Ficus Bonsai Care and Pruning

Ficus Bonsai Care and Pruning

Tthis morning we are going to talk about the ficus reducer in the Western Hemisphere that means Western Europe northern Europe and North America growing indoor bonsai is very popular among the ordinary enthusiasts I’m not talking of the great enthusiasts who sculpt and prune very intricate junipers and pines but the run-of-the-mill hobbyists who have just one or two bonsai in the home and they think that that is their pride and joy for most people especially those who are not used to bonsai bonsai is just about indoor trees they seldom realized that most of this serious bonsai are outdoor trees but we should not look down on them because they enjoy their trees and one of the most successful or easy varieties to grow indoors is the ficus reduce it this is a ficus that has small leaves and it’s ideally suited for growing indoors because the ficus can stand ordinary room temperatures they need a room temperature during the winter of about 18 to 20 degrees centigrade and the minimum can go down to as much as five degrees centigrade and they will perform quite well as long as you make sure that the soil is always moist they should live for a very long time I have a ficus in my own living room which I’ve had for about five years and it is absolutely thriving and doing well most of the other indoor bonsai like the Chinese elm and the pepper tree is cigarette here they prefer a much cooler room I’ll talk about those species on another occasion but those species really require temperatures room temperatures of about no more than say 10 degrees to be absolutely ideal for them so we will not discuss those varieties on this occasion but today I’m just going to tell you about the ficus reducer how to care for them and how to prune them it is now the turn week in February and here in the South of England we are going through a very warm spell the outside temperature is about 15 degrees but the room temperatures are normal and at nighttime it goes quite cold so the ficus can be kept outdoors so they have to be in those in the summer you can keep them of those and they will benefit from being kept outside but generally the ficus can remain indoors all year-round provided you keep the soil watered and you give it plenty of light and don’t keep it just facing the window occasionally once a week or once every four times you should turn it around foot so that it faces the right light alternately I have several examples of the ficus that we stock on our nursery this is the smallest size which is just a simple broom tree and we have not pruned these since the autumn so since October November these were not pruned and as you can see they’ve made about three inches of growth this is the simple broom style and what I’m looking for when I care for these tweezers you occasionally get some dead twigs which you just removed but for simple trees of this nature they are very cheap and cheerful trees I just prune them into a ball shape no more than that and if you feel adventurous you could wire it out and by wiring you can open it out and give it more of a brutal shape like that as you can see I’m not going to spend time worrying but you can see but by wiring popping it up it changes the shape a little bit but no more than that I will go through these trees all very quickly this is another one and again you see that has gone indoors and without lighting inside branches tend to die I’m just checking if there are any dead twigs inside there are none and these are the long shoots that I’ve grown so I just go through it Aundre pair of scissors and prune it into a ball shape or broom shape and if you feel adventurous you can open it out by a bit of wire and to change the shape a little bit then you get the a shape tree the informal upright and this again we prune into a triangular shape just keep it in a triangular shape and it should be okay this shoot is very quite long so you’re in danger of losing the pad so you need to prune that back this one if you feel like you can with bit of wire wire it like this so that you can improve the shape the focus don’t suffer suffer from many diseases but I just spotted on a trick that I’ve just pulled you do get if it’s growing on it if we bring the camera close you can see these little insects there they are white agents they suck the SAP of the tree so you’ve got to watch it so that you can either just rub it off and kill it or spray with insecticide but if they’re just a few of them you can just squash the insects so that they don’t damage the trees and after pruning you will notice that the ficus always give out the SAP after all it belongs to the rubber tree family and this is the set that produces the rubber for your tires and rubber for instance of beads on these big trees like the ficus elastica which is the rubber plant the white SAP is tapped for making rubber they say that the SAP can be dangerous for animals so keep them away from cats and other pets but I don’t think it can harm harm you if you touch it so that is the shape we would prune that tree and bit of wiring that this little root is the start of an aerial route all these ficus the ficus reduces a sudden area hoots I’ve shared some larger ones in a moment you can encourage these to go into the soil and they will become nice thick aerial roots while talking about aerial roots let’s move on to the next one this is another example can you see all the aerial roots going for this one lots of aerial roots coming and a lot of people like them because they make it look nice and complicated and a bit bizarre if I might say but this is the nature of the tree there are some people who don’t like their roots so they prune them all off but because this is the natural habit of the tree I would keep the roots I’m just going to show you how to pull some of these larger ones let’s look at this tree so this is quite a large tree I would say it is about 45 centimeter tall and the trunk is quite substantial if we turn the tree around you can look at it all sorts of different sides and most of the ordinary customers will buy these trees and we’re not fussed about the styles of the trees they wouldn’t even know the front from the back of the tree so they’re not bothered but strictly speaking all bonsai do have a front on the back so if we just turn this around this side is more open this side left so there are more branches there although the aerial roots on this side look very interesting so you have a choice of either this side the open side which the classical way of looking at upon science that this should be the front because is open on this side because there are more back branches this should be the back but because the air roots are so interesting you could even make this to the front and if you just remove this one and show the roots this could be the front but since this is not my treat and someone who buys this tree may prefer to have the tree looking bushy I would leave them to make the decision