How I grow my Ficus

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How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Sun May 27, 2012 1:10 am

Hi everyone,


Thought I'd post some pictures about how I grow my Ficus here in the cold north that is the D.C. area. I use PVC piping and drop cloth plastic/mylar to hold in heat/reflect light. Just thought I would share with the rest of you and see what you all have to say.

This first one is for my small to medium sized Ficus. It's made out of PVC and 2 mil plastic drop cloth:



This next setup holds my medium to large trees. This one is made out of PVC and mylar sheeting:



And my most recent one I finished today. It also holds my medium to large sized trees. It's made out of PVC and mylar as well. At the bottom of the setup I placed aluminum serving trays, the kind that hold food. I then filled those with gravel. After that I filled the trays with a small amount of water. That way they can work as humidity trays and also allow the roots of the trees to grow down into once they grow through the drainage holes in the pots. So far they've seemed to work, I've got 99% humidity inside the enclosure:






So far I haven't come across any issues and I've been growing this way for a good number of months.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have.

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  lordy on Sun May 27, 2012 1:30 pm

Presumably you do this during the winter? My ficus forest goes outdoors for the warm weather as soon as it stays above 50F.
But regardless, you've put in a lot of good work and the trees should be very happy there. BTW, did you get to the PBA auction yesterday in Beltsville? The largest turnout in terms of trees and material in over 15 years. Many ficus plants went across the auction block.

lordy
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How I Grow my Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Sun May 27, 2012 2:56 pm

When I first started growing under lights, I tried aluminum trays. I soon found out that they corrode quickly and get holes that leak. Since then I use plastic trays or containers from the restaurant supply store. They come in all sizes, are easy to clean with bleach, and last forever. You are asking for trouble with the gravel and roots touching it. Very efficient way of transmitting disease and insects. Lose the gravel and substitute egg crate to hold the pots up out of the water. You want some air circulation around the drain holes.
99% humidity may be overkill for Ficus. They are not terrarium plants, except for F. pumila. You may get fungus infection.
I have been growing under lights for 51 years. Of course if it works I won't argue with success. And you will get aerial roots. I don't.
Iris

bonsaisr
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Sun May 27, 2012 3:50 pm

Thank you both!


Lordy, I do this year round Laughing I did go to the PBA, but I wasn't too thrilled with the selection of material. I thought last year was much better.

Iris, I actually haven't had any kind of fungal infections so far. And that's after months of growing this way. I will occasionally open the doors of the setups and let new air in, but so far no kind of fungus. I do get lots and lots of aerial roots though Smile

Great thinking about using crates and plastic trays instead, I will definitely do that, thanks!

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Guest on Sun May 27, 2012 5:31 pm

Hi Ryan

This is a some kind of a nursery you have here...How many "aqvariums" do you have?, and how many trees?.
I would very much like to see how they are placed in the house (photo of the room)..are you able to enjoy the trees, or will you have to unwrap a lot first?

Like Iris, do I also use plastic trays...the trees are placed abowe them...and the idea of the grawel for the roots, is also not something I would want.....The roots do well in a tray with clear water.

If you saw my topic, will you see, I only have a ugly plastictent in a south window, and this works very well for me....about the windflow, does my trees not need it, they do well without all year.....last winter went the temperature dawn a little in the room where I have the trees ( from 22 degrees, dawn to 17 ) and mould arrived in the tent soon...I raised the temperature again and sprayed for fungus inside the tent, and the problem was gone.
This winter did I not try to lower the temperature, and no mould was found.

Good luck with your trees.
Kind regards Yvonne

Guest
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Sun May 27, 2012 5:57 pm

Yvonne Graubaek wrote:Hi Ryan

This is a some kind of a nursery you have here...How many "aqvariums" do you have?, and how many trees?.
I would very much like to see how they are placed in the house (photo of the room)..are you able to enjoy the trees, or will you have to unwrap a lot first?

Like Iris, do I also use plastic trays...the trees are placed abowe them...and the idea of the grawel for the roots, is also not something I would want.....The roots do well in a tray with clear water.

