Creating A "Rainforest" Ficus: Part 2
 By Jerry Meislik


A rainforest Ficus, Hilo. Notice the long way to the first branches.

To quickly summarize, in May 2004 David Fukumoto presented me with a gift of a 30 year old Ficus bonsai. David removed the tree from its growing container and sheared the top back as well as reduced the roots to a much more compact shape. It was shipped to me from Hawaii and it was planted immediately upon arrival in my home in Montana in a specially created deep container. The container is a normal shallow bonsai tray that was deepened by building an aluminum wall and back-filling it with bonsi soil. The tree was planted into this extremely deep "container" to allow the roots to lengthen. In time the tree will grow grow roots deep into the container while remaining at its current height above container! In this way it will resemble a very tall tree with long, hanging aerial roots propping it up.

The tree potted after arrival in Montana.

Side two after arrival.

After 11 months of growth it looked rather bushy and wild.

Eleven months later.

Eleven months after arrival, reverse side.

It was trimmed back to its basic structure.

"Front" of the tree after trimming.

"Back" of the tree after trimming.

The plan is to allow the tree to grow strongly and then to further refine the branches. This will also allow time for the roots below the soil level to thicken and elongate. After another year or two the tree will be repotted and only the vertical aerial roots allowed to remain. After several repottings the soil will be taken down to the ceramic pot level and hopefully the tree will sit on long elevated roots high above the soil surface. A virtual projection of how the tree might look in the future.

A virtual image projecting the tree in 5-6 years.

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