Ficus Techniques : 12

The Time Factor

Tom Simonyi, bonsai teacher and indoor bonsai lover, sends photos of a Ficus benjamina that he acquired as a four foot tall nursery plant in 1999. He performed a radical shortening to its current height of 10 inches, leaving no branches or foliage. The trunk sprouted back from the bare trunk, and can be seen in the first photo in 2002. The second photo shows the tree three years later in 2005.

Several important factors are illustrated by Tom's work. Although many claim that benjamina cannot be reduced, Tom's tree budded back with reasonable, if sometimes unpredictable, backbudding. In addition, the tremendously important factor of time and good care has allowed Tom's tree to gradually transform into a wonderful tropical broom style tree. The interesting but "rough" initial appearance has transformed into a very elegant bonsai. Tom's work reminds us that trees will often improve with time and skillful, tender loving care.

Ficus benjamina after resprouting, 2002.


The same Ficus benjamina only three years later.


The same Ficus benjamina 2009, height 8".


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