If you saw my topic, will you see, I only have a ugly plastictent in a south window, and this works very well for me....about the windflow, does my trees not need it, they do well without all year.....last winter went the temperature dawn a little in the room where I have the trees ( from 22 degrees, dawn to 17 ) and mould arrived in the tent soon...I raised the temperature again and sprayed for fungus inside the tent, and the problem was gone.
This winter did I not try to lower the temperature, and no mould was found.

Good luck with your trees.
Kind regards Yvonne

Thank you Yvonne.

I've got two aquariums that I use, and three of these home-made setups.

The room I grow in has no natural sunlight besides one window, which doesn't give off enough light for all the plants, so I make do with what I have:




I think I have close to 60 Ficus or so in these setups.

I've seen your posts and I am very impressed with your Ficus. You're the Jerry Meislik of Denmark Cool

Good to know about how the temperature affected the mold, thanks!

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:57 pm

I now see what you mean when you say the aluminum trays corrode quickly Iris, I've got a mess to clean up now Embarassed

I just recently finished up another setup for my biggest Ficus. This one's got mirror-like mylar for walls, and let me tell you, this stuff is very reflective.




I'm all set for winter Cool

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:53 pm

Hi Ryan

Were there is a will, there is a way...bonsaitrees can be grown even on the northpole, if you really want to, you are the living proof of that.....god luck with all your hidden treassueres.
It may look uncharming for most people..But belive me Ryan, I know you are in a tropical paradise, as soon as you open the "tent" thumbs up Cool

Look forward to see more of the the trees

Kind regards Yvonne

Guest
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:04 pm

Yvonne Graubaek wrote:Hi Ryan

Were there is a will, there is a way...bonsaitrees can be grown even on the northpole, if you really want to, you are the living proof of that.....god luck with all your hidden treassueres.
It may look uncharming for most people..But belive me Ryan, I know you are in a tropical paradise, as soon as you open the "tent" thumbs up Cool

Look forward to see more of the the trees

Kind regards Yvonne

Laughing Laughing Thanks Yvonne. I am indeed in tropical paradise. People always scorn me for doing this, but hey, it keeps me happy and the trees are happy so why try to tell me otherwise, you know? I'm doing it my way and the trees are loving it Wink

I'll be sure to post more shots of the aerial roots I'm getting on some of the trees.

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:23 pm

NICE...Looking forward Smile

Guest
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Steven on Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:37 am

I have to say I love this, just the engineering that has gone into providing the perfect environment for your trees is awesome. I think my wife would kill me if i tried this though lol.

Steven
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Steven on Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:48 am

Ok so strike that, I may have just talked by wife into setting up something similar for my desert rose collection, sweet

Steven
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  tmmason10 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:16 pm

I really like that last setup Ryan, I'm thinking I need to rethink my winter tropical setup this year and I think this might be along the right idea. Plus, I've seen how your trees have responded and it looks worthwhile.

tmmason10
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  xuan le on Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:47 pm

Hi Ryan,
Does this mean that you keep your Ficus indoor all year long? Since we do not live very far to each other (I live in Northern Virginia), I like to see your tropical treasures sometime if you don't mind.
Regards
Xuan

xuan le
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  bucknbonsai on Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:29 pm

hey ryan, i used to use a similar set up but then quit when I found they do better outdoors. Why dont you move them out for the summer? Even when i lived in Pennsylvania my ficus enjoyed 5 to 6 months outside. (and even longer once I built a cold frame with a small ceramic heater in it), they would put on 3 feet of growth in all directions when out doors in zone 6 in growing pots. no artificial lights even come close to the suns power. What is your eventual plan for the trees, will they always be enclosed in the boxes? It seems hard to appreciate them that way.

bucknbonsai
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:34 pm

Steven wrote:Ok so strike that, I may have just talked by wife into setting up something similar for my desert rose collection, sweet

Good luck Steven!

tmmason10 wrote:I really like that last setup Ryan, I'm thinking I need to rethink my winter tropical setup this year and I think this might be along the right idea. Plus, I've seen how your trees have responded and it looks worthwhile.

