Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ficus Burtt-davyi - Ugly duckling changing into a swan.

Starting serious bonsai growing in 2009 I got this ugly Ficus from a young up-and-coming bonsai artist selling his father's stock without his permission!

At that stage I was hunting for the species and did not care if it had potential or not. The main reason I bought it was to obtain some cuttings from it. Soon afterward I got some better material from another guy and decided to give the tree a go.

The tree October 2009 after growing freely from the time I bought it:

This is the tree the same month after chopping the leader and cutting back a few twigs:

That sure looks ugly!

The trunk had a nice line and taper - the biggest problem was the big ugly bulge that was left after the tree was chopped by the first owner.  As soon as the tree recovered from the cut back I have cut away the ugly bulge leaving an even uglier wound. To help the wound grow over I only cut back twigs once a year. I also realized that I would have to hide the wound for a few years until it has grown over - deadwood is not an option when it comes to Ficus.... no hollow trunk for this ugly duckling! The tree was also planted into a shallow but wider pot and I feed it on a regular basis with organics.

The tree recovered well and in 2012 it has changed into something!

An ugly duckling changing into a swan:

The wound is growing over nicely - another two years and the chop mark will be gone. From 2012 I cut back growth regularly to get some twiggy growth going. In January 2014
I repotted the tree into a bonsai pot:

 I had to cut two long coiling roots - to help the tree recover I also cut back the twigs. The tree will be left in a shaded area to recover. The tree is about 10cm high.

Another pic to show the size:

(Some info on the species here: . What most people do not know that this species is a rambler growing on rocky cliffs.)