Ficus questions..

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Ficus questions..

Post  Storm on Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:14 pm

Hi guys, long time no see. Ive been offline for quite some time, mostly because my computer broke down.
Its good to be back. A while back, I posted some pictures of some trees. One of my ficus.
I had trimmed it hard, and wired it into a sad dancer. Now im kinda tired of my trees. Its not that I dont love them, but they dont get anywhere.
They are not relly bonsai trees, and need a long time to grow and to be worked on. so the question is, should I make some boxes and put them over to those, so they can grow? Is it a bad time to do this?
Its snowing now and then, and they are just standing in my windowsill. I havent yet got to afford to buy some lights for them, and they dont really get enough sun here.
I have absolutely no heading with these trees. I always take things as they come, but now I think I need a plan.

Ps: If I have a tree in a growing box, and it gets alott of roots, I assume I cant just cut them off like you do when you repot, into a much smaller pot?

Storm
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Ficus Questions

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:16 am

Storm wrote:Now im kinda tired of my trees. Its not that I don't love them, but they don't get anywhere.
They are not really bonsai trees, and need a long time to grow and to be worked on. so the question is, should I make some boxes and put them in those, so they can grow? Is it a bad time to do this?
Its snowing now and then, and they are just standing in my windowsill. I haven't yet gotten to afford to buy some lights for them, and they don't really get enough sun here. I always take things as they come, but now I think I need a plan.
Don't be discouraged. There are things you can & can't do.
Try to find some species that are more adaptable to windowsill growing. I don't recall what you have. I seem to remember you had a Fukien tea and a willow leaf fig. These are high light species & will not grow during the winter. Just be satisfied with keeping them alive. Next spring get them outdoors for the summer, any way you can. Feed them well & gradually get them into the sun, & they will grow over the summer.
If you must grow on a windowsill, try one of the dwarf cultivars of Ficus benjamina, or even the standard one if that's all you can get. Ficus microcarpa may also be more amenable to windowsill culture. Try a Serissa. It may drop dead on you, but some people grow it successfully. Worth trying. Experiment with other species.
I believe you live in an apartment. Do you have a balcony, or even a fire escape? Try a few outdoor species, such as juniper. They are much easier to keep over the winter, as long as they stay fairly cold.
Do not put your reluctant growers in large training pots or growing boxes. That is not the problem. You will only kill them with root rot.
Iris

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Re: Ficus questions..

Post  Storm on Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:14 pm

Thank you very much. They seem to be tigerbark ficus'. They have grown during winter, but not so fast.
I have them in bonsai pots, but appropriate to their sizes. So, I dont think they have much space to make new roots, so thats why I wondered about the boxes.
I have one window with room enough for 3 trees. Too bad my cat loves to eat the leaves...
and I have a yard. Its room enough for a hundred trees I guess, with full sun. Only that during winter its a metre of snow there.
The other trees I have are a Podocarpus (cant remember if it was Podo or Poda anymore), A buxus, carmona retusa, Ilex crenata, a "christmas tree", an elm, and a few others I forgot.
I am considering natives, ofc, but I havent found any. Its a bad time to dig up anyway.
I like needle trees, but I dont know much about them, and all I can find are too big. My worries are about backbudding too.
But I was mostly looking for trees that I could grow fast, and hopefully all year. Or atleast with leaves, so I can make them into "Yggdrasil's".

Thanks, Storm.

Storm
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Re: Ficus questions..

Post  Storm on Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:40 pm

Oh yeah, another question.. Im a huge bonsai fan, and love single trees in a pot, but what I actually like landscape bonsai more.
Is it a bad idea to get a pot, or make a pot/box, that I could have stones as mountains etc, and plant my ficus trees in it? Also have it planted so I can let them get alott of roots. I cant see why it should result in root rot..

Thanks

Storm
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Re: Ficus questions..

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:06 pm

Storm wrote:They seem to be tigerbark ficus. They have grown during winter, but not so fast.
Tiger bark is Ficus microcarpa 'Kimmen.' It will do fine on a windowsill during the winter, but don't expect it to grow much. Wait till you have fluorescent lights. Then you will see it take off.

Storm wrote:I have them in bonsai pots, but appropriate to their sizes. So, I don't think they have much space to make new roots, so that's why I wondered about the boxes.
With all trees, what goes on underground reflects what goes on above ground. If the tree is not growing new leaves, you can't force it to grow new roots. You can't repot now, anyway. In the spring, you could repot them in a very slightly larger pot, with very coarse soil, mostly gravel. But they must go outside in full sun with plenty of fertilizer.

Storm wrote:I have one window with room enough for 3 trees. Too bad my cat loves to eat the leaves...
Where do you keep the rest of the tropicals during the winter?
Be careful with the cat. Some of the trees could be poisonous. You need to rig up a baby gate or a piece of fencing to keep her away from the plants. Also, give her her own pot of grass, alfalfa, or catnip. People don't realize that cats may need some vegetation. In the wild, they get it from the stomach of their prey.

