Twisted Ficus benjamina

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Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Ryan on Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:26 pm

Hello everybody!


Today I went to the local nursery just for fun. Hadn't planned on buying anything at all. While I was walking around my friend who works there showed me a large ficus that she said she wanted to sell me. She sold it to me for $5. When I first saw it, it was 10 feet tall. I told them to get a saw and showed them where to chop it. They then chopped the tree and it's height was reduced to a little taller than me. I'm 6'4", so it is now around 6'7". The trunk was that usual ugly twisted trunk that is commonly seen on these kind of houseplants. So, I decided to buy a small grouping of Ficus benjaminas to fuse to the trunk. I used electrical tape as I could not find my grafters tape. Also, I wanted to repot as the pot is far too large to fit in my greenhouse, so does anyone think I could do that now? The roots don't fill the whole pot. Anyway, questions, comments, anything, always welcome.

The tree:


The chop site with new leader to the left:


Attaching the trees:


Covered with turface and all done:




Ryan

P.S. I still have the top of this tree, but have no idea how to root benjaminas. I have success rooting other ficus cuttings in water, but usually don't have that kind of success with these. Is it really necessary to remove all of the leaves?

Ryan
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Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:22 pm

Sorry to be a killjoy. Sad
Even though you are young, don't waste your time on such trees. Standard F. benjamina very very rarely can be made into decent bonsai, & those are generally in Florida or the tropics. If you like Ficus, look for F. microcarpa or F. salicaria. or the dwarf cultivars of F. benjamina, like 'TooLittle.' Tiger bark fig is very commonly sold in the box stores these days, & is well worth experimenting with.
There are many trees & shrubs in the garden centers that are useful for bonsai, like privet, cotoneater, & juniper. They don't have to be expensive. Just stay away from grafted trees.
Iris

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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Ryan on Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:29 pm

bonsaisr wrote:Sorry to be a killjoy. Sad
Even though you are young, don't waste your time on such trees. Standard F. benjamina very very rarely can be made into decent bonsai, & those are generally in Florida or the tropics. If you like Ficus, look for F. microcarpa or F. salicaria. or the dwarf cultivars of F. benjamina, like 'TooLittle.' Tiger bark fig is very commonly sold in the box stores these days, & is well worth experimenting with.
There are many trees & shrubs in the garden centers that are useful for bonsai, like privet, cotoneater, & juniper. They don't have to be expensive. Just stay away from grafted trees.
Iris

Oh no, not a problem. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try different methods on and see what comes from what I do.

Ryan
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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Guest on Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:31 am

Two comments from me;

Is it only I who finds it strange to have difficulties rooting a benjamina in water? As I recall I've had 100 % succees with them.

I can understand your wish to disguise those bloody "twists"! But in order to hide them wouldn't you need to graft a WHOLE LOT of cuttings? It sound like a great challenge - one I doubt that I could handle. On the other hand, your efforts might turn out one very interesting tree! A new "twist", so to speak. Laughing

Why not?!

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Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:14 pm

Those so-called twisted Ficus are actually several thinner trunks braided together. Sometimes they stick a golf ball in the middle. One of the idiocies that made the sheep sick. Even once the trunks have fused together, they will look very artificial. Not bonsai material, in my opinion.
Iris

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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:03 pm

Mrs. Iris,

I took a look at a 5 inch trunk of a too-little, than I looked at the branching, I am not sure I would want to even try that cultivar, again. No real density. So I guess it would be the Chinese way of making much of the trunk and just leaving enough foliage to say it is alive.

My experiments with Ficus. b. has me with a thick trunk, but very coarse branches, that keep throwing out new shoots daily. I will try a totally inorganic soil mix and see if that slows anything down.

I like looking at Ficus bonsai, but am not sure if at the end of the day, I would want one. Working on an Elm is much more satisfying.
Khaimraj

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Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:07 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:
I took a look at a 5 inch trunk of a too-little, than I looked at the branching, I am not sure I would want to even try that cultivar, again. No real density.
Odd. Must be the climate, or the way it was grown. Even under lights in the winter, my 'TooLittle' maintains adequate density. During the summer, growth is as dense as one would want. I have to keep the top branches thinned to give enough light to the lower ones. My only complaint about 'TooLittle' is that the curl in the leaves looks a bit unnatural.
Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:
My experiments with Ficus. b. has me with a thick trunk, but very coarse branches.
Yup, here too, but slower growing. Makes a nice house tree if properly cared for.
Iris

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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Guest on Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:51 am

OK. So, you've got a twisted benjamina. It's ugly. What to do? Leaving it "as is" is really out of the question. Throw it out? Naw, what bonsai-ist would throw out any plant?

Here's a fun idea. Take several lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng root ficuses. Thread them into the upper part of the "twistie" leaving those long roots to cascade down the tree and into the soil, thus covering the whole of the twisted trunk. Let it grow a few years and eventually you will have an interesting "aerial root" beauty reminiscent of the temples of Angkor Thom in Cambodia.


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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Ryan on Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:18 pm

Scion wrote:OK. So, you've got a twisted benjamina. It's ugly. What to do? Leaving it "as is" is really out of the question. Throw it out? Naw, what bonsai-ist would throw out any plant?

Here's a fun idea. Take several lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng root ficuses. Thread them into the upper part of the "twistie" leaving those long roots to cascade down the tree and into the soil, thus covering the whole of the twisted trunk. Let it grow a few years and eventually you will have an interesting "aerial root" beauty reminiscent of the temples of Angkor Thom in Cambodia.


Great idea!

But, I think I will need to shorten the height of it first...

Ryan
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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Guest on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:30 pm

Ryan wrote:
Great idea!

But, I think I will need to shorten the height of it first...

The more nourishment required beyond/above the thread graft the sooner the "graft" itself will "take". If it were me I'd chop off the top "last", unless my patience were to run out. Laughing

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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Ryan on Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:23 pm

Scion wrote:
Ryan wrote:
Great idea!

But, I think I will need to shorten the height of it first...

The more nourishment required beyond/above the thread graft the sooner the "graft" itself will "take". If it were me I'd chop off the top "last", unless my patience were to run out. Laughing

Will do. I will indeed wait for some sort of back budding.

Anyone think I could repot this tree into something free draining and/or root prune??

Ryan
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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Charles M on Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:17 am



Actually, a Ficus Benjamina can make a really good bonsai. This one is coming along quite nicely. It does have a few problems. The guy I got it from created it from a branch cutting, and the roots are one sided. The sphagnum at the base should cure that. Branch development is coming along nicely, and after one more year of working on ramification, maybe in 2012 I can start defoliating and reducing leaf size. This tree grew so fast last summer that it had to be rewired three times. It is actually a lot of fun to work on one of these. It takes five years to do to a Japanese Black Pine what I can do to one of these in a year.

Charles M
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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Guest on Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:48 am

Charles M wrote:

Actually, a Ficus Benjamina can make a really good bonsai. This one is coming along quite nicely. .


May I say, "WOW!"? The base of that trunk is to die for. bounce

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Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:12 pm

Charles, you have a guy wire fastened to the base of the lowest branch. What is it supposed to be doing?
Iris

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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

Post  Guest on Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:24 pm

Replacing the "gal" wire, Iris? Laughing

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Re: Twisted Ficus benjamina

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