Ficus Techniques : 63

Too Thick Branches on a Port Jackson Fig

by Jerry Meislik

The Port Jackson Fig, PJ or Ficus ruginosa, is one of the best figs to use for bonsai. It originates from an is extensively used for bonsai in Australia. It is also one of the best figs to use for indoor bonsai or in any tropical or sub-tropical area.

Attributes that make it wonderful are vigor in a container, lustrous leaves that dwarf well, as well as easy aerial root formation even under relatively dry conditions.

This PJ fig was purchased in Florida in 2004 and has been growing indoors under artificial light for the last 8 years.

Grown out
The tree with lots of growth obscuring the branching


trimmed back
Tree trimmed back to a much better shape


Heavy Branches
Closer inspection reveal heavy branches at position 1 and 2


branch cut back
Branch 1 cut back with some of the branch base retained

Branch 1 was reduced back to a stub of its former self since it was too heavy and beacuse the base of the brach had some latent buds that I hoped would sprout. If there were no pre-existing latent buds the whole branch could have been removed and a new thinner branch grafted into a close by position.

Branch 2 died back for no apparent reason but fortunately a new sprout developed near the same spot and it was allowed to grow uncut for a year or two to thicken adequately. It still needs more development and length before the design is finished.

Below we can see how branch 1 is nearly done. Branch two needs more length and sub-branching to complete the design. It should only take another year or so to finish.

Recent shot
Re-growth of branches one and two

Virtual Final Image
Virtual of the tree as it should be in the future


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