Ficus, Schefflera. What to do?


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Canton, OH
Hello all!! I am 3 months into this addiction called bonsai and I need some experienced advice on a couple plants that I purchased.

The first is a pint size pot of Ficus Ben. There are about 5-6 individual plants in this pot at about 8-10 in. high. My question is do I divide them out now or leave them in the pot to get bigger. If I do divide them do I put them in training pots with bonsai mix or potting soil.

The second in a pint pot of Scheff. It is the same as the top 5-6 plants at about 8-10 in. high. Here is my question on these. They still have the green stalks. I saw on the Bonsai Channel that if you trim all the leaves that the stalks will brown and take on that bark appearence I want.

I have found this forum to be very informative and I hope some of you can help me out.
You might want to rotate the pics so we don't get a crick in the neck!
Or have to turn Monitor over...LOL
I would move both of these to 5 gallon buckets and let them grow super wild. After the scheff gets pretty large, the stalks should be close to an inch or 1/2 inch thick, then you can chop it down low and begin growing and training the new branches. Leave any aerials it produces until you are sure you won't need them in the design. They are a clumpy thing so that or banyan forms are what we tend to go for when using the species.

The ficus, you can leave them together or seperate, it all depends what kind of bonsai you want. If a forest planting then I would seperate then replant each one in a 5 gallon bucket keeping in mind they all need to be a different in size. If you are wanting a banyan form then do the same as with the scheff, aerial roots and thicker stalks will be needed. Ficus bengima and schefflera tend have a larger leaf, the bigger the better with this species. It will be important for you to retain lower branching on the ficus, they grow plenty fast enough they wont have to spend long growing in the large pots but they aren't the strongest at back budding, removing low branches on them only when you are sure you won't need them in the final design or if they are showing signs of buldging causing a reverse taper effect on the trunk.

The answer you are wanting really all depends on what forms/styles you are wanting for these?
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Please put your location in your profile. Now, at least for me, is a good time to re-pot Ficus, during warm weather and active growth. Separating them is the way I would go. Individual nursery pots will be fine for now, as these have a way to go. A free draining, gritty soil would be preferable to any generic potting soil.

I don't grow Schefflera but I suspect that the passage of time will be necessary to provide the mature bark you seek.

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