Starting a Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) that has overgrown on one side

BodhGaya

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This is a 2-3 year old Bodhi tree grown from a cutting.

So far I have let it grow naturally but due to overgrowth on one side it is definitely time to start pruning/wiring etc. It will be my first time doing so, so really keen to get advice.

The overgrown branch was hanging down and getting really heavy, so I pinched the end of it, propped it up and then turned the smaller branch towards the light. This has stimulated growth on the small branch and the long branch already has new growth as well.

I'm not so sure about the way I'm propping it up with chopsticks however, and think it might be time to start wiring! The big branch is 1 cm thick where it joins the stem.

Also I'm wondering what sort of pruning regime I should have for the leaves and the roots. Currently the roots are growing outside of the pot, so rather than keep potting it up, wondering if I should start pruning those too.

Very grateful for any advice.

PS. I am in the UK, so we are now at the start of summer here. The tree is kept indoors in partial shade and the room is very light.
 

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NaoTK

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I visited the Mahabodhi tree in Bodh Gaya in 2012 and started these from seed I collected from that tree. Here are my culture notes for Oregon which is temperate like the UK. I only get about 4-5 months of active growth a year.

May-October (or before first freeze) my trees are outside in full sun. You should try to get it in full sun whenever possible. This is when I repot or prune. I fertilize heavily with miracle grow.
October - May trees are under lights in my unheated garage. It gets down to 40F in there and they are fine. The bodhis usually drop some of their leaves over winter, but this is normal. Northern India can get quite chilly in the winter nights and the bodhis can drop their leaves there. They are very prone to scale during this time so I always spray insecticide before bringing them in.

Bonsai culture: like all ficuses they are very forgiving and respond well to all bonsai techniques. I have layered them and you can put moss wherever you want roots to form. They can be chopped and back bud easily. The leaves ramify and become smaller over time.


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The Ficus Guy

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It needs a whole lot more light than what it's getting, that's why it's so leggy and struggling. Remember that even next to a bright window, the amount of light a plant receives isn't anywhere near what we think. Give it lots and lots of light and don't worry about pruning it for a while.
 

BodhGaya

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Thanks for your reply Ficus Guy. I have definitely been underestimating the need for light, and have moved it onto the balcony today, plus a few other plants.

NaoTk - your comments give me a lot more confidence, thank you! This Bodhi tree is the descendant of a cutting taken in a monastery in Bodh Gaya, where I also visited in 2013! Thought you might like to see a picture of the parent plant, which eight years later is growing prolifically. (My friend, it's owner, has refused to train it in any way).
 

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sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

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Sorce
 

Lutonian

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I have two of these from seed, as figs go these are on the harder side to develop in the UK. Mine grows in bursts and are not as vigorous in our climate as other species. They also have long petioles and large leaves so a large bonsai is best mine are 3 years old now and are under on inch thick. These trees like lots of heat, humidity & light.
 

karen82

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I have a Ficus religiosa (actually two I've been trying to fuse) and I've found they don't seem to do very well indoors. I think yours needs more light and should be outdoors if possible (just don't put it in full sun right away, let it acclimate to brighter light).
The first year I had mine, I kept it in a lighted high humidity plant case for the winter and it did well. Next winter it had grown too tall to fit where I'd had it, so I put it in a window with a supplemental grow light, and it was very unhappy there and nearly died. But the last two winters I've kept it in my cold greenhouse (heated just a bit above freezing at night) and it's done quite well out there. It stops growing, but keeps its leaves and looks healthy. Basically it seems they would rather be in a well lit and moderately humid cold area than in a dry, heated house.
It seems to respond very well to pruning with tons of backbudding, but I've only tried pruning it in mid summer when it is actively growing.
 

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