A ficus, I believe?

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A ficus, I believe?

Post  Nik K on Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:50 pm

Hello all.

I live in South-Western Canada and this is my new bonsai:





I keep it indoors on a windowsill that gets partial sunlight and it's grown in the last few weeks to a 27.5 cm height. The climate here is temperate, warm winters, summers rarely break 30C, but it does rain a lot!
As I grew up on an orchard with a large garden, I've got a decent green thumb, but I've never done anything like bonsai before.
Is an identification possible? It was cut from a larger ficus something around last Christmas and I went at it with a pair of scissors a few days ago.
Any suggestions or info would be greatly appreciated, particularily in knowing which other bonsai would be good for a beginner. I was considering a Japanese Red Maple.

Thanks.

Nik K
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Re: A ficus, I believe?

Post  AlainK on Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:44 pm

Hello,

This must be a cutting from Ficus benjamina.

Not the best species of ficus for bonsai, but for those who live in tropical countries and have a 12-month growing season, it's fine.

In your climate, I'm afraid it can be a bit disappointing unless you keep it in a warm house with artificial lights. Better grow pot in that case.

As you have a garden, Japanese maples are a very good option especially since the climate is not too hot, and not too dry.

An Acer palmatum atropurpureum is a very good choice since in sunnier climates the leaves tend to get scorched during the summer, but in Vancouver, I guess it would be a very suitable environment.

But bonsai needs patience, and learning time. Why don't you just start with the plain A. palmatum which is much more adaptable to various environment? It's very rewarding: nice colours in the Spring, in Autumn, hardy to I'd say minus 15┬ĘCelsius at least, I think it's one of the best species to start with.

Conifers (larch, pine, picea, sequoia,...) must be very suitable to your area too.

But frankly, unless you are equipped like a professionbal to grow tropical plants indoors, I think ficus, whatever the species, is far from being the best choice: work with native trees or trees that can be planted in a garden without any winter protection, and kept in pot with a minimum care.

That doesn't mean you should throw your ficus away, but if you work with species that are adapted to your environment it will be so much more rewarding...

AlainK
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Re: A ficus, I believe?

Post  Nik K on Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:07 am

Thanks for the advice, AlainK.

I've started to bug my landscaping relatives for cuttings of the plants you mentioned. I'll be back with an update on those.

Have a good day.

Nik K
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A Ficus I Believe

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:02 pm

Living in Vancouver, you can probably have the best of both worlds, indoors & out. I think F. benjamina has gotten a worse rap than it deserves. Yours has some interesting trunk movement & would be good to practice on. For the winter, keep it in a sunny window & let it grow. Next spring, after all danger of frost, prune it back & plant it in coarse bonsai soil. The rule for F. benjamina is prune back to two leaves. Put it outdoors in the shade, then gradually to full sun. It will bud back & you can get some leaf reduction.
Iris

bonsaisr
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