Tag Archives: Ficus virens

Five years development with a fig

This bonsai was grown from seed and kept in a small container for its whole life. Development of a bonsai for size will occur most quickly in the ground or in a large container.  Although growing in a large container or ground growing can develop large bonsai often the tree will need finer branching and detailing. This should happen once the bonsai is containerized and nearing its final size.

Slant style grown from seed, 2009

Slant style grown from seed, 2009


Showing some good branching, 2014

Now that the size and branching are nearing a reasonable point, leaf reduction and increasing branch density will be next on the list for development.

Ficus virens, the White or Spotted Fig

One of my favorite of the larger leaf figs is Ficus virens, commonly called the White or Spotted fig. Although the species has larger leaves that make creating small sized bonsai difficult, it can be done.

Ficus virens is quite suitable for larger bonsai. It has attractive leaves that in some cultivars can  be quite red or bronze on the new foliage. Thailand growers have developed some that are very red. The red color in the leaves will persist for a week or two before turning to a deep, deep green color.

_MG_0031 _MG_0034 _MG_6700 _MG_6728 _MG_9992 ThaiSlant_9732

In the photos above you can see that the mature leaf color varies from seedling to seedling. Some show a fair amount of red or bronze-tinged foliage. These plants are all about 7-8 years old from seed.

Moving An Aerial Root

Aerial roots are one of the very useful and impressive features of some fig trees. As with other design elements of a bonsai the aerials must augment the overall design scheme.

In this Ficus virens the aerial root crosses across the trunk and in addition it gives the appearance of a reverse taper to the trunk of this tree. It could be removed or a better option is to move it to the other side of the trunk and use it to improve the taper of the trunk.

The aerial crosses the trunk

The aerial crosses the trunk


Closer view of the crossing aerial


A chisel is used to separate the root from its adherence to the trunk


The aerial is repositioned to the right side of the trunk


Close view showing moss added to the base of the aerial to help promote new hair roots to form

Young root emerging after only two weeks

Young root emerging after only two weeks

The moved aerial is wrapped with sphagnum moss and placed into the soil. Within two weeks a new hair root is already formed.  The repositioned aerial is now a permanent fixture of the design.

The definitive reference work on Ficus
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