Ficus: variegated or not....and when to prune/train etc (indoors)

simko

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I posted in another thread about using trees whch are more suited for my area...but learned they should be grown outdoors...

if i wanted a tropical plant such as the ficus, to grow indoors, when should pruning be done and other work, such as wiring, root cutting etc.

i have both varigated and "normal" ficus available to me, is one more rapid growing and hardier than the other? does the "normal" variety with solid green leaves require less sunlight than a varigated plant?

Aaron
 

Bill S

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Aaron, do I remember from another post that you are in Chicago??

Indoors for the winter these slow down, you most likely won't get anywhere close to the light levels needed to get them to grow well without going to an expensive lighting arrangement. That said most of your real growing season is later spring to almost fall. So my answer to you is do that kind of work in late spring.

To the veriagated variety, they are typically not used for bonsai, I think it is that the foliage is distracting, so it's harded to focus on the tree.
 

tmmason10

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Aaron, do I remember from another post that you are in Chicago??

Indoors for the winter these slow down, you most likely won't get anywhere close to the light levels needed to get them to grow well without going to an expensive lighting arrangement. QUOTE]

Agreed you will have to arrange indoor lighting albeit it doesn't have to be too expensive or fancy. I think there is a member here with the screen name eric that if I remember correctly lives in Chicago. And he has some excellent tropical bonsai's that I have seen, hopefully he can chime in here.
 

simko

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Thanks bill andtm.

im actually in ontario, southern part of canada, bordering with michigan.

hardiness zone of 5b if im not mistaken

Aaron
 

tmmason10

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Thanks bill andtm.

im actually in ontario, southern part of canada, bordering with michigan.

hardiness zone of 5b if im not mistaken

Aaron

Ah gotcha. It's not incredibly pertinent because you want to grow indoors. He grows his stuff indoors all year round, he may have some posts here you can look at.
 

edprocoat

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Ficus are extremely easy to grow, to propagate and to train. They take pruning well, some like the Benjamina do not like being moved to often, I have found that if you move them frequently while budding and growing young leaves they tolerate it better. they can be grown indoors well, do have times they die back for no apparent reason. I found that any good light bulb supplimenting a windows lights is just fine, just do not let it burn the leaves. I was looking for a ficus recently and got a varieagated benjamina as it was my only option, I am still not thrilled with the leaves at all. It just does not say tree to me at all. The microcarpa is a great bonsai material.

ed
 

jk_lewis

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Trees with variegated leaves (of any species) are, generally speaking weaker than the parent stock. They will be more spindly, have fewer leaves, etc.
 
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jkl, is correct... variegated plants are weaker than non. I would also add that their overall strength is weaker as well, ie. less drought, heat and cold tollerant. I have also found that when trying to root cuttings, they were less likely to take.

Winter storage from the cold fine, but I wouldn't grow plants indoors.
 

fore

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I live in Chicago, and only have one tropical. I put it by a windowsill that gets late morning/early afternoon winter sun. It's done just fine. Just make sure you have a good draining soil to avoid chronic wet soil.
 

JudyB

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Hey Aaron, you should update your personal information to include at least what zone you are in, so when you have outdoor tree questions, folks will know what advice to give...
 

ericN

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Hi Aaron, Ficus is one of my favorite indoor bonsai species. I grow indoors all year round and I keep a very simple set-up. You can work on them all year round indoors, but I prefer to do my heavy pruning and shaping in late spring and repotting mid summer.

Here is a pic of my indoor setup. Also check out Jerry Meislik's website, he is the ficus expert. http://www.bonsaihunk.us/

Hope that helps
Eric
 

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edprocoat

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Eric, thats a nice looking display of Ficus Bonsai you have there. Is that little clump style a varieagted ficus? Its hard to tell if its the lights shining on it that makes the leaves look lighter.

ed
 

simko

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Thanks everyone!

updated my info

eric, gorgeous setup, will any fluorescent lights work for this plant? i transplanted the ficus to a slightly larger pot.

Aaron
 

ericN

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Eric, thats a nice looking display of Ficus Bonsai you have there. Is that little clump style a varieagted ficus? Its hard to tell if its the lights shining on it that makes the leaves look lighter.

ed

Thanks Ed, The clump style is a willow leaf ficus. I do have one variegated ficus benjamina (not on this shelf). I have it as a houseplant, and after about 7 years its trunk is still thin.


Thanks everyone!

updated my info

eric, gorgeous setup, will any fluorescent lights work for this plant? i transplanted the ficus to a slightly larger pot.

Aaron

Thanks Aaron, I am using regular double strip shop light w/ t8 daylight bulbs (65ook) for years and I'm very happy with it. I have learned that keeping a set-up as simple as possible makes bonsai growing more enjoyable. ;)

Eric
 

edprocoat

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Thanks Ed, The clump style is a willow leaf ficus. I do have one variegated ficus benjamina (not on this shelf). I have it as a houseplant, and after about 7 years its trunk is still thin.

Eric


Have you thought about fusing the trunk on this plant to make it thicker? Take a few air layers and plant them in the soil next to the tree and wrap them in plastic along the trunk for 5-6 weeks and they fuse together making a thicker trunk.

ed
 

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