Ficus Techniques : 2

Fusing Trunks

Dick Miller of Florida is a talented bonsai artist and curator of the Gulf Stream Bonsai Collection of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida.

In 1998, Dick started an experiment to fuse five Ficus benjamina trunks together. In this way inferior or young material could be used to form a larger and more mature trunk. The plants were placed close to each other and flexible plastic tape was used to bring the trunks tightly together. The goal was for each trunk to contribute one branch or an apex to the final tree design.

For their initial growth the trees were grown in the ground to speed the fusing process. Later the trees were grown in a large container with soil brought up on the trunks.

In 2005, Dick states the trunk has formed nicely but the branches will need detailing. Up to this point the emphasis has been on getting the trunks to fuse and not on fine structure.

Ficus benjamina trunks shown in different colors.


Green plastic tape used to push trunks together.


Close up of the fusion of two trunks.


Another close up shot of the fusion.


The tree showing good primary branching and apex.


In using this technique it is critical to use genetically identical trees so that the bark color matches exactly.

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