I’m Back Baby!

After a short, several month break, I’m diving headfirst back into the hobby. There are two trees that I kept, but sold every other one. Those two trees are a Ficus I grew from seed, and a Ficus obliqua that I received from Jerry Meislik.

Both trees were placed next to the dining room window. The obliqua dropped all of its leaves and went dormant, and the seed grown Ficus began to sulk and drop in quality. The leaves began to weep, which I learned is a sign that the tree got too hot, too cold, or the roots are rotting:

See the sad looking, drooping leaves? I took this picture today, and the tree was repotted a couple of days ago. It used to be in a poor, packed soil that was staying far too wet. It’s now in a mixture of pumice, lava rock, and pine bark. 

Now onto the obliqua. This guy has been dormant for about a month or two. It’s still alive, because a gentle scratch to the trunk revealed green underneath. 

Those little branches are still pliable, a sign that there’s still life in them. 

Both trees went into my signature PVC greenhouse setup to recover. 

I figure if I can get them to recover, it’ll show that I’ve still got the ficus skills that I had, well, months ago.

Something Different…

Hey guys and gals,

 

You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a couple of months. There’s a good reason for that: I no longer have any trees. Over the past few months I’ve slowly been selling off my collection, partially due to a lack of interest, and partially because of a lack of time to care for the trees. Mites were savage and relentless, and I just watched my trees yellow and fall apart. So I ended up selling them to a couple of local hobbyists who still have that “bonsai passion.”

 

Fear not, for my love of growing trees is still alive and strong. Instead of growing Ficus bonsai, I’m considering growing Ficus FOR bonsai. My idea is to start growing seeds again, the very thing that got me into the hobby in the first place. What I’d like to do is grow the harder to find species such as ingens, virens, and some others, from seed with the specific purpose of using for bonsai later down the road. Meaning once the seeds sprout and have grown a bit, I’d wire movement into them and do rootwork that will give them great futures as bonsai. I’d then sell them to those who love to grow Ficus.

 

What say you? Would you be interested in this?

 

 

Ryan

A Very Figgy Christmas 

It’s happened, the Royal Ficus has figged. There had been dormant figs sitting on the tree for a couple months, but the other day it pushed new, fresh figs. It’s also full of new leaves and happy growth. 

Looks like the small indoor greenhouse is working well. Thanks T5 lighting!

It’s Aliiiive! 

No, this isn’t Frankenstein, this is Ficus. The Royal Ficus, to be specific. 
Today I checked on the greenhouse trees and saw good results. The Royal Ficus is pushing out lots of new growth, and one of the natalensis cuttings is pushing roots out of its styrofoam cup. 

Here’s that picture:

If there is constant moisture on the floor of the setup, the roots will continue to grow. I could place it onto a pot of soil to let the roots run into that instead, but for now I’ll let them go.

As for the Royal Ficus, it pushed an aerial root long enough for me to work with. Here’s the root:

So I took a straw and cut it in half:

Cutting the straw in half is crucial because it helps you remove the straw after the root roots in the soil. Otherwise you’d have to carefully cut the straw off the root. Straws help you guide aerial roots into the soil, so I placed the root into the straw and moved it into position:

You have to be careful not to break the root. The bend I created is cutting it close, but we should be fine. Make sure you keep the inside of the straw moist so that the root can keep growing.

We’ll let that keep growing and I’ll update when it finally does hit the soil.
Ryan

The Royal Ficus is Sick…

I realize now that I never made a post about this tree, so here’s a two-parter. I bought this Ficus from Scott Lee (Blue River Bonsai) on Facebook back in August. I call it the “Royalty Ficus” because it was once in Suthin’s Royal Bonsai Garden.

Here’s the tree as it was back when I bought it:

Majestic, right? Well, it was doing well for a little bit, but then began to go downhill. As you can see, it was full of leaves. Those began to fall off until the leaves were toward the ends of the branches only. It got too cold outside, so I brought it in and set it under a T5. It still fussed and dropped leaves. I noticed the soil was staying consistently wet, so I gave it a small repot.

After noticing that that didn’t really help either, I changed things up. The tree hadn’t pushed any new growth in a couple months, really since I had received it. I did the only logical thing, I built an ICU. 

The tree, as well as some natalensis cuttings, went into the ICU last week.


I covered the top with a piece of plexiglass and set the light on top. A week later, I’ve noticed the first sign of growth on the Royal Ficus.

It’s small, but it’s a start. I like to use these PVC ICU’s because they allow both heat and humidity to build up in an otherwise dry house:

So that’s where we are now. Fingers crossed that this keeps up!

Ryan

Ficus Technique Updates

Hey everyone! 

A couple weeks back I had someone ask if I could follow-up with the results of some of the techniques I’ve used on my Ficus. It rained that week so I wasn’t able to grab current shots, but I finally did and I’m just now getting the time to post them. 

