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nelson20vt

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Anyone here growing any fig's bonsai style? I was googling ficus carica bonsai and seen quite a few very nice looking trees. I was planing on doing this but wanted to know if anyone had any experince with this and is there any varieties that would be recommended for this. Oh how the heck do you get a thick trunk like that besides old age?

Some pics I found while googling.









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Reply with quote  #2 

Man, that 2nd picture is by far the absolutely the best sample out of all of them.


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Jason
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nelson20vt

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Reply with quote  #3 
Jason I agree the second one is also my favorite its got the shape im trying to go for. Question is how long would that take and how much work.

A few others I forgot to post




25 year old fig tree from spain.


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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Nelson
Tapla on the other forum specializes in bonsai type plants not sure if any of his are ficus.
Bass

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks for the great photos. It isn't as easy to grow these as bonsai compared to a fig tree in a large container. I grow several bonsai trees and I had tried figs.
You can't count on fruit if you're growing them for the shape. There are times you have to prune of the branches during summer with fruit on it.
The leaves are too big for bonsai. So they have to be pinched during growing season.

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OttawanZ5

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Reply with quote  #6 
Nelson
I was just imagining that if one roots a very thick and short fig cutting and star shaping it into a Bonsai then that should not take much longer.
I am thinking that as a side Fun-with-Figs we can start a competition for such pseudo-Bonsai fig plant.

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Reply with quote  #7 
With other types of trees people often start with an air layer that already has some size and shape to it. I also have a book that suggests starting with a tree in a 2 or 3 gallon pot and root prune over time to fit it into a bonsai pot. Ottawan's idea of starting with a good thick cutting is perfect.

Susan

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Reply with quote  #8 
Ottawan, I can spare some thick stems. Also, I saw in a large garden centre(Country Garden) here they are selling Red Gem Goumi for $30 + tax.
They have about 5 trees in one gal pot that is about 2 + feet tall. I am thinking of getting one in spring.
OttawanZ5

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Paully
You may have email soon from me on the subject of Red Gem Goumi (& a cheque too for one of the Goumi for me ($30+tax+shipping ??).
To tell you the truth I had this hunch that the only place that will have Goumi in Canada will be BC and I may hear from Paully.
I should have prayed for many more things and not just for "Goumi" when John mentioned its prolific fruiting nature here (& in Russia). Ottawa may be the perfect place for the Red Gem Goumi. Only testing it will prove it.

Back to Nelson's fig Bonsai ....

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Reply with quote  #10 
OK Akram. Let's wait till Feb or March where the stores start to bring in new stocks and hopefully I can locate "Sweet Scarlet" by then.
fotula

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hello..Happy Holidays

This is my first bonsai fig tree...


Attached Images
jpeg IMG_0614.JPG (136.29 KB, 138 views)
jpeg IMG_0615.JPG (165.92 KB, 129 views)


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nelson20vt

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Reply with quote  #12 

Fotula thats a nice fig tree, I see your already training it what gauge wire are you using? I am still trying to figure out which variety I will use for my Bonsai Attempt more than likely a spare Unknown Fig.


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fotula

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thank you very much nelson20vt....i had no idea what wire to used...i went to Home Depot and got soft wire that i can bent the branches without hurt them...is wire such as those cables in without the plastic outer..Sorry i think it is called gauge....Im know more Greek that English...I also saw lots of video in youtube how to make a bonsai....


Happy New Year...Best of Health

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Fotula-Fwtoyla
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Reply with quote  #14 

Forgot the branches i got when i lived California by a friend of mine who had a large fig tree in the yard 10 years old....was 2 small branches very weak at the beginning....i put the branches in a pot with soil and went very well after that decided to make a bonsai....now i do not know nor that he knew tha name of the fig tree....but i know it made a very large black figs very red and very sweet...his mother told him that drought the fig tree from Cefalonia Greece.....


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Fotula-Fwtoyla
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Reply with quote  #15 
Looks like the copper ground that comes in most Romex for residential wiring.  Romex is typically used at 10, 12, 14 gauge.  I would speculate this is 10 or 12 gauge.

A quick run to your hardware store could help locate something suitable.

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Jason
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nelson20vt

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Reply with quote  #16 

Thanks Jason, Next trip to homedepot will check it out.


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Reply with quote  #17 

Sometimes I wish you lived here in town, bud.  I have a ton of romex leftover from our kitchen remodel.  I could give you enough copper ground and even coated wire to do about 150 fig bonsai.  I would ship it to you, but shipping would cost more than the wire at the store.


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Reply with quote  #18 
I missed this interesting thread on fig bonsai when it came out last year.  I just came upon a Portuguese site that might be interesting http://bonsaidori.wordpress.com/    It shows some basic technique.   The photos posted above are very interesting.   I had not thought about trying this before.
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Reply with quote  #19 
I had a fellow come by last Fall and he picked out some trees for the specific purpose of turning them into bonsai. Haven't heard back from on how it went. He was interested in things with very thick trunks, and which were suckering near soil level.

