Ficus religiosa (sacred fig, bo, bodhi, peepal) tree info

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Ficus religiosa (sacred fig, bo, bodhi, peepal) tree info

Post  nickalpin on Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:59 pm

Hello all, I'd like to find out if anyone here has grown/is growing ficus religiosa as bonsai and if any tips or tricks are available for this species. I have a number of quickly growing trees that I started from seed as well as a number of cuttings from larger trees. The leaves tend to be larger but I've had successful reductions by defoliating. This species seems to be generally unpopular, or maybe it's better to say uncommon, in the bonsai world, and I'm curious if that's due to any specific quirks or shortcomings.

I was recently elated to find a ficus religiosa growing in a park about 5 minutes from my house (Orlando area, zone 9) and 50 feet from that tree, a seedling growing out of a palm tree which I 'liberated'. That same park has a large ficus microcarpa whose seedlings I've also liberated from cracks in old growth bald cypress.

For the curious, the tree can be seen here on Google Street View.

nickalpin
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Re: Ficus religiosa (sacred fig, bo, bodhi, peepal) tree info

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:08 pm

Nickalpin,

if you look a little harder there is a naturally smaller leafed ficus religiosa, which if defoliated has leaves at about 1" [ 2.5 cm ], grows very tall and large as well.
Good Luck.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
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Re: Ficus religiosa (sacred fig, bo, bodhi, peepal) tree info

Post  nickalpin on Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:40 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:if you look a little harder there is a naturally smaller leafed ficus religiosa, which if defoliated has leaves at about 1" [ 2.5 cm ], grows very tall and large as well.
Good Luck.
Khaimraj

Here in central Florida, I have only found on ficus religiosa being sold (and bought it) at Jim Smith's nursery. I collected one that was growing in a palm tree not too far from my home. The only other option would be to order one from a vendor online, which I've done, and all varieties appear to be the same/similar with leaves of the same size. This is the reason for my posting, to learn how many folks out there are growing or have grown ficus religiosa and to learn more about its characteristics as it appears to be somewhat uncommon here in the U.S. Even Jim told me he's only grown a few himself.

There is another variety of ficus from Africa (Ficus populifolia) whose leaves and bark are similar.

nickalpin
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Re: Ficus religiosa (sacred fig, bo, bodhi, peepal) tree info

Post  BonsaiJim on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:32 pm

I grow a few... Large leaves and coarse branching necessitate that it be a large tree. Unhardened limbs will die back on me so it becomes necessary to let them grow out and limit late season pruning/defoliating. Propagates readily from cuttings.

Other than that it is pretty tough.

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Re: Ficus religiosa (sacred fig, bo, bodhi, peepal) tree info

Post  nickalpin on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:34 pm

Jim, thank you! Great info. The tree I bought recently seems to have dieback, as does a large in-ground tree nearby. I suspected that may be a characteristic, your confirmation is a huge help.

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