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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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