Category Archives: root cutting

Root cuttings

Root cuttings are one of the easiest ways to develop a good bonsai from throw away materials. Repotting a fig bonsai is needed every year to 5 years depending upon growth, species, size of pot etc.

On removing some of the larger and more shapely roots the root is potted up with the root hairs in the soil and the cut end sticking out of the soil about 1-2 inches. After 2-6 months the end of the root will sprout new leaves and stems. Over time the new growth can be shaped to be an interesting bonsai. In addition most of the root can be lifted out of the pot to make a longer trunk.

Not all fig species will sprout from roots but natalensis is one that sprouts very easily.

Ficus natalensis, root cutting that has sprouted new stems and leaves

The same root cutting after a year of growth and wiring for shape

Some steps in creating a bonsai from raw material

This is a young plant grown from a root cutting of a Ficus natalensis. The root cutting sprouted three branches.

To develop a new apex and create a better transition to the new apex, two of the sprouts were pulled together with electrical ties. A month or two passed and the ties were removed. The lower part of the fusion appears to be nicely grown together but the upper portion is not fused. So several new electrical ties were placed in areas adjacent to the old ties.

 

Root cutting of Ficus natalensis

Root cutting of Ficus natalensis

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Side view shows three sprouts have grown from the root cutting

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To develop a thicker transition to the trunk two of the sprouts were tied together with electrical ties

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After a month or two the ties appear to have worked

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The ties were removed and the upper part of the fusion was not together. Some mild scars from the ties will be present for about 6 months. With growth they will disappear.

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Two new ties were placed adjacent to the old ones and growth will be allowed to speed the fusion more completely

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Some basic wiring was done to give the young bonsai a bit of shape


The definitive reference work on Ficus
for bonsai. The book is a softcover, 8 by 10 inch volume, with 144 color pages, containing detailed information for the beginner as well as the advanced hobbyist.

Ficus natalensis exposed root style

Ficus natalensis is one of my favorite species for bonsai. It has many characteristics making it suitable for bonsai. One, of these is how easily it is grown from root cuttings.

The images show one of mine that is only 2 years from a root cutting.

Root cutting in 2013

Root cutting in 2013

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Same cutting in 2015

Root cuttings

Some species of Ficus will grow from pieces of root. This is fortunate as repotting of figs is required every few years to maintain the health of the tree. At this time thick and unnecessary roots can be removed and rooted to form new plants.

A root cutting is shown from a Willow Leaf fig. The bonsai is now about 10 years old.

Willow Leaf fig from the root cutting removed 10 years ago

Willow Leaf fig from the root cutting removed 10 years ago

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This root cutting was removed from a bonsai tree and grew into the above tree


The definitive reference work on Ficus
for bonsai. The book is a softcover, 8 by 10 inch volume, with 144 color pages, containing detailed information for the beginner as well as the advanced hobbyist.
 Click here for more information