[Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by shibui »

No problem BB. You can cut figs as hard as you like and they will grow new shoots from the trunk. Cut where you think the first branch will be on your completed tree - if you want a little 10 cm tall bonsai cut around 3-4 cm from ground level. If you want to grow a 50 cm tree cut them around 15-20 cm high then put them into a really big pot so they will grow and thicken quicker. I'd cut those right back - maybe 5 or 6 cm tall so they bush up a bit and start to look more like trees than telephone poles.
Figs don't like cold weather much so it may be just a little early in Melb to prune hard. Maybe wait until late Sept or October.
Best repotting time for figs is during summer, possibly as early as late spring.

Have fun with these. They are great for beginners, almost indestructible.
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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by bonsai_beginner »

Thanks shibui!
Yeah they are very tall and skinny at the moment. I think I'll wait till the weather warms up then do what you said and cut it at around 6 cm from the soil.
Then use the cuttings to create this new style of trunk.

If I was to shorten the cutting, say using only 6cm of the thickest part of the off cuts would that work too? Or would two open wounds (one at the top and the split trunk at the bottom) be too much for it to handle and die?


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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by Homer911 »

Just found this thread. What a wealth of information. .... thanks everyone.

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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by MOGGINATOR »

Great information

just read through all of this cant wait to try it out
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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by sheepdawg »

I air layered a fig in spring and it's been sitting in a nursery pot for the past couple months and was thinking of trying this out on it. It's got a nice 2.5in diameter going, so I'm a bit apprehensive to give it a go. What does everyone else think? Should I just put it in a shallow pot (seedling tray?) and let it go bananas?
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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by shibui »

It depends what you want out of the tree.
If you want to grow a great big thick ficus I would put it into a large container - poly box size and feed lots. Allow it to grow and cut back hard occasionally.
If you want to develop an elegant shohin sized bonsai keep it in a smaller, shallow container and keep pruning regularly to create ramification.

Ficus rubiginosa will thicken quite quicly even when confined to a small container. They can be cut back hard, even below the leaves to bare wood and will produce lots of buds and new shoots. You can cut off 90% of roots in warm weather and they will still continue to grow so no problem if your tree gets too tall or has grown in a larger pot and has lots of roots.

Decide what sort of bonsai you want then decide how to grow it.
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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by sheepdawg »

Thanks shibui. I'm just after a fat fig (it's a microcarpa, I think), so I'll just put it a larger container or let the roots escape. I was thinking shallow container to get the roots growing as "sideways" as much as possible, to try get a slight buttressing going. But it seems that it won't help much from what I've read.

I've also had a damn hard time sourcing (reasonably priced) soil ingredients around here, but found debco cacti mix with perlite to give me the best results so far (for a really nice price too). Is this mix alright for fast growth, or am I being delusional about the perlite?

Also, I have four trident maple plants (only 1-2cm in diameter) and want to get something going with them, leaning towards a clump or some RoR (would fusing work at all?). What do you think will give the greatest gratification in the shortest time with these guys? (I got long term stuff underway, just getting itchy fingers looking at these guys haha). Apprehensive about a group planting because the placement of three seems to be a bit hit and miss for a newbies.

By the way, I enjoy reading your blog and always look forward to new catalogs coming out :) Do you mind me asking what postage costs would be like to the Toowoomba area? And do you sell PJ figs online? (Hope it's okay to go off topic here)

Thanks again
Last edited by sheepdawg on April 9th, 2016, 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by Homer911 »

Is it too late to repot in Sydney? I have two huge figs in large pots that desperately need a root chop to start training it to fit into a shallower pot.

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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by pebble »

Glad people have reposted in this, I'm definitely giving this one a try my self.


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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by shibui »

Homer, I reckon it is too late but maybe someone from Sydney area will have another point of view. I think those figs will manage for another 6 months - maybe its you who is desperate and can't wait?

Sheepdawg, Perlite should be ok in a potting mix. I've been using it in propagating mix for around 8 years an it does not break down very much. Most growers don't use it in potting mix because it is too light in weight and trees blow off the bench because the tree/ pot/ mix combination does not weigh enough with perlite in the mix. Debco cacti mix seems to be very similar to good, open bonsai mix and some of our members have used it as bonsai mix for years. Just fed the figs as much as you can to get growth. We have traditionally just added heaps of fertiliser onto the surface of the mix and keep topping it up every month or so to get huge growth.

Tridents are great for fusing. they grow and thicken quickly and fuse reasonably readily. you should find plenty of posts here and elsewhere about fusing tridents into larger trunks.
You are right that a group of 3 is a bit hard to pull off but it can be done. Clumps are great and you can get tridents to join together at the base to make a multi trunk bonsai - I have a few made like that, one with 3 trunks, another with 5 and one with a few more trunks.
ROR adds another dimension but also more complex. Every time you add an element it multiplies the chances of one factor going wrong and spoiling the entire arrangement. Every extra trunk you add also multiplies the chance of a problem but when you do get a good one it can be spectacular.
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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by pureheart »

Hello everyone! This is amazing I will try this very soon on two of my port Jackson figs but can anyone explain me step 8 please??? Do I need to repot at step 8 or not? Do I need to check the root and prune then or untangle??? And after that from February to November there is nothing to be done apart fertilising?is Melbourne hot enough to develop port Jackson figs properly? Thank you!!!


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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by pureheart »

Hello everyone! This is amazing I will try this very soon on two of my port Jackson figs but can anyone explain me step 8 please??? Do I need to repot at step 8 or not? Do I need to check the root and prune then or untangle??? And after that from February to November there is nothing to be done apart fertilising?is Melbourne hot enough to develop port Jackson figs properly? Thank you!!!


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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by shibui »

I assume that 'look at the roots' means you will need to repot in order to do that.
'If you leave the plant in this state for a full season unchecked you will have an ugly coiled hard to correct root mass' infers that you should rake out and untangle the roots so the nebari is ordered and well placed.
I'm pretty sure he is telling you to repot and root prune or at least untangle roots and place into desirable position.
Figs are resilient and strong. They can easily cope with repotting and root pruning more than once if you need to do it. After that put it back into the pot (or maybe a larger one) and keep feeding and watering to get plenty of growth.

Melbourne has a good climate for figs. If you are in bayside or inner suburbs they should be able to live outside all year. Further north and into the hills you may need to provide some protection if it gets cold at your place.
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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by pureheart »

Thank you Shibui!!! Much appreciated!


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Re: [Tutorial] How to Develop Dynamic Figs Quickly

Post by Mbunro »

awesome tutorial.

going to give it a go on some small little rubys over the weekend.

only question i have is whether there is much difference between doing this to a cutting, and doing it with a plant with established roots.
i have a few so i may cut a couple just above the roots and leave the roots on a few of the others and see if there is much difference.
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