When indoor bonsai trees begin to zoom back into life by growing vigorously, it is a good time to consider pruning.
Here I am displaying a Ficus Ginseng (Ficus retusa) tree, which I grow indoors. I keep it growing on a West facing windowsill, where it receives lots of warm evening light.
For indoor trees I learned it is better to photograph them in the bathroom, where there are no windows. The lighting in this room best reduces shadows, and shows off its green leaves and branch shape.
On March 30, 2020 I decided to prune the tree. This pruning will finalize the basic structure for the new trunk of of the tree. It has taken almost two years to change the style of this tree from a multi-trunk broom style into a single trunk with normal branch divisions.
See the results of my latest pruning below.
After Pruning Results
Type: Ficus Ginseng
Age: 4 to 6 years. Unknown.
Grown: nursery stock, gift
Last repotting: Never
Past articles featuring progress on this tree:
- New Tree: Ginseng Ficus
- Winter Maintenance: Branch Selection and Directional Pruning
- Ficus Ginseng: Analyzing Progress on Indoor Tree for Winter Pruning
Original Tree: Broom Style
And here is what the tree looked like originally back in September 2018. Quite the transformation.
Rooting a Cutting
A fun experiment to try with Ficus trees it so take one of the cuttings and attempt to root it into a new tree.
All I had to do was save a cutting the size of a thick wire. Green cuttings work better than woody cuttings. A rooting hormone was used on the base, and I buried it deep under the first one or two nodes, leaving only two leaves exposed to the light.
This tree cutting has been growing this way for over a year. It is starting to branch out, and the trunk is slowly thickening.
Ficus loves to grow in hot humid jungles, which is why people often grow them indoors.
To increase the chances of rooting, I mimicked the ideal growing conditions by enhancing the moisture within the soil and air.
Create a Micro-Climate
By keeping a plastic cup over the glass jar, this reduces the amount of water I have to provide the tree. It keeps the foliage and soil covered in beads of moisture at all times. It also increases the air temperature, which the Ficus tree is well conditioned to thrive in.
I make sure to not overwater by monitoring the glass when I pour water in. It is easy to see how much water sits on the bottom layer, which is a gravel layer of white pumice. On top is a super asborbative layer of coconut fiber. A thin layer of sand is on the top layer to combat fungus gnats.
The glass jar method is a fun way to monitor the growth of the tree cutting. As the roots grow I can watch and see what directions they spread. In this way I can see which layers of the soil the roots are best adapted to grow in, and I can see where the fertilizer is greening the pumice for the roots to absorb.
Ficus grows super long taproots that sometimes extend out of the soil and into the air. One of these roots is shown above arching along the surface of the glass where it collects condensation. Fascinating!
Although Ficus is very easy to grow, but it's well-known for disliking having its roots disturbed. Do not repot ficus unless absolutely necessary. Let it become rootbound until the tree has fully outgrown its space.
A true quarantine tree!
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