Thanks Tom. We'll see how the trees like this one. I say you should go for it and try this out!

xuan le wrote:Hi Ryan,
Does this mean that you keep your Ficus indoor all year long? Since we do not live very far to each other (I live in Northern Virginia), I like to see your tropical treasures sometime if you don't mind.
Regards
Xuan


Yes I do keep my trees indoors year round. I don't really have anything special here, so I'm not so sure you coming by would be worth your time Laughing


bucknbonsai wrote:hey ryan, i used to use a similar set up but then quit when I found they do better outdoors. Why dont you move them out for the summer? Even when i lived in Pennsylvania my ficus enjoyed 5 to 6 months outside. (and even longer once I built a cold frame with a small ceramic heater in it), they would put on 3 feet of growth in all directions when out doors in zone 6 in growing pots. no artificial lights even come close to the suns power. What is your eventual plan for the trees, will they always be enclosed in the boxes? It seems hard to appreciate them that way.


I just don't feel like moving 70 Ficus indoors and out, it gets tiring. And then the Willow Leaf like to drop leaves due to the change in lighting and all that good stuff. So, I just do what Jerry Meislik does and just leave them indoors year round. They seem to like it.

Not sure what my eventual plans are, but I won't have to worry about that for a while. I'm just growing stock out for now.

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:05 am

Using the new, more reflective, mylar I got, I'm going to have to re-do some of the setups so they're more reflective.

The old stuff:


The new stuff:

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:08 am

Hi Ryan

If you keep your ficus under glass, will they not loose one leaf if you bring them out for the summer....I do this, and make sure they still are as humid, as indoor. It is easier to enjoy the trees through clear plastic, and safe me the electricity bill compleetely.
As soon as the nighttemperature is 15 degrees during the night, is it time for my trees to come out.

Kind regards yvonne

Guest
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:21 pm

Yvonne Graubaek wrote:Hi Ryan

If you keep your ficus under glass, will they not loose one leaf if you bring them out for the summer....I do this, and make sure they still are as humid, as indoor. It is easier to enjoy the trees through clear plastic, and safe me the electricity bill compleetely.
As soon as the nighttemperature is 15 degrees during the night, is it time for my trees to come out.

Kind regards yvonne


Thanks Yvonne, that's something I need, a heated outdoor greenhouse. That'd be perfect. But, until then Crying or Very sad

Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:03 pm

I just updated one of the setups. Made it smaller and more reflective. Now the light is closer and it should be reflected more.


Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  tmmason10 on Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:33 pm

Yvonne, can you show the link of where your setup is?


Ryan that new material is crazy. You should just buy an outdoor greenhouse and start "Ryan's Ficus Farm".

tmmason10
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Guest on Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:36 pm

Hi Ryan

You can very well be an inspiration for many people hwo does not have a nice warm garden, good luck..I follow your work.

Hi Tom

Try this http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t4687-ficus-in-the-cold-north-denmark?highlight=ficus+north

I have my trees in the window...if not a photo on this page, can I post...just let me know.

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:51 pm

Thanks Yvonne, that's what I'm hoping!


I realized how right you were when you said the aluminum trays corrode Iris, so I went about fixing that today. I simply took some plastic drop cloth and covered the trays, then covered the plastic with rocks. Seems like it will work just fine. Then again, I'll need to think of some way to replace the rocks later down the road....



Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Ryan on Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:04 pm

Here's just a few quick shots of a rubiginosa seedling I sprouted a few months back. It's got tons of aerial roots on it already.



Ryan
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Re: How I grow my Ficus

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:52 am

Hi Ryan

A healthy little fellow...how nice the nebari already is being formed....I would in a hurry remove the roots above the surface, as you risk they will give you a inverted taper at this early point....only keep the roots under the surface....Let the tree become a lot bigger before keeping surfaceroots, it will look more natural.

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: How I grow my Ficus

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