Ficus sycomorus

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  Hank Miller on Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:45 pm

This Ficus sycomorus (sycamore fig, fig-mulberry) was grown from a small cutting. In 4 years it has really thickened up - the western New York summers appear to be to its liking. I have just recently brought it inside for the winter. Enjoy. Hank



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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Jerry Meislik on Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:27 pm

Good work, Hank.
Jerry

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:26 pm

Hank, the message you sent me fell into my spam trap and drowned before I could open it. Please try again.
Iris

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  coh on Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:10 pm

Nice tree. I've never heard of Ficus sycomorus, and had actually misread the title - was expecting to see a sycamore tree when I opened the thread! How tall is this tree? Does it differ significantly in growth or treatment compared to other ficus species?

Chris

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Hank Miller on Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:15 am

Thanks for the kind words. This ficus sycomorus is 11 inches high. I think they make excellent material for bonsai because of their good growth properties and reasonable leaf reduction. Initially the foliage was rather large but it reduces nicely with time and leaf pruning. The only difference I find is that they seem to require a bit more water both in the summer and winter than my other figs. It probably is due in part to their larger leaves. Other than that they are reasonably easy to maintain.
Hank

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Wed May 22, 2013 1:47 am

Hank was selling them at the Rochester show, so I had to have one, due to its connections in Israel. Here is an article with all the information, http://www.wildflowers.co.il/kkl/english/plant.asp?ID=119.
Maybe I'll post a picture of mine later on.
Not much inspiration from nature, as it is a very ungainly tree. Razz
Iris

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Jerry Meislik on Wed May 22, 2013 3:26 am

Iris,
Nice reference article.
Jerry

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Tue May 28, 2013 11:19 pm

Has anyone else had any experience with this species? With all due respect, I didn't like the way mine was styled, so I rewired it. When I got through, it was pretty standard informal upright. I hope I will not be vilified.
Iris

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:26 pm

Nothing to take a picture of yet. I repotted it in June, in my regular mix. I don't think I did that much root pruning, but I can report that it is very susceptible to potting shock. I thought I was going to lose it. I remembered a trick that works with buttonwood, & stuck the pot in a water tray, with a plastic bag over its head. That worked, & it is beginning to recover.
There are a few pictures of this species as bonsai on the Web.
Iris

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Jaco Kriek on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:23 pm

Here is a Sycomorus by Charles Ceronio of South Africa.
 

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:14 am

Mine recovered from its potting shock and is coming along, but it is SLOW.  I had to restyle it because it lost some branches. Mad 
It is a shohin size, so the large leaves are a bother. They are reducing slowly. It is quite different from the other tropical figs that we grow as bonsai or houseplants. It appears more closely related to Ficus carica. The sap is much less milky than our other figs. One consolation, no matter what mistakes I make styling it, it will still be prettier than its cousins in nature.  Razz 
You don't want to see a picture yet, in curlers and a mudpack.
Don't any of the Israeli growers use this species?
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:18 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Emoticon didn't work.)

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Leo Schordje on Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:30 pm

Thanks Iris for the article.

Hank, any update pictures, or please post an update sometime in 2014.

Jaco - thanks for posting.

It is obvious that this Ficus species the leaves can be dramatically reduced. Nice. It is a reminder, if one runs into one of the larger leaved members of Ficus, that most of them the leaves do reduce fairly well.

Thanks all.


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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:09 pm

A few comments while waiting for my tree to primp for a photo op. Needs more wiring & repotting at a better angle.
Although it grows slowly, the tree is obviously healthy. As most of you know, my winter location for tropicals is a fluorescent light setup in the basement. I have four humidifiers running, trying to keep the humidity around 70%, more for the orchids than the bonsai. I had to give up on the varieties of Ficus microcarpa, such as tiger bark. They did not do well under my conditions, even over the summer. I finally succeeded with a shohin willow leaf. It likes a coarse mix, position up under the tubes, and half strength fertilizer. My best & oldest fig is F. benjamina 'TooLittle.' On the other hand, F. b. 'Kiki' is slow & temperamental.
Why is my F. sycomorus doing well? Look at the leaves. (For those who haven't met this species, the leaves are thin and fuzzy, unlike the semi-succulent leaves of our other bonsai figs.) It states very plainly that it tolerates less light than the other tropical figs, and prefers higher humidity.
The sycomorus buds back pretty well when pruned, but the sprouts are growing very slowly. I am assuming I will have to leave the wires on for months.
Iris

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:14 am

Here it is for what it's worth. For scale, the pot is six inches 15 cm long.



