Sunday, 12 April 2020

Ficus Pumila Bonsai Failure

I was really proud when I created a mame bonsai from a Ficus Pumila cutting a few years ago. So much so that I even put it on show once. At the time it looked something like this:

November 2015 (with apple to show the size)

Growth was a little sparse, but I hoped for improvement in the years to come.

Unfortunately it's been all downhill since then. By April 2018 the leader had died and it had deteriorated to this:

April 2018 - after some damaged branches had been removed

With too many trees to care for I never got around to trying any of the options I referred to in my April 2018 update.

Instead it's largely been left to do its only thing. When I checked up on it a few days ago, it was seriously overgrown, with long branches which had rooted themselves into the pots of the Bougainvillea and succulent standing beside it.

After separation the Bougainvillea has two new Ficus Pumila plants growing in its pot.

The one of the right has grown up the trunk of the Bougainvillea and the two appear to have fused together.

As it's autumn in South Africa I don't want to do any repotting now, so I'll have to sort this mess out in spring.

And then there's the overgrown Ficus Pumila (no longer worthy of the name bonsai).

After shortening the long branches, a problem becomes visible.

The extent of the problem is much more obvious from the back.

The twisty trunk I worked so hard to create is dead. All the growth is coming from the first inch of the trunk.

Again I'll wait until spring before making any final decisions, but I think that this is a lost cause as bonsai. I'll probably give the plant away and keep the pot.

I still have to work out whether I can do anything with the two larger Ficus Pumila plants that appeared in the April 2018 update.

Fortunately the tiny Ficus Burtt-Davyi that appeared in that post is showing a lot more promise.

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