I’ll just show you how I would prune the street as I said earlier with the other trees these have not been pruned since October of last year so they’ve grown quite a bit so the shape has become a bit you know ugly and a lot of these long branches could do with a bit of a trim so the way I look at these trees is that I always aim for a conical shape as long as you put the trees in the conical shape don’t bother about the inside too much of the point just make it into a conical shape and you can’t go far wrong even from this side you need to make it more conical and the tips you need to take out if you don’t pull the tips it will get longer and longer so it’s very important to look at each of these tips and take the tips off as I said this is a nice bushy tree a lot of people like the bushy trees so I’m not too bothered see this was a pad but it’s going out you can why this outward is if you wish but this basic pruning is putting it into that conical shape and you have this lovely bushy tree of course this pad here these shoots are getting too long so I would take these back don’t worry about taking all the leaves off it’s not quite spring yet because by spring and summer you’re going to get so many leaves that you’ll have to turn it yet again and if you didn’t prune these at this time it will get too long and it will merge into the rest of the tree so these pads I won’t take it quite hard back there I’m doing it because these are the pads they were merging through the next number of branches as I said if you wish you can wire these outwards to give more definition but essentially I’m showing you how to prune and with the prunings the focus is one of the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings so all these bits of twigs that have been pruned if you just insert them in Pete and Sam or just Pete you will get a new plant I will show you a coconut we make this was cutting made as late as September and in September we put one of these shoots into this little pot and here you are it’s going firmly right so in a few months can you see all the roots here this is a potting that we made back in September so you can make no end of cuttings from just taking the shoots that you prune and sticking them in soil and you will get a new plum so that is that one I will show you a lot of these so that the reinforces the learning process the ficuses sometimes referred to as the strangler fig and they call it the strangler fig because these aerial roots look as if they can strangle the tree but there’s another reason why they are called strangler figs in the native habitats like in India and Australia where these ficuses grow wild these ficuses are propagated by birds when they eat the little fig fruit and the droppings of the birds get into the trees of another species and when the little ficuses begin to grow they soon take over the entire tree and they strangle the parent tree so they kill the tree on which it has hosted and that’s why it’s called a strangler fig I like these even roots because they look bizarre and powerful and there’s no point removing it because I think it adds to the beauty and bizarre character of the tree so what I’m just do again is to prune it into the conical shape and make sure the pads don’t get too long otherwise these little tricks which form the parents will merge into the rest of the tree and the tree will just become a blob and nothing else so like this one so just prune it back although we’re in February which is almost coming towards the end of the winter throughout the winter this tree has been growing so we’ve had a lot of growth fooling and root pruning are two subjects that terrify people who have not done much motorcycle but don’t be terrified because if you don’t do it you lose control of the tree and it feel becomes very untidy due to this if you want to do you can cut this off but I’ll leave it these aerial roots are typical of most focuses especially the banyan tree the ficus Bengal Innes which has very large leaves they produce lots of annual roots so this is the character of this tree complicated trunk complicated every roots this one again has such a complicated structure the area roots merging with the trunk and this side branch or the classical bonsai person they would probably remove this because it’s too low or remember most of these tropical trees should not always be pulled into a pine shape where a lot of these purists go wrong they tend to prune every single bond side into the classical pine shape which is used for these hardy conifer and temperate climate trees but because trouble topic looks really good in different way they tend to forget that you should try and recreate what you see in nature that means in nature you see fighters growing like this you should try and emulate what you see in nature and create the images that you see in nature or ficuses so all I’m doing is putting this back because all these extensions here about I would say they in inches there by like two three inches I’ve grown in the last three months so I’m just pulling it hard back it may seem a bit severe but you’ve got to do that otherwise you lose control of the tree if you have too many in growing branches you can take them out so I’m just gaming in this case for a dome-shaped and again this is for a bit too long a st. look at that’s about six inches long I’m afraid like I’m thinking metric because I’m used to the impaired measurement of inches American viewers will be familiar with the inches and feet many people say that I look like a hairdresser just cutting away I have a friend who is a hairdresser and they’ve told me that if I gave up once I took up hairdressing I would learn more money but I think I enjoy bonsai more look at these beautiful area roots there so this brings out the real true nature of the ficus these are nice features full of writers and it is she got bigger you can let’s separate the branches but since it’s not such a large tree I would say it’s only about 35 to 40 centimeter tall I wouldn’t bother to separate that the branches just yet with trees like this it’s hard to decide which is the front and which is the back as long as you enjoy the look of the tree that’s all that is important if I were to be highly critical I would say I could take this branch off because he’s hiding the aerial roots let’s see if I take it off what would happen by the way that would make a beautiful cutting let’s remove that and you can see more of the trunk so there’s a case for doing that so you could use this as a front but if you are keeping it in the room you need to turn it round so that it faces the light from different directions so this tree is nice from any side this side or the other side so this is what I’ve done for pruning this one I brought this tree along because it has a lot of yellow leaves people who are not familiar with indoor plants especially the ficus and even the Chinese out whenever they see yellow leaves they think the tree is dying but this is not Seoul there are