There are many ways to shape raw material into a bonsai. In this case the bonsai was created from a Ficus rubiginosa cutting. At first it was allowed to grow long and healthy in a large container. It was then chopped down to a short segment and it was allowed to grow for several years. Next stage is to select branches and apex.
In the last stages it was moved to a smaller container to develop secondary branches and reduce leaf size. This process has taken 7 years but can be accomplished in a shorter time if grown outdoors in a tropical or sub-tropical area and kept in a large container or the ground until the refinement stage of development.
Even raw materials can be transformed into nice bonsai with this sequence of development.
Large healthy cutting of Ficus rubiginosa has been grown with no trimming to develop trunk size
The plant was chopped back(reduction cut) and allowed to sprout out.
All new growth is allowed to grow to regain vigor. Tree is kept in a large development pot and not a small bonsai container during this phase.
Seven years after starting the cutting was beginning its transition to a bonsai. Further development will involve more secondary branches and leaf size control. Pot is about 8′ long.
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Bonsai artist and friend Anthony Webb has a lot of experience growing figs and one in particular that he likes and finds fascinating.
My plant of Ficus ‘Little Ruby’
Same tree, 2011
Little Ruby on the left and normal Ficus rubigionsa, Port Jackson fig in the middle
Note the small leaf size in comparison to normal Ficus rubiginosa
Here is Anthony’s summary about his experience with a Ficus rubiginosa ‘Little Ruby’ over 25 years.
“Ficus rubiginosa var Little Ruby is native to Australia.
A cultivar of Ficus rubiginosa (Port Jackson fig) was discovered in a batch of Ficus Rubiginosa seedlings.
Little Ruby can only be cultivated from cuttings and strikes quite easily.
Little Ruby is a slower growing fig with dark green narrow leaves.
My tree is approximately 25 years old, I have learnt that by letting the tree grow out then cutting to the desired shape. The foliage then thickens more than continually trying to force it back by cutting & pinching, as per a lot of other Figs.
Generally, I wire the trunk & primary branches to shape , but leave branch-lets & secondaries unwired as I find these areas brittle. By using my method of growing out, then trimming back I have had more success in developing. As my tree establishes more roots I will put into a bonsai pot.
I find it a fascinating tree but for me patience is needed.
For further information on Ficus rubiginosa click here.
I have had this fig for many years. In the last year or so I have just pinched out areas that needed restraining and left other areas to grow out to create heavier branches where needed.
You can see the wide variation in the leaf size depending upon how the branch was maintained.
Ficus with leaves varying from small to large
Now defoliated so that branch posiition can be assessed and wired into position if needed. New leaves will come in smaller in of uniform size.