Storm wrote:and I have a yard. Its room enough for a hundred trees I guess, with full sun. Only that during winter its a metre of snow there.
Then you should have no trouble growing bonsai. Put up a bench or table in the sun. Just remember to put your tropicals out in the shade first. With your long summer days, you should get good growth during the summer. If you are worried about insects, just watch your trees closely. If you see damage, spray with a systemic insecticide once or twice during the season.If the table is in the middle of the yard, you shouldn't have much trouble with squirrels or birds.
During the winter, your tropicals will come indoors. Your hardy trees will need to be kept in a cold place so they stay dormant, like a garage, cold-frame, unheated basement, etc.

Storm wrote:The other trees I have are a Podocarpus , A buxus, carmona retusa, Ilex crenata, a "christmas tree", an elm, and a few others I forgot.
That's probably Podocarpus macrophylla, a tropical. I hope someone else can advise you on it. Do you know which species of Buxus you have? Some are hardier than others. If it is hardy, you can let it go dormant for the winter.
What you call Carmona retusa is Fukien tea. The correct name is Ehretia microphylla. That requires lots of sun. You will be lucky to keep it alive on a windowsill. At best, it grows very slowly in our conditions.
"Christmas tree" could be almost anything with needles. You need to find out which species you have. Do you have a Chinese elm or a European elm?


Storm wrote:I am considering natives, ofc, but I havent found any. It's a bad time to dig up anyway.
I like needle trees, but I don't know much about them, and all I can find are too big.

There should be some natives in your area that are suitable. Look for larch, Norway spruce, juniper, birch, and Mugo pine. When you collect yamadori, once they are established, you should be able to cut them back to a manageable size. You will need to find an experienced collector to learn from.

Storm wrote:They seem to be tigerbark ficus. They have grown during winter, but not so fast.
Tiger bark is Ficus microcarpa 'Kimmen.' It will do fine on a windowsill during the winter, but don't expect it to grow much. Wait till you have fluorescent lights. Then you will see it take off.

Storm wrote:I have them in bonsai pots, but appropriate to their sizes. So, I don't think they have much space to make new roots, so that's why I wondered about the boxes.
With all trees, what goes on underground reflects what goes on above ground. If the tree is not growing new leaves, you can't force it to grow new roots. You can't repot now, anyway. In the spring, you could repot them in a very slightly larger pot, with very coarse soil, mostly gravel. But they must go outside in full sun with plenty of fertilizer.

Storm wrote:I have one window with room enough for 3 trees. Too bad my cat loves to eat the leaves...
Where do you keep the rest of the tropicals during the winter?
Be careful with the cat. Some of the trees could be poisonous. You need to rig up a baby gate or a piece of fencing to keep her away from the plants. Also, give her her own pot of grass, alfalfa, or catnip. People don't realize that cats may need some vegetation. In the wild, they get it from the stomach of their prey.

[quote="Storm"But I was mostly looking for trees that I could grow fast, and hopefully all year. Or at least with leaves, so I can make them into "Yggdrasils".[/quote]

(sigh) Rolling Eyes Ah, youth! My dear, the first lesson of bonsai is patience. You have your whole life ahead of you to perfect your trees. You cannot grow bonsai fast. Without a good under-lights setup or a greenhouse, there are very few tropicals you can grow, and don't expect them to grow well all year. Yggdrassil is an ash tree. Many artists grow European ash bonsai successfully. If they grow near you, maybe you can collect one.
Iris

bonsaisr
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Re: Ficus questions..

Post  Storm on Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:25 pm

Thank you so much for such an in-depth going answer! I really appriciate it.
I know im hoping for something that is quite silly, but I just get a little frustrated when I see so many with all these lovely trees, and good growing conditions, and I sit here, with a windowsill and slow growing tropicals, hehe.

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Re: Ficus questions..

Post  bhellige47 on Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:11 pm

one that is an extremely fast grower that will give results in one summer is the rosemary plant. and whenever it produces shoots that are unseemly, cook them! i saw two rosemary grown in one summer from 1/4" diameter in a 4" pot and 8" tall to fill a 16" plant container and 24" tall with a base of over an inch! fast indeed. a disclaimer: it was grown in cow poop, not traditional bonsai mix.

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Re: Ficus questions..

Post  djlen on Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:07 pm

Rosemary does very well over the summer, but when you bring it inside for the winter be prepared to be
disappointed. They do not tolerate the dry warmth of indoors and it takes much work and knowledge to
see them through the winter.
Serissa was mentioned above and it is really not as difficult to grow as some believe. However it takes more
than available light. You should have a shop light....either a 4' twin fluorescent or a single screw-in Compact
fluorescent fixture, which is dirt cheap and very effective. Less than $10 at Home Depot.

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