Monday, 4 December 2017

A New Option for an Old Ficus

When I joined my club in late 2007 I got rather bogged down by the rules for branch placement and for a while it seemed that I was trying to turn every tree into the "perfect" informal upright. It was only a couple of years later when I was looking for candidate trees to put on the club show that I realised that my more developed trees all looked very similar. That didn't make me very happy.

Over the years I've slowly learned to do things differently and some of the trees from my early days are now undergoing radical transformations. However the Ficus Natalensis I started as a cutting shortly before I joined the club is still very much on the path I first set out for it.

After time spent in a bonsai pot I moved it back into a training pot in November 2015 but all the new growth hasn't made a great difference and I'm still not happy with its overall appearance:

November 2017

During a routine haircut a new idea came to me. I'm contemplating removing the first branch, changing the slant ever so slightly and flattening the knob at the first bend. I'm not going to rush into making any drastic changes that I may come to regret though. That's why for now the only restyling was done in Photoshop.

Virtual pruning in Photoshop

What would you do if this was your tree?


  1. I like your idea, but if it is tall and slender without the lower branch, I would be inclined to attempt a forest with it. Though personally for some reason I would be more satisfied to let the lower branch grow abundantly and get more taper OR to try to gain the taper you have towards the top in a shorter tree (maybe by chopping and regrowing above the second branch).

    I actually don't have a ton of ficus experience yet, so I'm not sure how long any of these would take, but it is nice to have so many options at this stage.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I had thought about that option but the bottom branch is horribly straight and I've been fighting for years trying to get it to backbud without success. Removing the top really wouldn't solve that problem.

      I'm not keen to put this tree into a forest because the whole thing would become too big and heavy for me to handle. Maybe in time I can get the whole tree to thicken up a bit more so that it looks better as a single tree.