Ficus Tiger Bark Styling

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Belgium
#1
Hi everyone,
I am new, first post here!

So, my experience with "bonsai" started a couple years ago with a classic mallsai "ginseng ficus" that ended up thriving really well in my apartment, with all right precautions (and no extra light in winter months, were they get quite quiescent). I indeed live in an apartment without even a terrace, so plants are on windows either on east or west side. And being in Belgium is not helping a lot with sunlight but so far so good with ficus. After successful experinece with ficus ginseng and a cutting I got from it (it is almost time to start thinking about shape also for them) I thus decided to get abetter plant and move to next level.
A couple months ago, I thus purchased this big Tiger bark Retusa (55 cm height): I really love aerial roots, big scar in front side and movement of main trunk. It is also doing well and restarted growing after adaptation to new environment.
I can very well cope with first branch on the left that is bended down, looking at it closely it tells his story, being the lowest branch is seeking light on the outside of main canopy and extreme bend is justified by another scar on the back and overall twist on it. However, I feel as weaknesses the branch in the middle that points at the front dicrection, the two top branches coming out at almost same point creating an unpleasant T bar and also bended a bit towards the front and the chaotic broom-shaped top.
First procedures I attempted is to develop roots on two small branches that I carved, rooting hormone dipped and digged with an hairpin to keep below surface. If they will ever grow (I am a cancer biologist but not sure about biology here, if sap can just swap direction 😝 ), I will use them to improve the banyan-like look.
Procedures I am planning to do next spring are surely repotting, correcting a bit the overall falling to the down look plant has now, reposition of aerial roots and better soil (likley most akadama with some perlite and TU). I draw new position I would put aerial root, to untangle and provide a more natural, harmonic look, not too parallel but surely not crossing or coming too much towards the front).
I am also thinking about correcting the broom like top by removing at least half of the 20 branches coming out at almost same spot and prune short then rebuilt giving more importance on secondary and tertiary branches.
Last, two main brances on top coming a bit towards the front, I will not wire or move them but just try to prune a bit short, saving first small branches and rebuild in a more "parallel" way. The middle branch coming to the front is my main issue, would it be an option to prune supershort, leaving no leaves at all and hope it buds back? There is also a new, super small branch right above it but I know it could take forever to "replace" it.

Let me know what you think about my plant and, being a newbie, I am really open to any suggestion!

Thanks in advance,
Eric
 

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Location
Alameda, CA
USDA Zone
10a
#2
I think your plan is a very good start. I would remove almost everything from that broom top, shortening your tree by about a third. Nice tree!
 
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143
Location
San Francisco
USDA Zone
10a
#3
Looking good. I have same tree new for me 1 year. Hai When he come from the CHina looking like hedge tree. I working on 4 sessions this summer and he start to look like potential bonsai. This tree grow strong, I use 2 teabag organic on soils.

Here is my tree, looking much like your. Hai Much fun and easy to work with, soon I am moving some root. Hai
 

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#4
I think your plan is a very good start. I would remove almost everything from that broom top, shortening your tree by about a third. Nice tree!
Thanks Brian,
Yes, I would also prune a lot of these branches...just not sure about timing, would now at end of summer be a good moment?
 
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9,544
Location
NE Ohio: zone 5b (USA)
USDA Zone
5b
#5
You sound to have a good direction laid out.mi for one am starting to love ficus. As a northerner...I have drug my feet in tropicals after a hiccup with two years of arctic temps unusual even for us...causing my propane tanks to freeze and losing my collection of tropical but for my bougainvillea. Many sulked...from the first blimp on the calander...then gave up the ghost the second hit. Faulty regulator we finally figured out brought moisture into the tanks. Any who...help me out of this rabbit hole I fell into. It's got some good potential your tree. Especially if you follow through with your intended plans.
 
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Location
Belgium
#6
Looking good. I have same tree new for me 1 year. Hai When he come from the CHina looking like hedge tree. I working on 4 sessions this summer and he start to look like potential bonsai. This tree grow strong, I use 2 teabag organic on soils.

Here is my tree, looking much like your. Hai Much fun and easy to work with, soon I am moving some root. Hai
Yes, they look quite similar, same uncommon style and size! Keep me posted on progress of your plant...do you think I can prune it back a bit also now at end of summer?
 
Messages
183
Likes
143
Location
San Francisco
USDA Zone
10a
#7
Yes, they look quite similar, same uncommon style and size! Keep me posted on progress of your plant...do you think I can prune it back a bit also now at end of summer?
Hai, I cut now in summer ok. Keeping 2 leave. Hai
 

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