Comments are always welcome, but believe me, I know everything that's wrong with it (I think). For example, the pot is boring, but that's what I had. Any suggestions for a pot?
I just repotted it to get a better angle & position. Oddly enough, this time, even though I cut a couple of roots, I have had no sign of potting shock. I think the humidity helps.
Because of the flash, the leaves appear shiny. Actually they have a matte finish.
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:17 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Explain photo.)

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Jerry Meislik on Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:46 am

Iris,
that looks great. Good job.
Jerry

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:14 pm

Thank you. One of the challenges of horticulture is learning which species grow well in your conditions.
Iris

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:41 pm

Another interesting botanical note. As previously mentioned, this species has slightly hairy leaves. The hair is presumably to protect it from too much sun, or perhaps to capture raindrops. Since neither is needed indoors under the lights, I notice the new leaves are less hairy.
Iris

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:53 pm

They spelled it wrong in yesterday's paper. I am probably the only one in the Post-Standard distribution area who noticed it. Hank is in Buffalo. I don't know if it was this paper's error or if it came in that way from AP.
The name of Ariel Sharon's residence was given as Sycamore Farm. Of course there is no way a place in Israel would be named after a northern temperate tree. The name is undoubtedly Sycomore Farm. It probably has one of those huge old specimens that are found in Israel. I left a message for the newsroom editor but he never called me back. I will probably get sympathy from Fiona.  Razz 
Google Translate and Wikipedia don't know the difference, either.
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:57 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Additional comment)

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Neli on Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:49 am

He hehe! They grow here in the bush huge ones...everywhere, together with F sur. I think I have one small one but never bothered much about it. I am going to dig some big ones not and bonsai.  Very Happy  Thanks for the inspiration guys, and girls!

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:01 pm

Alas. My tree was coming along. Jerry Meislik told me that in Africa this species sometimes defoliates during the winter (dry period). So I tried defoliating mine to encourage back budding & smaller leaves, but it died. Sad I will have to get another one from Hank.
Iris

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Neli on Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:28 pm

Here is mine, started from a tip cutting and went to check on it after Iris reminded me. I am still fattening it...want a nice short sumo trunk.


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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:22 pm

Coming along nicely, but remember, this species is limited in the ability to reduce leaf size.
Meanwhile, F. salicaria, F. benjamina 'Kiki', and F. b. TooLittle are progressing.
Iris

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Neli on Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:27 pm

Yes Darling. They are also hard to ramify. They back bud but not as much as other figs. I have also many sur...many!
I collect figs, so I have many many types I brought from all over the world.

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Ficus sycomorus

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Aug 08, 2015 6:13 pm

Here is my current one, acquired in May.



I always forget a scale indicator. The pot is 10 inches, 25.4 cm.
I wish I had gotten a before picture, but didn't get to it. I removed most of the original tree in gradual steps and changed the base. I shlepped all the way to Nancy Knapp in the Adirondack foothills north of Utica for a pot, but the root system was such a challenge, it wasn't deep enough. My deepest pot is a Nancy Knapp rustic tea bowl, & it looks fine. I hope to eventually work the tree down to a shorter size and a much smaller pot, but it doesn't have enough branches for a shohin. It has already given me several new branches, so I can't complain.
Yesterday I discovered that my antique collecting son has a Japanese trivet that will make a perfect stand for the tea bowl. Looking forward to the fall shows.
I mentioned previously that the ancient sycomores in Israel are totally shapeless, but they are a thousand years old, so beyond criticism. The sycomore made aliya (emigrated to Israel) without its wasp, so there are no young ones. However, it is quite common in Africa, and this is a typical specimen in a dry area.



They run to a normal informal upright style, although a cultivated one in a park resembles F. microcarpa. You don't see many sycomore bonsai on the Internet. Many places where they could grow have low humidity. I gather they do better in a greenhouse or under lights for the winter.
Comments are welcome.
Iris

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Re: Ficus sycomorus

Post  Precarious on Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:26 pm

In the long run, it looks like there might be a crossbar problem with the two lowest branches, and at the next level up the way the branches are directed it gives the illusion of a crossbar.

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