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Reply with quote  #20 

Fortula:


It is Great that you want to Bonsai your fig. There are a few things that I would recommend:

1. Go to your local library and obtain a book on Tropical Bonsai (read it 
    several times). You may later want to purchase a book. But read it several
    times. The more you read it the clearer it becomes. Trust me.

2. Obtain a cheap set of Bonsai tools ( the cutters for branches are      
    different than normal cutters), when they cut a branch it makes a 
    beveled cut. The set should include wire cutters and shears.

3. Obtain some sealant (bonsai paste), from a garden center that sells 
    Bonsai's and equipment. You can get your cheap tool set there also.

4. The wire that is used to train the trunks, branches is annealed copper
    coated wire. Or you can obtain wire (annealed) from a junk yard. You will need it in
    several diameters thickness.

You will wire the trunk and branches mostly during the late fall/ winter season.
Spring and summer is difficult, the figs grow to fast . You would be wiring almost every week.

The Japanese learned Bonsai from the Chinese. In Bonsai you most learn that things are mostly on right angles.

I found that the older the bonsai, the harder it was to wire it. Because the older it got the more branches, the more secondary brances and so on. 


Nelson20vt:

A good Bonsai takes years. The tropical (fig) will grow faster that temperate material  (pine, Juniper, maple etc).You must have a plan. Draw it out on paper. Most of all study nature. I found out that shears and wiring are your best freind. The key is leaf pruning more than branch pruning 



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Reply with quote  #21 
I would take an older in ground tree with an interesting trunk and whack it off just above the soil line. Then train the new growth that sprouts. Figs usually do well growing over wounds, and the new growth is like having a clean slate to start with.

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NZFig

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Reply with quote  #22 
Nelson did you ever try this in the end?
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Reply with quote  #23 
I would also be interested in hearing how this worked out. These plants are all really cool and this makes me want to try and grow a fig as a bonsai.
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Reply with quote  #24 
I grow several other ficus species for bonsai. I just play around with it am not a serious bonsai artist, just a duffer. They have naturally smaller leaves and fruit although the fruit is not edible. We have a member here who has written a book on ficus bonsai. Jerry is his first name forgot the last. Hope he will chime in. Fiucs carica is a pretty hard subject for bonsai and is usually attempted on a larger scale. And as Bass had commented, you will be pruning off most of the fruiting branches, so if you decide to try bonsai don't expect much fruit from that tree.  Afigfan mentioned above that a common technique is to take an established tree and cut it back severely,then work with the newly sprouted branches. That will give you the thick base in a hurry. It's a challenge but is doable I lost a nice one in winter a couple years back when I let it dry out too much.
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Reply with quote  #25 
I came upon an old pm. Our fig bonsai artist is Jerry Meislik and he goes by Bonsaihunk on the forum. I have his book, it is very good for showing techniques for shaping trees for bonsai. He has a website which you can find using his name. I'd put it here myself but I can't seem to figure out how lol. 
rcantor

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Reply with quote  #26 
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/

you highlight any text and to the left of the TV lookingicon (which is for photos) a chain will appear.  click on that and there will be a place to enter the url.  Do that and your link will be active.

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Reply with quote  #27 
Nelson....

"figfan/James", and a few others have said that chopping the original trunk was the quick route to growing Ficus carica as a bonsai.  They are right, and fig leaves will never reduce to be in scale with the size of the trees.  Older trees are usually treated to a "trunk chop" and a new rack of branches are grown and selected where needed.  Most large diameter, deciduous bonsai are grown this way, in training beds, until the tree is developed to the point where it can be displayed in the proper pots. It's all illusion.  All the hard work and the years of training these plants  is usually never seen by admirers.  What the general public sees is the final, finished product on display, at shows.  It's possible to get these trees to set fruit, but they are not grown for the figs, but the shape, and the illusion of gnarly age.

Most of the posted photos show plants that have had multiple trunk-chops.  That's how the abrupt changes in the direction of the branches have been created.  It is a fascinating process, and most bonsai are works in progress, but fairly easy with figs because they are so dynamic, and put out plenty of new wood that can be trained.  Try it on an old "Brown Turkey" or trees that have plenty of bottom branches.  Think outside the box, and "create" a twisted, contorted fig tree of your own.  Standard growing practices still apply, even if a fig tree has been given the bonsai treatment.

Good luck.  Show us some before and after photos.

Frank

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Reply with quote  #28 

Technically any tree in a pot is bonsai.  ;-)

I purchased a book called 'Indoor Bonsai' at the Bonsai museum in Seattle.  It covers several figs as miniature bonsai.


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Reply with quote  #29 
Thanks for all of the posts and information. I checked out Jerry's website and it looks like it will really helpful. Once I get a tree started as a bonsai I will try to put some pictures up and document the process.
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Reply with quote  #30 
Yes technically any tree in a pot is bonsai as Greg noted. That is what the word bonsai means, however, practically that is not the case as bonsai implies a work of art. And there is a lot of time and work required to attain that piece of living art. A very cool way to grow a tree in a pot. 
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