First bonsai help needed

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:03 pm

I have been reading and reading your links...and enjoyed them and learned a lot! Thank You!They are fantastic.
I now know what U mean by chopping it like that a bit better.
I can see U want to let a new leader grow, to form the apex.
Now since I am a little bit more educated now, I would like to ask:
In the link You gave me it says the hight should be 6 to 10 times the diameter of the trunk. My trunk is only 2.5cm in diameter. Does it mean my tree hight should be between 15-20cm in hight? In that case should I shorten it some more, and chose a new leader for apex?
It is obvious I need to remove the wires...or at list point them in different direction.
I think I first need to decide what style I should do My bonsai in...I wanted upright formal, but not too sure if double trunk bonsai can be made into that.
Here are some styles I like. Would they be suitable for ficus benjamina?


What would You advise?
I bought another little imported fig, but will open another thread for that.


Neli
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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:31 pm

Ficus ben. is easy to find and can make decent bonsai. The tree you have posted doesn't look as healthy as it could. Did you remove any leaves before the photo? Also your soil looks to be very heavy, almost a clay. Any plant will struggle in clay, the soil particles are just too fine and don't provide enough air for healthy roots, without healthy roots you can't have a healthy tree. Our soils are very free draining, do you have access to small stones about the size of English Peas, this makes a great soil component but heavy. I am trying to think of soil solutions for Zambia.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:59 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Ficus ben. is easy to find and can make decent bonsai. The tree you have posted doesn't look as healthy as it could. Did you remove any leaves before the photo? Also your soil looks to be very heavy, almost a clay. Any plant will struggle in clay, the soil particles are just too fine and don't provide enough air for healthy roots, without healthy roots you can't have a healthy tree. Our soils are very free draining, do you have access to small stones about the size of English Peas, this makes a great soil component but heavy. I am trying to think of soil solutions for Zambia.
I removed most of the leaves, but since this picture it is growing like crazy...I will take another picture tomorrow.
I planted it in coarse river sand...did not have anything else. It has large grains 50% are around 5mm diameter. No clay whatsoever in it...water runs trough fast. Will try to sieve the sand and collect the larger particles only...or wash it...Will that be better. No pine bark in Zambia or moss..Africa! Maybe I can import some later. But I bought from abroad a bag of acid loving plants compost...have not opened it yet...Maybe to add some of that?
I have limestone chips...but dont think they will be good. I can collect the larger particles from the river sand? Will that be OK?
Dont have coconut fibre also...can I strip some bark from another tree?
Dont laugh!
This is how the FB looked 15 minutes before I took that picture and vandalized it.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:35 pm

That appears to be the variegated F. ben. which tends to be even less desirable for Bonsai, but it is doable.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:01 am

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:That appears to be the variegated F. ben. which tends to be even less desirable for Bonsai, but it is doable.
Yes I was told it is no good. Bit I did not find anything big that I thought can make a bonsai. Or probably I did not know what to look for.
It is a first bonsai...to learn practice on...and probably because it is not good, I will not even manage to kill. Normally the best ones are killed.
I bought a new fig and started a new thread...Maybe that one is more suitable?
I see ...U answered my thread! That is nice! U even know the name of the plant...Thanks again! Now at list I have two plants to work on. The bougainvillea and the new fig.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  leatherback on Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:50 am

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:That appears to be the variegated F. ben. which tends to be even less desirable for Bonsai, but it is doable.

Yup. The white areas have less chlorophyll and as such the 'engine' of the tree is less strong. The tree will be less vigourous. Also, it may be more prone to sun burn. However, you live in Zambia, where you roughly get a nice stable 12 hour light/12 hour dark rithm, not like our summers of 18 hours light and winter of 7 hours light per day. If you could place the ficus in a bright spot, out of direct sunlight except for the first and last 1-2 hours of the day, I think you would be able to get it to grow very nicely (Probably better than we can get our normal ficus to grow here).

Still.. A non-variagated specimen would do even better, and would be able to stand direct sunlight much better, giving you more impressive growth..

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:28 am

leatherback wrote:
Billy M. Rhodes wrote:That appears to be the variegated F. ben. which tends to be even less desirable for Bonsai, but it is doable.

Yup. The white areas have less chlorophyll and as such the 'engine' of the tree is less strong. The tree will be less vigourous. Also, it may be more prone to sun burn. However, you live in Zambia, where you roughly get a nice stable 12 hour light/12 hour dark rithm, not like our summers of 18 hours light and winter of 7 hours light per day. If you could place the ficus in a bright spot, out of direct sunlight except for the first and last 1-2 hours of the day, I think you would be able to get it to grow very nicely (Probably better than we can get our normal ficus to grow here).

