Identifying a friends Ficus

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:15 pm

A co-worker has a Ficus, she's had it for 10-plus years. She asked if I knew what species. I do not.

Please identify:





Thanks,

Jay

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Norma on Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:33 pm

Hi Jay,

It's a willow leaf [neriifolia] but it may look different because it's leaves have grown without periodic defoliation.

Nice tree , by the way Smile

Norma

Norma
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:01 pm

I'll tell her you said so.

Should she periodically pluck all the leaves? When and how often?

The last time she repotted it she used 100% compost. I was planning on getting her some bonsai mix (1/3 grit or sand, 1/3 clay, 1/3 pine bark) She really doesn't baby it and it is in her office which means it goes without water from close of business Fridays until Monday. I'm not sure how often she waters it during the week. It used to be in a North facing window, but now resides in a windowless cubicle with grow lights in the overhead florescent fixture and in the pole light shown in the photo.

For all: Should I modify the mix? (for her Ficus as well as mine)

Jay


Last edited by Jay Gaydosh on Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:46 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added information.)

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

Identifying a Friend's Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:19 am

First of all, the correct name for this species is Ficus salicaria. There is a Ficus neriifolia (sic), but as far as I know, it is not in the trade at all. The willow leaf fig is F. salicaria.
Defoliation will not be of much help if she grows it indoors all year round, although the fluorescent light is a big improvement. The pole lamp is of little use. Also, under these conditions, total defoliation may be very stressful. The bonsai mix you describe will probably do fine, & will help reduce the size of the leaves. The most important strategy is correct pruning & frequent pinching to promote ramification & smaller leaves.
I would shorten that long branch on the right & put the tree in a slightly bigger pot.
Grow lights are not the best choice. Lowe's has suitable high light fluorescent tubes. Look for a high Kelvin number, 5000 t0 6500 K.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Norma on Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:42 am

Hi Iris,

When has the name for willow leaf changed? It's listed in the "bonsai bible"{BONSAI the Art and Technique} by Dorothy S. Young as f. neriifolia on page 338. By the way the last time I saw her out of print book it had a bid of $300. There's been a couple threads about the confusion over the proper name for the willow leaf .... some say this and some that. Guess I'm going to have to do a web search !

Anyway Jay, now that you're totally confused about the Latin name for willow leaf ficus... Iris is correct about defoliation for an indoor ficus.... I, however defoliate in the summer when all my trees are outside. I also trim my ficus indoors[winter] when they get shaggy!

Norma

Norma
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:24 am

Hi Norma,

Dorothy Young published in 1985, so there's been plenty of time for taxonomists to do what they do.

The mystery was solved simply. Just put Ficus salicaria into google and follow the first reference. It explains that
these plants are well known to bonsai enthusiasts, who also value another ficus. The name of this one, however, has long been a mystery. It has been sold as Ficus salicifolia, Ficus neriifolia, Ficus subulata and even Ficus mexicana among other names. Some of these are suitable epithets to describe the plant's narrow leaves, but, unfortunately the names belong to other species with much larger leaves and other characteristics that do not fit the bonsai species.

This was truly an unknown in spite of having been widely grown for many years, but a ficus specialist has now checked the situation and found it to be a new species. He has proposed to call it Ficus salicaria, and it will be published as that once the the rules to make that name official have been followed.

[Editor's note: the name is now published. To be technical it is Ficus salicaria C.C. Berg

If you were citing the publication it would be:
Berg, C.C. 2004. A new species of Ficus (Moraceae) of uncertain provenance. Brittonia 56(1): 54-57.

That is from http://www.horticulturist.com/mastermag10/ficus.html

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey
Admin


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  JimLewis on Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:43 pm

Thanks, Kev. Good info. I've changed the name in my bonsai record book. (Not that I'll remember it in casual conversation, of course).

A note of caution about bonsai books: They are notoriously terrible sources of horticultural information -- taxonomic or horticultural.

