Thursday, 6 July 2017

Deconstructed Ficus Pumila - six months later

In December 2016 I decided to see if I could turn my Ficus Pumila houseplant into bonsai material.

After trimming off all the excess growth and dividing up the root ball I was left with these seven small plants:

Deconstructed plant - December 2016

At that stage I simply left them to grow, and six months later they have put out a mass of new growth:

Deconstructed plant - six months later

Until this week the only work I'd done was to wire the leader of the cascading plant in an upright direction.

Cascading - December 2016

The same plant wired upright - July 2017

Hopefully that will help to thicken the trunk eventually though Ficus Pumila doesn't seen to thicken easily.

As trunk development is my major goal right now I still haven't done any pruning of substance, merely cutting off a few dead twigs and one small branch that was growing across itself. I also tried to untangle the branches but as they’re far too thin for wiring I’m sure they’ll soon get tangled up again.

I'm reasonably happy with that one's progress. I'm less happy with this one:

December 2016

It had put out a lot of new growth too:

July 2017 - before pruning

Sadly when I starting digging around underneath all that foliage I discovered that one major branch had died. To make matters worse, while cutting that off, one of the thinner branches got caught in the back of my branch cutter - a mistake I’ve now made several times. Will I ever learn?

In the end I cut this one back pretty hard as most of the new growth was in unwanted areas.

July 2017 - after pruning

Time to let it grow again and see what options it offers me.

Ficus Pumila has a tendency to ground layer itself. Some of the remaining plants are already doing that, which means they'll probably have to be deconstructed again if they're ever going to be bonsai. As I’ve got so many trees to take care of I didn’t have time to have a proper look at those right now. I suspect some may be looking for new homes in spring.

Turning these into bonsai isn't going to be as easy as I'd hoped. I like small trees but I’m starting to think these may be a bit too small.