Ficus Techniques : 29

Why are there two varieties of leaf on my Fig?

by Jerry Meislik

Angelo Brocato of Italy writes to show us how he has taken a rather tall Ficus microcarpa shortened the long trunks, repotted it, and allowed new growth to erupt out of the bare stems. His tree is well along to creating a rainforest style Ficus with aerial roots. He includes a virtual of the reduced tree to show how he will reduce the trunks in length.

Angelo, wonders that there are two varieties of leaf sprouting on the trunks. One leaf is thick and round while the other is thinner in texture and has a pointed end.


The reason for the two leaf types is that the growers, likely in China, often graft the round leaf form onto a normal type Ficus microcarpa stock. While the round leaf form is still microcarpa it has a thicker leaf that is also smaller than the pointed normal type microcarpa. Growers do this to utilize readily available large trunks of the normal microcarpa and graft on the smaller leafed variety.

In the future of this bonsai it will be necessary to keep all of one leaf type to keep the design consistent.

All photos by Angelo Brocato.


Photo 1. The original tree, photo by Brocato.

Photo 2. Leaves removed and repotted.

Photo 3. Angelo's virtual of the reduction.


Photo 4. Close up of the two different leaves. Round leaf on left and pointed leaves middle and right.


In 2010 Angelo took the plunge and shortened his tree to creat a compact banyan style tree.

The original tree with X's showing the cut points

Shortened, view one

Shortened, view two

New buds springing out which will be the future of the tree

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