Why today? I had dental implants put in and am laying in bed all day recovering, so why not. 

First, let’s start with the Willow Leaf Ficus cutting that I recently split at the base. It survived and rooted well. I had it indoors where it was doing well, but then spider mites attacked it.At that point I took it back outside and set it off in a corner of the yard away from my healthy trees. It was neglected for the most part, and is not looking good anymore. 

I repotted it into a bonsai mix and will keep it moist until it recovers. The base-splitting technique works, I just always fail to pay enough attention to the cuttings. 

The other tree in question was the Green Island Ficus that I chopped way back. This guy:

 Did it live? 
Find out next time! 
Just kidding. It did live and it’s now doing well. It sprouted all over and I need to reduce each cluster to just one so that bulges don’t form. Otherwise it was a success. 

So that’s all for today! I’ll be pruning my trees tomorrow and will have a ton of cuttings to root, so stay tuned for that. 
Ryan

Winter Prep

Howdy folks!

 

Long time, no post. I know, I’m sorry. But look, here’s a new post! About winter preparation!

So I’ve got quite the dilemma. I’ve got a lot of trees with a lot of foliage that need to come indoors. Seriously, check this out:

ficus-19ficus-21

 

The big guy up front in the first picture is a natalensis that desperately needs a trim. The leaves are huge and it’s so overgrown. However, I don’t have any scissors at the moment (old pair is no bueno), so I need to go pick up a pair of garden pruners from the local box store. Then I’ll try to root all the cuttings and fuse them together to create a small, but powerful tree.

How am I growing this year? Same way as last year, with LEDs.

ficus-18ficus-17

These are RapidLED Onyx grow lights. With only two of them, there isn’t enough light. I’ll need to use the T5 against the wall of the first picture. I’m also considering picking up a halide light to supplement these other lights. The T5 will be used for my smaller trees, like this Tigerbark:

ficus-22

This tree was suffering from a lack of water after going on vacation for a week, but I think it’ll be okay.

 

Stay tuned to see what I do, it should be interesting!

Time to take the top off!

Today is the day that the top of the ‘Nebari Ficus’ comes off. This is a nursery stock tree I picked up a few months ago with the intention of chopping later down the road. I had tried to air layer it, but the layer never took, so today I whacked it back. 

I chose today because the tree was actively growing and was clearly full of energy:

Keep in mind, this tree is roughly 5 feet tall. I got my saw out and went to work, chopping it back to a couple of inches tall:

I didn’t touch the roots, so the tree has plenty of energy to bounce back and push lots of new growth from the chop. 
Stay tuned to see how this tree develops, should be a good time.
Ryan

Flaring Ficus

I recently gave a Willow Leaf Ficus a rough styling, and received a couple of cuttings from doing so. I wanted to try a technique I haven’t done in some time, one that ends up giving you a nice, flared base over time. You split the cutting into quarters, then plant it that way so that the roots grow between the splits and flare the trunk over time. So, let’s get started.

Gather your supplies first. I used a new knife I bought for this occasion, cutting soil, a pot, a wooden skewer, and a new rooting hormone called “Dip ‘N Grow”, which is a liquid hormone. It wasn’t by choice, the nursery was out of powder hormone. Ficus-4

Next, use your knife to cut the cutting into quarters. Try not to cut your fingers open like I did not once, not twice, but three times. Be careful with this technique! I am not responsible for any injuries you may experience. Ficus-6Ficus-7(I’m wearing gloves to contain the blood)

Then I dipped it in the liquid rooting hormone:Ficus-8

Here’s where the wooden skewer comes into play. Take it and break it into two small pieces.Ficus-10

Shove them into the cutting:Ficus-11Ficus-12Ficus-13

See that flare? Now that that’s done, plant it and give it love:Ficus-14

 

Stay tuned!

 

Ryan

Ficus Front Challenge 

Hey faithful followers!

I’m bad at posting, I know, I’m sorry. It’s hard to keep up with Adam Lavigne’s blog, being that he’s in Florida and also works with Ficus. He’s also super witty and a great writer. And then there’s me. But I’m trying!

So here’s a post about a Ficus I was having trouble picking a front on. I put it out to the good people of the internet and a decision was made. But first, let’s look at the options. Choice one:

Not a bad idea, huh? Nice and smooth, good placement for a new leader. But wait, let’s look at the other side:

This side is rougher, has more character and also has good leader choices.

Which side do you think won? Hint, it’s not the first option. The second one won out overwhelmingly. An internet friend drew up a virt, and I tried to match it. Here’s what we ended up with:

It’s not bad. Not great, but not terrific. The new leader doesn’t have any movement, but it was a thick branch and was difficult to move. I accidentally got a small crack to show up toward the bottom of the branch, but it should be OK.
That should do it for now, stay tuned to see how this one does!

Ryan