Bonsaiests are steeped in tradition. It takes an act of Congress (or Parliament) to get one to change a practice -- even if it will demonstrably result in better trees -- and their books borrow liberally from earlier (and usually Japanese) authors. Almost none of them are botanists, or even have a background in biology.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:21 pm

I've learned more details about plant biology and fundamentals of bonsai in the threads of IBC than I in the past few months than I have through reading the books I own.

Besides lacking in hortocultural basics, some of the books actually seem to dance around the techniques and practices used by the authors to get the results they get.

It's kind of like leaving out the Batman decoder ring needed to unlock the secrets of the book. I'm not sure if that is intended to get the readers to buy the next book or not.
I have shared the information with my co-worker. She has already been working on pinching back and is encouraged to go further.

Next step is finding a good on-line pot source for repottnig her Ficus.

Thanks,

Jay

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Norma on Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:26 pm

Thanks , Kevin ..... So they have finally settled on a Latin name Shocked It kind of reminds me of the way they change the name of airports in the USA .... What a Face

Salicaria it is .... now how to remember ... "Sally Carry a " should do it Razz


Jim..... You're right about the facts presented in many bonsai books or any book .... it's usually what the author believes or wants you to believe . And might I say I've found even less accuracy on the web... Oh well !


Norma

Norma
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:47 pm

I totally agree with Jim. To this end I'm hoping to sign up for a degree course in horticulture. I had hope that the Open University might do one, but they don't. I'm now looking at Hort Colleges.

Norma, you are welcome. The web is a very poor place to research unless you know which sites to rely on. For Hort stuff my first port of call would be the RHS. But Google provides a selection of results that can be sifted quite quickly, if the right keywords are used in searches. Searching on the latin name, in this case, it was sheer luck that the first result was authoritative. When site authors cite such details, you can usually rely on their info.

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey
Admin


Back to top Go down

Identifying a Friend's Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:35 pm

Jay Gaydosh wrote:
Next step is finding a good on-line pot source for repotting her Ficus.
Thanks,
Jay
Try Dallas Bonsai Gardens, although there are others. You might inquire at the local bonsai club. Someone might have exactly the right used pot for a fraction of the new price.
Some people have been slow to adopt the name Ficus salicaria because it was published from a cultivated specimen. Here is the history as I know it:
Willow leaf fig was found in Florida about 55 years ago in a shipment of imported plants. Apparently nobody knew where the plant originally came from. Shortly thereafter, it was seized upon by landscapers as a vast improvement over the ubiquitous F. benjamina. It only grows to a modest size, it is very easy to grow in Florida, and makes a very pleasant garden shrub. However, its name was unknown. Following that, it was discovered by Florida bonsai growers and became understandably popular. Because of its fancied resemblance to Ficus salicifolia and F. neriifolia, these names were tacked onto it when it came into the trade. In fact, at one point, growers thought they were synonymous, although actually the two species are from two different continents.
The showdown came around 2003, when some people started the new Web site, FigWeb, http://www.figweb.org/.
They are trying to build a database of all the fig species in the world, but this one had never been properly identified. They sent one of the plants to Prof. C. C. Berg in Norway, the world's topmost authority on Ficus taxonomy. Turned out it was a brand-new species, which he published as Ficus salicaria. The name means willowish. F. salicifolia, meaning willow-leaf, was already taken. Some botanists think F. salicaria may have originated in South America, but it has never been found in the wild. Many plant species are known only in cultivation, so this is not unique.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Problems with my co-worker's Willow-Leafed Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:14 pm

Six weeks ago, the ficus was relocated from a North facing window with indirect light, regular watering and never any fertilizer, to a location with no windows, grow lights on during working hours on Monday through Fridays and no light on the weekends and she began adding a deluted soluable fertilizer last Friday. The tree has gone from seldom loosing more than a leaf or two to loosing 20 to 30 leaves a day over the past two days. The leaves that are falling off appear healthy, green and shiny.

