Sunday, 8 November 2015

I Like Small Trees

Tiny Ficus Pumila bonsai
Given the fact that I write a bonsai blog, some people would say that my title is simply stating the obvious. After all, aren't all bonsai small trees? The bonsai enthusiast, however, will be well aware that bonsai come in many sizes, from trees that are small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand to trees that require four or more people to move them.

I've opted to only grow trees that I'm capable of moving unassisted. As a small woman that's quite limiting. I wasn't too happy the day I took one of my biggest trees for critique at our club and the man giving the crit referred to it as a small tree. Then again, most of his trees are so big that he couldn't possibly move them on his own.

But that isn't really the subject of this post. Today I'm talking about miniature bonsai, otherwise known as mame. These little trees are no more than four inches tall. I just measured the little tree in this photo and it's exactly four inches tall. It's the smallest tree I own, making it my only mame, though I'm planning to create a few more, and they'll definitely be fatter than this one. If I can get it right, they may be shorter too.

This little guy is a Ficus Pumila, which is actually a vine, not a tree. I started it by rooting a cutting from a larger house plant, not realising how slowly these plants thicken in a pot. Once I discovered this, it was obvious that the bonsai I developed would be a tiny one.

Because of its size, this tree is a permanent resident in my greenhouse. There are two reasons that I'm not prepared to leave it outside:

  1. On hot summer days the soil would dry out really quickly, meaning I'd need to water it several times a day to keep it alive. In the sheltered environment of my greenhouse I can get away with watering it once a day.
  2. We often get hail where I live, and one occasion, just as I was getting serious about bonsai, we had hail the size of golf balls. A repeat of that would damage my bigger trees, but it would totally destroy this one. I'm not prepared to risk it.

From an aesthetic point of view this tree would probably look better in a shallower pot, but I chose this one based on practical considerations. I'm not sure how long I'd be able to keep it alive in something smaller.

Just as an illustration of the size of this tree, here's a photo of it standing beside an apple.

Tiny Ficus Pumila bonsai standing beside an apple

Linking up with NF Trees n Bushes.

No comments yet, but I'd love to hear your view.

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