Repotting a Root Over Rock Ficus Retusa

Today’s tree is a little out there.  Ugly but cool.  This is one of the trees that was given to me by my neighbor.  He gave me 3 trees, you can read about it here…if you want.

It is a Tiger Bark Ficus planted in the root over rock style. This is a small tree about 4 inches tall.

I love root over rock.  I hate the “ginseng roots.”  But hey, it was a gift and I appreciate it so, I’m gonna give it my all!

Before doing anything or putting it near my other plants I gave it a good wash with insecticidal soap, and trimmed away old or bad leaves.  Don’t ever put new plants right in with your garden.  That’s the #1 way to spread pests/disease to your other trees.

Here is the tree as I received it:20170513_142448

This is actually two very thin containers slipped into each other……here is a better look:20170513_143052

There is very little soil as you can see, but that is okay, the roots are supposed to be fused to the rock as well as growing around and under the rock.

On that note lets hope the roots are fused to the rock.  He said he has been growing it like this for 3 years, so it should be.

Here is what it looks like on the bottom side:20170513_143343

Main goal is not to damage the roots, pulling this out was not an option.  Using my shears I cut slits in the outside container first to get it off.

There were roots growing between the two, take a look:20170513_143243

So I snipped and snipped away at the plastic piece by piece.  You can see below how I was cutting it away.

Now along the bottom I also had to cut between the drain holes to get those roots out in one piece:20170513_143343

So after a little work it’s out:


I only pruned off that long spiraling root and left the rest alone.  Using a hose I removed all the old soil:20170513_144839

It grew a nice amount of roots so that was good.  It was also fused to the rock, another plus.  From here it was easy.  I filled the new pot about 3/4 of the way with soil then placed the tree in.  Poured more soil in and used a pick to make sure air holes were filled.

So here it is in it’s new pot…where it will stay for a while:20170513_150214


I’m not sure yet what the front will be.  Those roots are a slight issue, especially the crisscrossing.

Here is a few different sides of the tree:20170513_15101020170513_15092620170513_150954

Planted in my usual mix of lava, pumice, akadama and pine bark.  It will stay in this pot for a year at least..maybe two.

Well hope you enjoyed it and as usual I’ll keep you posted as it progresses!


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