quite a few species of ficus that do lose the lead in fact some of them lose all the leaves in the winter I’ve seen ficuses in the tropics places like India and Taiwan where the ficus are completely bare and in fact in some of the bonsai exhibitions they defoliate all the ficuses so that they are displayed in exhibitions without any foliage on at all so they do D for you so practices especially in the winter before the new leaves come they shed their old leaves so if you see yellowing leaves like this of course it could be due to two reasons if you forgot to water the tree or don’t water it for a long period the tree would gradually get yellow and could even die but if you kept it well watered in the winter just before the spring and before the new leaves emerge you will get the old leaves falling off so yellowing of the leaves of ficus is not a sign of the tree dying it’s just that it’s going through the transition period before the new leaves emerge so the old leaves will drop open I’m just taking the opportunity of pruning all the m’s so that the extensions don’t merge into the rest of the tree see this is a bit of pad it’s gone very large to take that back these extensions should be ticked so I’m just putting the tips see this is for very long in this I’ll take that right back all these can be made into cutting so we’ll be making cutting from these branches by pruning these shoots I will encourage more shoots to grow it’s not the third week in February and by March in another month it will be growing very strongly and next month I will stop feeding a tree with any high nitrogen fertilizer and it will produce no end of shoots again beautiful animals some people who are fastidious will take out the roots and make them grow vertically this root has grown sideways so when you are reporting you can probably pull this root out I’ll show you what we do in Europe where we go these five pieces we tend to use more of a peat base of cocoa base compost we don’t try and use too much of the Japanese soils like akadama so a pea based soil tends to be better so you can rearrange the roots so that they and then you can also plant the roots like that if you want to we can do that and the roots can grow thicker and then I would be plant this tree with the roots growing like that so you can always do interesting things to the ficuses to make them look more attractive so this is what I’ve done to this tree and now I’ve got one more tree to show you this tree has been a bit neglected when these were imported from the tropics it must have been growing with the back against the walls of this side has become a bit again if you want to improve this tree you can do a bit of wine to straighten these branches out I’ll just show you on one so that you know what I’m talking about so I not to keep the wire on the ficuses for too long because they will mark the branches and cause scarring because ficuses grow very fast using 2 and 1/2 millimeter wire and Sumi you use the right clear wah you can open it like this so I’m trying to make the see a larger conical shape and then again basic pruning is taking the tips out and I’ll just notice that on this focus I told you the ficus belongs to the fig family and these little buds hearing or the dormant fruit of the ficus if I left it they would produce little fruit which are about quarter inch in diameter and this is what the birds eat so focuses do fruit the flaws are insignificant but the fruit are quite interesting and then quite a few different species of fighters which have red colored fruit which make them even more attractive now this tree has lost the conical shape of it because some of these branches have grown a bit tall but rather than prune it there’s a case for wiring them out because these have been commercially grown and the people who grew them probably just let it grow as a bush but if you want to be more creative you can make it free have more structures so I can see that these two branches have gone straight up and they’re crying out to be wired more horizontally so let me get another piece of wire and just wire those two branches although most people don’t do much to the indoor modify their is scoped for being more creative with these trees especially the larger specimens of course in tropical countries like India Thailand Indonesia most of the bonsai of the tropical practices and they produce some really beautiful specimens with ficus now this branch I take upward guards to grow up that way to produce the clinical shape now let me just look at the other side now this circuit corn is grown very well so I’m taking as much as this hole so that would make a lovely cup in there lots of dormant throat I know from this this has become a bit it’s very tempting to leave a bushy tree like this because it has so many leaves it looks very nice but if you just left it you will lose the shape completely so you’ve got to be a bit brutal come the spring can you see I’ve just created a pad there I know I won’t be able to sell it for another two months but I’ve improved the shape and by the summer look very nice [Music] see these watches [Music] so although this part is coming out this way I can still use this as our front if you did like it you can remove that punch completely now this is not a nice feature just notice that this root it’s gone right down the trunk and ficuses tend to do that if you’re not careful you can strangle the whole tree so what I will do is I will try to get some of those roots out and this one was going right home see that she has wrapped the roof round this way these air routes are okay but I don’t know why this has done that has gone wrong and strangle the tree there probably so basic conical shape for the street is all we need lovely spreading ficus some people may say oh this is an ugly route but again as I said this is the nature of the focus so I would keep it because it gives light to to the tree and this is what we call a natural looking tree anything that resembles trees in nature will make it more attractive a sponsor so I reinforce what I said earlier don’t always attempt to recreate your ficuses in the shape of pines and other temperate climate trees because ficus is our tropical trees and they have this particular character so this is the last of the focuses that I’ve done and I hope you wouldn’t be intimidated so pouring is the secret to keeping the ficuses in good shape and come the springs for the throughout the spring and summer I usually read the ficuses from March to August or September I just put a high nitrogen feed and it will produce a lot of lovely green leaves and throughout the summer you need to keep it pruned watch out for scale insect because ficuses do attract scale so if you see scaling and sprayed with insecticide or just squash it but they will give you lots of pleasure so I hope you’ve enjoyed this little weed about how to care for your indoor focus thank you [Music] [Music] you [Music]

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