A plant dwarfed and shaped through careful pruning and constraining its roots is a bonsai. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/index.html#misnom .
--
David E. Ross

Natural foods can be harmful: Look at all the
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The misspelling was mine. (Sorry 'bout that.) They labeled it a bonsai though. I knew it wasn't but, dang, for $5, I can live with it.
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Okay, that must be where I came up with the alternate spelling. I confess to being rather on the tired side when I posted. It's my only defense. :)
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On Tue, 20 Feb 2007 12:53:23 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

Don't worry about this, we all get this way at times. BTW, the word bonsai means tree in pot. Sticklers will say what you have is not bonsai, but I disagree. If you look at the girth of the trunk, clearly this is not a young plant. It's not one of the sexier bonsai's I've seen, but it is considered bonsai.
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Gee, if this isn't a young plant, how do they sell them so cheaply? When you figure the length of care that the plant had to have had, the pot, the soil, the transportation, the cost to the retailer -- how would anyone make any money unless this plant was very young??
I never thought of a bonsai as sexy before but I see your point. Actually the trunk on this one is better than it looks in the photo. I was just balancing the plant and my camera and didn't catch the right angle on it.
I only wish it didn't have the rocks epoxied to the surface of the soil!
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On Tue, 20 Feb 2007 14:43:59 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

They are imported, or they are grown in warm climates outdoors where greenhouse space is a premium. Everything in the industry comes down to space and length any given plant takes to be complete enough to put to market.

You can take a pair of pliers and pry the rocks out of the epoxy. It shouldn't be that hard. If it's solid it can impede gas exchange of the plant and kill it.
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Didn't realize you were an IW lover. I'll use a different signature this time...
--
Toni Carroll
South Florida USA
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I loved them dearly but the lifespan just did me in -- especially when the pair of sisters died just months apart. And out of three IWs, the three causes of death were just horrible: e coli in the lungs, bone cancer and torsion. In thirty years of owning sighthounds I had never had ANY of those before. I'm trying out a Scottish Deerhound now to see if the lifespan will be better. (But I love all sighthounds, actually.)
I used to walk my IW around the falls in Niagara Falls and the tourists would LOVE to take photos of him standing up with his paws on my shoulders. He must have photos in hundreds of countries today. :)
Your IWs are lovely. I miss having one around. If they could just fix that lifespan/bone cancer problems, I'd own a dozen of them. I can't for the life of me imagine someone giving up a pair of them because they changed their mind about owning them. I don't think God made a better dog in the whole world. I still remember how my male would prowl the house each night checking on each of his humans... God forbid someone shut their bedroom door. He'd bang on it until they answered and he could see they were all right. There are some things that you just can't train dogs to do... God, I miss him so much.
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On Feb 19, 12:54 pm, FragileWarrior

I thinks it's some hybrid of a Rhododendron and something else?!?!?!?!
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On Feb 19, 12:54 pm, FragileWarrior

Ficus retusa are actually pretty robust plants, not like the wimpier Ficus Benjimina you see all over the place.
Yank that glued down layer of rocks out of the pot with a pair of pliers. It's keeping your plant from being watered properly and from getting air to its roots.
I have a couple bonsai I rescued like this. One is a ficus, the other is a fuchien tea plant.
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