Any idea if this is part of the Ficus life cycle or is this tree in trouble?

There remains a few small, but healthy, weeds growing in the pot, which would indicate that the soil is still viable.

The possible contributing factors would be:

1) Change in location (air flow, access to light)

2) The addition of fertilizer, standard chemical mix diluted to half strength or less.

3) The addition of grow lights verses natural light. (May be too close, maybe too far away, may also be the two days of darkness.

4) She recently began pinching back the buds to begin ramification; which appears to have been working. The branches shown in the photos above have NEVER had this many leaves and there has been significant increases in branch divisions.

Again the branch endings appear to be healthy, no browning of leaves toward the distal ends of the branches or closer to the trunk.

What can I check, what can I photograph?

Thanks,

Jay

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Carolee on Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:35 pm

Ficus do not like change: even when it is for their own benefit. Take care of it as usual, and the leaves will come back. Don't pinch when making other changes (like location): too much stress if too many things happen at once, but they are very tough to kill.

Carolee
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:14 pm

Jay Gaydosh wrote:Six weeks ago, the ficus was relocated to a location with no windows, grow lights on during working hours on Monday through Fridays and no light on the weekends
Jay
Good grief, no wonder the plant is in trouble. As I said, high daylight tubes will probably do better than grow lights, which are designed primarily for herbaceous house plants and vegetable seedlings.
She needs to install a timer that will keep the lights on 16 to 18 hours a day every single day, including weekends. The tree is trying to go dormant, but if she keeps it that way too long, it will die.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:03 pm

Flourescent tubes are out, our building is not set for putting them on timers. She already has full day-light tubes in the fixtures, but they are not on at night or on the weekend and they are too far from the trees to make a major difference.

She currently has 50W grow lights in the pole fixture. I was looking at the CFL lights above 5000K that come in 13W to 60W. If all she can get are lights for the pole, what difference is a 5000K (to 6500K) light in a 13W vs a 60W. (She is lilmited to 50W and can get a timer.)

I know what they mean in power usage, just don't know the difference for plants.

Thanks,

Jay

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

Identifying a Friend's Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:22 pm

Incandescent bulbs can also be put on timers, but they are very wasteful. Tell her to take the plant home. It is going to die in that setup.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:48 pm

We will be using Compact Flourescent Bulbs. I've found 13 watt bulbs in 5000K+. So, even though they will be in an incandescent fixture, she will be using the curly CF lights.

She said that there is a reason why this tree has been at work all these years. In light terms, she lives in a cave.

Thanks, kiddo,

Jay

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

Identifying a Friend's Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:49 pm

It doesn't matter what kind of bulbs she uses, being in the dark the whole weekend will probably kill the tree. Tell her to get an aspidistra, put it back in the north window, & give you the Ficus for safekeeping.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:58 pm

The tree now has 3 - 6500K CFLs in the fixture with a timer on it so that it will be running 7 days a week. The bulbs are the equivalent to 40watts while only using 15watts.

Jay

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:52 pm

The tree appears to have stopped dropping leaves. Friday she came in and noticed some additional symptoms, to include odd spots on some of the leaves. She got a magnifying glass (another one with old eyes) and found she had mites. A sound dosing with Neem and the mites appear dead (the dosage calls for 2 more treatments at 7 and 14 days.) As of Thursday, 6 days later, the leaf drop has halted. The automatic lighting appears to be working also.

Thanks for everyone's help.

Jay

Jay Gaydosh
Member


Back to top Go down

A Friend's Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:22 am

She can start styling it next spring.
I am also trying F. salicaria under lights. Too soon to report anything definite. I can tell you so far that the most responsive Ficus under lights is the tiger bark, with the dwarf F. benjamina cultivars a close second.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Identifying a friends Ficus

Post  Sponsored content Today at 9:28 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum