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How To Fertilize A Green Island Fig Bonsai

Ask the Expert: Fertilization of Green Island Fig Bonsai

How often should you fertilize a Green Island Fig? I haven’t fertilized mine yet because I thought it was in dormancy. Then the bottom leaves of every branch have one by one turned yellow with spots. I figure this is because I have not fertilized it yet, but I’m really not sure. I want to save it!!  I would greatly appreciate your help!! Ains.


The yellow leaves are probably due to stress rather than lack of fertilizer.  Green Island Fig is a member of the Ficus genus – Ficus microcarpa retusa to be exact.  As with all Ficus, any small change in its environment can stress it and cause leaf loss and yellowing.  Watering, temperature and location changes can cause the plant stress.  If the any of these instances have occurred simple wait it out.  Correct any over watering or under watering problems but don’t go to the extreme.  In other words if it needs water give it a small amount and if too much water let it dry slightly before watering.  Make sure the temperature remains constant and that you don’t change the location for a long time.  In a few weeks the plant should recover.

As for fertilization, I would not fertilize the plant at this point.  Green Island Figs can go without fertilizer for some time.  Lack of fertilizer will stunt the growth but not kill the plant.  Once the plant has recovered from it’s shock, you can fertilize it.  You can use a water soluble general purpose house plant fertilize at 1/4 strength every 4 weeks year round.  Another fertilizer method for this plant is to use the same fertilizer at the same rate but every other week during the growing season and stopping fertilizer during the winter months.  This thought process follows the principle that plant need a dormancy period.  Both of these fertilizer methods are great for Green Island Fig in any form bonsai or simply potted.  If you want to follow bonsai recommendations specifically, you will need to find a fertilizer that specifically addresses bonsai.  It should also be water soluble and will need to be mixed at a rate of 1/2 strenth and used every two weeks until winter when it should be used every 4 to 6 weeks.

Hopefully this information will help you with your Green Island Fig.  Good Luck and please keep me posted.


  1. Thank you so much! It may have been the change in temperature from the winter months. Perhaps it is getting a cold draft from my window.

  2. The yellow leaves are probably because he is fairly new to my home. Your reply helped a lot!

  3. judith campbell says:

    how do I PRUNE ETC, and how often.

  4. Judith,

    What are you wanting to prune? It depends on the plant. Many flowers prefer to be pruned while they are dormant during the late fall to early spring. Here is a great article that covers pruning for different types of plants.