Ficus species are capable of growing epiphytically on other trees.
These epiphytically growing figs are also called strangler figs.
For more information on this style of Ficus please look here.
trunk of a dead bonsai is used as the support or host tree. No
treatment of any sort is done to preserve the trunk because I
wish to have the host trunk rot out and with time. Seven Ficus
microcrapa 'Tigerbark' will be attached to this trunk. These
Ficus trees are selected for relatively straight trunks and few
branches. All these trees are cuttings taken from the same tree
so that they are alike in all respects. Do not use random seed
grown Ficus as their bark color and other characteristics will
vary and the final creation may look "unusual". The
trees are removed from their pots, the soil is removed and roots
are kept intact, especially the long ones. Trees are selected
to fit on the host trunk. Some minor amounts of wood are removed
from the host if the contour does not allow a good fit. Branches
that interfere with the attachment of the trees to the host are
removed. Iron nails are hammered through the trees and into the
host trunk to secure them. Roots are positionedon the trunk,
stapled to the trunk and led into the soil. The roots should
be kept moist during this process to keep the trees fom dehydrating.Shaping
the trees and wiring them to shape is probably best be done at
a later time to minimize stress on the trees. Once the position
of the trees is set, the roots are covered with moistened long-fibered
sphagnum moss. The moss and the host trunk are then covered with
aluminum foil. Gaps are left to allow water to be applied to
the moss covering and to the soil in the pot.The tree is kept
in high humidity and out of the sun and wind for at least two
weeks and no fertilizer is applied unti new growth is evident.After
12-24 months of very vigorous and uncontrolled growth, the foil
is removed and the sphagnum moss gradually pulled away. Many
new roots/trunks will have formed and these are thinned out,
keeping the best and most artistic. Unneeded roots can be removed
or repositioned, covered with moss and plastic and allowed to
grow.Over time the Ficus trees will cover the whole trunk and
fuse to each other and in fact may look like one tree with a
very large trunk. Or their growth can be restrained and the individual
trees allowed to remain as separate epiphytes.
creation of an epiphytic style fig is easy and fun. Young inexpensive
Ficus can be easily propagated or purchased and attached to a
deadwood trunk. With this simple technique a unique and wonderful
bonsai can be created in only a few years.
by step creation of an epiphytic style Ficus microcarpa
microcarpa trees flanking a deadwood stump.
of a Ficus trunk with two nails holding it
against the stump.
trees nailed near the base of the stump.
situated and then stapled to the stump.
trees attached to the trunk.
moss surrounding the roots and the stump.
my student and assistant, with the completed creation wrapped
in aluminum foil.