Shohin Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Redwood Ryan

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Hello all,


I received this tree for my birthday from a great buddy of mine. It arrived today and I am pretty excited to share it with you all. It is a Ficus benjamina 'Kiki' and has about a 2 inch base. I am fine with the size of the trunk, but I will repot it into a bigger pot to work with branches, aerial roots, etc. I plan on keeping it small and was shooting for a sumo shohin. The nebari is decent, but can be improved. I will cover the nebari with soil when I repot so that it may or may not sprout new roots. I do see one small problem with it, which I will point out in the pictures. Anyway, here is the tree:

Front?:


Back?:


Sides:



Here is one of the problems I see, this big open gap. I plan on placing this tree in the aquarium however, as they shoot aerial roots like crazy. If I can get aerial roots to cover that spot, it will hopefully fix it and make it all one connection, thus adding taper to it. Thoughts?




Comments, advice, donations, always welcome!


Ryan


P.S. sorry for the blurry pictures, I'm stillg etting used to this camera!
 

garywood

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RR, they root very easily. Root several cuttings and graft to the base.
Wood
ps Nice start.
 

mersino

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personally i prefer the one you marked as "back" as the front. It hides the gap that you are concerned about also I think it shows the best qualities of the trunk (at least from the pic).
 

Redwood Ryan

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RR, they root very easily. Root several cuttings and graft to the base.
Wood
ps Nice start.
Thanks Gary! Great idea, but I don't have any benjamina 'kiki' cuttings around. I do have other 'Kiki', but none that I can cut big enough branches off of.

personally i prefer the one you marked as "back" as the front. It hides the gap that you are concerned about also I think it shows the best qualities of the trunk (at least from the pic).
Thank you! I am still thinking about a front. The one I marked as front has all the branches on it so it makes it difficult to see.

I repotted the tree and placed it in my aquarium with all of my other tropicals. Here is a pretty recent shot, with a lighter:
 

Kirk

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Gary is right. Let this one grow just a bit. When you prune, take cuttings. They will grow quickly. Since they are genetically identical, use them for your grafts. You can tape several of them around the base and create as much flare as you want. You also won't have to worry about pruning away growth that doesn't match the original tree.

Kirk
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thank you Kirk, I have it growing in my aquarium now, which will hopefully speed up its growth. Does the size of the cuttings matter? And I have no experience with grafting, so can I fuse them?
 

Kirk

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I would let them get just a little longer and take cuttings about 5" long. If you have already identified small shoots to remove, use them. Remove the lower leaves of the cutting (leaving about 2 at the top) and place them in something like ProMix (peat, perlite, vermiculite). High humidity is good for them. They root very easily.

It's almost the Trident maple of the tropical world. You can fuse them or approach graft- whatever you feel most confident using. The rooted cuttings will fuse over the course of a few months. I have several that I fused and was amazed at how quickly it worked. Gradually move it outside for the summer and it will take off. You can have a nice little sumo nebari in short order.

Kirk
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thanks again Kirk. I will get some cuttings rooted and taped as soon as possible. Are you thinking this will also work to cover that gap that is visible in the tree? If I placed the cuttings so that they covered it they should fuse, right?
 

Kirk

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Yep. You can strategically place them so they cover the gap between the trunk and large aerial root. Take your time looking at them and applying them. You can create the nebari flare you want, use the tops of them for new side branches, etc. When you repot, you could even jam a wedge between the trunk and that large root so that it doesn't go straight down into the soil and (sort of) flares away. Give it a larger pot with some coarse mix and grow it outside for the summer. It will be fused by the Fall.

Kirk
 
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