Tag Archives: Ficus ‘Mystery’

Twisting and Turning

When presented with material that is young and lacks interesting features I will search for ones that have twists and turns. Great bonsai can be created from this rather unexciting material. Using wire to shape long and limber pieces is another way to introduce interesting shapes. Another way is to use root cuttings that often have great shapes, The pictures below are all of Ficus ‘Mystery’, a fig that is not identified yet.

Ficus ‘Mystery’

Ficus ‘Mystery’

Ficus ‘Mystery’

Ficus ‘Mystery’                                                                        

 

 

                                                                        To learn more about growing figs buy 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

The tree with no taper

There are many ways to handle a tree with little or no apparent taper. In this case a Ficus ‘Mystery’ was grown from a very straight and taperless cutting.

Fortunately there were several existing aerial roots that were brought down along the trunk and rooted into the ground. The aerial roots provide a visual thickening to the lower part of the trunk creating some taper that just does not exist. The roots coming off the aerials provide a nice surface flow that helps to visually stabilize the tree.

The area circled in red shows the straight cutting including a few aerial roots

The bonsai shows some nice taper provided by the aerial roots as well as nice surface rootage.

Creating a bonsai from a cutting

Taking cuttings is one of the best ways to start a bonsai tree. In this example a cutting of Ficus ‘Mystery’ was taken. It was a long straight piece of stem with several aerial roots. A cutting taken with aerial roots is almost guaranteed to root.

In this case the cutting rooted successfully and several years later the bonsai created was an attractive semi-cascade tree.

I take cuttings regularly and place them in bonsai soil and enclose the pot and cutting in a plastic bag to keep the humidity high. The bag is kept out of direct sunlight but in good bright light. Open the bat and water the soil as needed to keep the soil from getting dry but do not keep the soil totally full of water.

The bonsai created from section 4 of the photograph

The bonsai created from section 4 of the photograph below

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Section 4 with its aerial roots was taken as a cutting

 

Root-over-rock design

One of the most popular designs is the root-over-rock design where a tree or trees is growing draped over a stone.

In this example a Ficus ‘Mystery’ was placed on a rock about 9-10 years ago. It was a piece of a larger plant see http://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/BreakingUpIsEasyToDo.html

This section was frankly quite ugly and I almost discarded it. Rather than throwing it away I decided to place it on the rock. It was strapped to the rock with plastic tape and grown for years with most of the rock and the roots buried in soil. Over time the roots and the stone were exposed.

You can see the result in 2014. The bonsai has improved dramatically and one day may become one of my favorites.

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The ugly plant was strapped to this stone in about 2004

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The bonsai as seen in 2014

Root-over-rock designs can be done in many ways but the best and quickest results will be achieved with plants that have super aggressive root systems. Plants that grow slowly and have fibrous root systems generally will not succeed as root-over-rock designs.

Ficus ‘Mystery’, piece 4

Ficus ‘Mystery’ is an unknown fig given to me in 2004 by friend David Fukumoto of Fuku-Bonsai.

The first shot shows one of the pieces of the tree that was initially sectioned into 5 pieces.

The second shot shows the piece #4 in 2014.

Ficus 'Mystery' as part of a larger plant, 2004

Ficus ‘Mystery’ as part of a larger plant, 2004

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Piece #4, 2014

This material is vigorous and aggressive and shapes up into beautiful bonsai. I would recommend it highly to anyone growing figs as bonsai.

See http://www.bonsaihunk.us/public_html/?p=125 for more about Ficus ‘Mystery’.

Two of my Ficus ‘Mystery’, #1 and #2

Ficus 'Mystery' #1

Ficus ‘Mystery’ #1

Ficus ‘Mystery” is so called because its exact scientific name is unclear. No matter what this fig is called it is one of the best figs for bonsai that I have cared for.

Ficus 'Mystery' #2

Ficus ‘Mystery’ #2

You can see how these two figs were created from a tree given to me by David Fukumoto of www.fukubonsai.com by clicking here http://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/BreakingUpIsEasyToDo.html

One of David’s figs of this species is in the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in Washington, DC. It is a beauty.

Let me know how you like mine.


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
 

Exposed root styles

One of my favorite styles for tropical bonsai is the exposed root style. This may represent trees whose roots have been gradually exposed by a river washing the soil away from the roots or with trees growing on a hillside which is being eroded away. It also could be the end stages of a tree starting life as a strangler or epiphyte and then having the host trunk die and rot away leaving the strangler exposed by itself.

See how these various figs in this style work for you.

 

Ficus natalensis

Ficus natalensis

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Ficus natalensis

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Ficus ‘Mystery’

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Ficus ‘Mystery’

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Ficus ‘Mystery’

_MG_1403

Ficus ‘Mystery’


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