Still.. A non-variegated specimen would do even better, and would be able to stand direct sunlight much better, giving you more impressive growth..
I think this is the first time I am going to disagree...Variegated FB needs more light than the green one...probably something to do with the less area available for Photosyntheses. But I could be wrong... I have been growing FB for a very long time all types and all outside in pots...My variegated one is a bit yellowish now, but that is because they forgot to water it. Normally is very healthy or it has been for the past 15 years on full sun..
Again bonsai are different matter...maybe they behave different from other plants?
I would agree that they are less vigorous...and maybe some variegated plants can burn but not ficus benjamina...maybe maybe something to do with less protective pigmentation on the variegated part.
Here they grow huge trees in the gardens, but not as big and as fast as the green ones.


Last edited by Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:46 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  leatherback on Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:43 am

I think we actually agree Very Happy. They need more light. But often they are also having more trouble standing in full sun afaik Very Happy

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:47 am

I corrected a bit my statement...I am glad we agree! Hate to be controversial, and I am sure You know more than me....Just that I am good with pot and garden plants and have been gardening for a long time.....

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  leatherback on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:02 am

Lol,

My main experience comes from growing plants in general, which I have been doing somewhat seriously since I was about 12 years old, so roughly 24 years now (I had over 200 species of succelent plants in my bedroom by the age of 16). Only recently has my life stabilized enough for bonsai, so my experience in that field is limited to only 3 years. A baby in bonsai terms Very Happy

Hm.. you being in Zambia puts an interesting thought in my mind.. Do you think you would be able to find Mopane seeds? In the past I have been growing hundreds of them for research purposes, collecting the seeds myself in South Africa. Now I am interested in trying some for Bonsai, but I cannot get seeds anywhere...

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:44 am

I have not seen a post on your bougie, do you mean Ficus ben. (I have only seen you post on two different varieties of Ficus (Fig)

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Sakaki on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:38 pm

Neli,

I see many amazing native trees in Wild Africa Documentaries.
Why dont you try to make a bonsai of some African trees such as Afican acacia, baobab, P. afra, etc.? They are fantastic also!

Taner

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  eddieperth on Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:08 pm

As a newbie myself, thanks for this thread Neli! I have learned alot from your questions and the answers the good folks here have given you. Keep asking away!! Laughing

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:09 pm

leatherback wrote:Lol,

My main experience comes from growing plants in general, which I have been doing somewhat seriously since I was about 12 years old, so roughly 24 years now (I had over 200 species of succelent plants in my bedroom by the age of 16). Only recently has my life stabilized enough for bonsai, so my experience in that field is limited to only 3 years. A baby in bonsai terms Very Happy

Hm.. you being in Zambia puts an interesting thought in my mind.. Do you think you would be able to find Mopane seeds? In the past I have been growing hundreds of them for research purposes, collecting the seeds myself in South Africa. Now I am interested in trying some for Bonsai, but I cannot get seeds anywhere...
I have been growing plants in a large scale...I think much longer than You...He he he! On commercial bases...and personal also. Never done bonsai though.
I went to our farm today...or shall I say game ranch.
I looked at all the trees with a different eye...saw them in a new light...and that is because I was looking at them as bonsai...He he he!
I will post some pictures for You.
I dont know if We have mopani here...not too sure...Need to investigate...and find out when it has seeds...But it will be a pleasure for me to send You whatever seeds I can find, that You need.

Neli
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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:18 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:I have not seen a post on your bougie, do you mean Ficus ben. (I have only seen you post on two different varieties of Ficus (Fig)
Billy being a newbie I posted on this thread two plants...I think maybe I should open another thread for the Bougi???
It is on page 1 at the bottom...I dug it out from my garden...
I opened today a new thread on my fig...which some one ( I thought You) called macrocarpa. or something like that.
I went and checked...You are the God father of my little fig....U named it..I just wish someone can tell me if I should plant it in the ground or what?
Here:
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t12062-little-fig
I know I should stop digging my plants from the garden and killing them but I am again eyeing a tamarind tree which is the ground....I shall try to stay away from it but it looks appeling, and I am too exited about this new disease that has afflicted me called bonsai.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:40 pm

Your Bougie didn't come up on the original thread but by clicking of the space I was sent to a page where I saw your tree, the Bougie is spectacular in bloom, BUT to work as a bonsai you need to attend to the trunk (s) and roots.
As to your Ficus, putting them in the ground will help them get bigger, faster, but I think you could enjoy the Green Island in a pot now.


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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:58 pm

Billy,
This is how much the benjamina has grown in a month...The left picture is now., right the day I chopped it.
It has more leaves now.






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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:59 pm

eddieperth wrote:As a newbie myself, thanks for this thread Neli! I have learned alot from your questions and the answers the good folks here have given you. Keep asking away!! Laughing
Eddie, I hope we shall learn together.

Neli
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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:01 pm

Sakaki wrote:Neli,

I see many amazing native trees in Wild Africa Documentaries.
Why dont you try to make a bonsai of some African trees such as Afican acacia, baobab, P. afra, etc.? They are fantastic also!

