Ficus palmeri is a fig native to Baja and Mexico. It is often found growing in seasonally dry areas and adapts to times of drought by losing its leaves and storing water in its trunk. The trunk and basal roots are often found plastered over rocky areas with the roots draping down rock faces and into crevices in a search for water.
The leaves of this fig are relatively large with long peitoles and the tree’s nature is not to have very dense branching. This is a problem in getting this material to look tree-like and to respond to bonsai training and styling.
Ficus palmeri with a large water storing caudex and pretty sparse branching
Viewed from the other side
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.