Taner
Taner,
I dont know yet which ones are suitable...As soon as I find some time I will go in the bush take pictures and show You so You can tell me whichones are OK.
There is a nursery here for indigenous trees...Need to go and see it...Maybe I can find mopane for our friend there.
I have big afras in the garden and crasulas too.


Last edited by Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:03 pm

If someone wants boabab seeds, just let me know...I am sure I can find them They sale the fruit here when in season and it is full of seeds.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:16 pm

leatherback wrote:Lol,

My main experience comes from growing plants in general, which I have been doing somewhat seriously since I was about 12 years old, so roughly 24 years now (I had over 200 species of succelent plants in my bedroom by the age of 16). Only recently has my life stabilized enough for bonsai, so my experience in that field is limited to only 3 years. A baby in bonsai terms Very Happy

Hm.. you being in Zambia puts an interesting thought in my mind.. Do you think you would be able to find Mopane seeds? In the past I have been growing hundreds of them for research purposes, collecting the seeds myself in South Africa. Now I am interested in trying some for Bonsai, but I cannot get seeds anywhere...
May I know your name please... Difficult to call you leatherback.
I took this picture for my friends on this forum...
I found it interesting how the wild fig is in the process of strungling another tree. Maybe you will like it too.




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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  leatherback on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:13 pm

Hm, yeah, I have seen a few of these as well, but in latin america. Even one or two that succeeded in killing the tree in the middle leaving a hollowed/out strangler fig. ON interner I always use leatherback, ever since I worked with them in the mid/90ies. But Jelle is the name my parents gave me Wink

J.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:29 pm

A couple of things about your F. ben. First it is apical dominant, which means the top branches will thicken faster than the lower one, which is opposite of what you want in Bonsai. The counter this you have to let the lower branches grow and prune the top back really hard on a regular basis.
Second, the F. ben. is one you might want to put in the ground, away from buildings because it has very aggressive roots and let it just grow wild for a year or two.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:56 pm

leatherback wrote:Hm, yeah, I have seen a few of these as well, but in latin america. Even one or two that succeeded in killing the tree in the middle leaving a hollowed/out strangler fig. ON interner I always use leatherback, ever since I worked with them in the mid/90ies. But Jelle is the name my parents gave me Wink

J.
OK! I will call You J.
What is a leatherback? sorry I dont know.
I found this tree very interesting...
Meanwhile I googled mopane...I have seen many trees that look like that here, but apparently the seeds are ready in June...Maybe I can ask but not sure if people collect them I wish I new before I went to the farm. I was going to look for them there.

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Re: First bonsai help needed

Post  Neli on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:25 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:A couple of things about your F. ben. First it is apical dominant, which means the top branches will thicken faster than the lower one, which is opposite of what you want in Bonsai. The counter this you have to let the lower branches grow and prune the top back really hard on a regular basis.
Second, the F. ben. is one you might want to put in the ground, away from buildings because it has very aggressive roots and let it just grow wild for a year or two.
Thanks Billy, That makes a lots of sense. But I need something to pinch...and that is my learning bonsai...I cant just sit and look at them getting thicker trunks...I am too impatient eager...newbie...He he he! It will be my toy for now...make belief I am doing something.
Tomorrow I will try to chop it shorter and on top to two buds, lower 3-4 buds and lowest to 5-6 buds...
Or maybe I trim a bit the Bougiainvillea to keep busy? he he he! It has some dry brunches...??? But FB is going down for sure under surgery.
Maybe I can turn it into a tiny bonsay?????
What do U think about the bougainvillea. Should I put some wire above the roots to make new roots?
I dont see any roots/nebary on top...Maybe to remove some of the top soil and see if it has any roots,.


My gardener chopped all the big roots with a saw.

I did not remove the original soil much...wanted it to start growing first since I chopped all the big roots. Next round I will try to remove all the soil , trim the roots, and pot it in proper soil...but since the trunk is very thick, for now I want it to recover, and start growing, produce new roots and then I will deal with the roots.Since it started growing I need to think what style I should make it into.
Maybe I chop off the big horizontal brunch at the base? I have never seen a bonsai like that...it looks funny????

I tried to read on Bougi...Two things made impression on me.
One brunches are hard to bend when older,
and second it rots if cuts are large and not sealed well...also it does not like too much water.
So From what I read...I need to do the roots first some how...make it grow, and decide on a style so I can start trimming and wiring before the brunches are too thick.
Every body says wait...but it is very thick trunk, and here with our climate they grow too much. I think I can get away with a preliminary trim, so the energy is concentrated on the brunches I want to thicken. I think the trunk is thick enough.
Just what style is a puzzle to me...Never seen one like that. What do U think?


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Re: First bonsai help needed

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