The fig tree is a tree or small tree with is grown a lot in gardens and orchards. During the summer it produces some fruits, figs, which have an exquisite sweet flavor. But being expired and having invasive roots, it is not always recommended to have it in the ground. Although, fortunately, it is a plant that can be worked as a bonsai.
Still, I would like to warn you that this is not an easy task. Its light-hour requirements are high, and it is sensitive to waterlogging. Therefore, if you want to have a fig bonsai we advise you to follow the advice that we are going to offer you in this article .
What is there to know about the fig tree?
The fig tree, whose scientific name is Ficus carica , is a deciduous tree or small tree originating in Southwest Asia that grows up to 8 meters in height. Its crown is very open , and tends to branch out a lot even at a short distance from the ground. The leaves are green and large, since they measure 12 to 25 centimeters long by 10 to 18 centimeters wide.
It blooms in spring, although its flowers sprout inside a receptacle and are pollinated by small wasps. The fruit matures throughout the summer / early fall.
How to care for a fig bonsai?
Image – Flickr / Samuel L. Cerdá Escorihuela
The Ficus carica species is, as we anticipated at the beginning, very demanding in terms of light and water. But it must also be said that in order to work as a bonsai it is important that the size of the leaves be reduced, since otherwise it cannot be considered a bonsai. So let’s see how to take care of it:
You have to place it in full sun . But beware, if they had it sheltered from it in the nursery, it is necessary to put it in semi-shade and gradually get used to direct sunlight. Sudden changes in exposure could cause damage to the sheets.
For example, if it was in the shade and as soon as you get home you put it in the sun, it will burn; if it was in the sun and you put it in the shade, its leaves will weaken until they fall. Avoid both the first and the second, and always bearing in mind that it is a plant that wants light.
The fig tree is a plant that resists temperatures between 40ºC maximum and -12ºC minimum . However, when working as a bonsai you must protect yourself from these extreme temperatures, since your root system is considerably smaller than it would be if you were planted in the garden. In addition, the bonsai pots or trays are also limited in size, so they heat up / cool down much faster than the ground.
To this you must add that the higher the temperature, the more need for water it will have; and the lower it goes, the more careful you will have to water so that its roots do not freeze.
The frequency of irrigation will be determined by the climate of the area, as well as the substrate that has been used. But broadly speaking, you have to know that the warmer and drier a climate is, the faster the substrate will lose moisture, so you will have to water more .
It is advisable not to put any dish under the pot or tray of bonsai, because the water that over irrigation will accumulate in it. In doing so, the roots will have too direct contact with it, and unless it is removed, they will end up rotting.
Image – Wikimedia / Tangopaso
The right substrate for your fig bonsai will be one that is light, porous, and capable of absorbing as well as draining water quickly . If we talk about mixtures, any of these are interesting:
- 70% akadama + 30% kiryuzuna
- 50% akadama + 50% peat
- 70% peat + 30% perlite
- 70% akadama + 30% cheek
It is advisable to pay from early spring to fall . For this you can use a specific fertilizer for bonsai, but follow the instructions that you can read on the product packaging. This avoids the risk of an overdose.
Your fig bonsai will need a transplant every two years or so . Do it in spring, before its leaves sprout (it will be when its buds swell). Carefully remove the substrate and check if it has any dry, diseased or damaged roots, and if so, cut them with scissors that you have previously disinfected.
Then, plant it in a bonsai tray and leave it in an area a little protected from the sun until you notice growth. Once this happens, you can put it in the sun again.
Those more advisable for the fig tree are the broom style, as well as that of the multiple trunk.
There are three types of pruning that you have to do:
It is done in late winter, before the leaves sprout. It consists of shaping the tree , so it may be necessary to cut entire branches. To avoid unnecessary risks, use previously disinfected pruning tools, and decide before doing what style you are going to give it. In this sense, it does not hurt to take a look on the Internet at other people’s bonsai, so that you have an idea of how you can make yours.
Also, you will have to remove the dry, diseased branches and those that are weak. Also pacifiers that come out of the roots, unless you want to have it with several trunks.
Maintenance pruning is carried out throughout the year. Basically what you have to do is trim those branches that are growing a lot , allowing 6 to 8 leaves to grow, and then remove 2 or 3.
This is a tree that grows at a good pace, so you will have to check it from time to time.
Apache pruning method (reducing the size of the leaves)
The fig leaves are quite large, so one thing you can do is perform Apache pruning. Which are the steps to follow?
- First, you have to wait for the fig tree to recover from the transplant if it has been recently transplanted.
- Then, when a branch has 8 leaves, you have to clamp (cut them in half) 4 leaves and remove the other 4.
- In early summer, remove all the leaves.
- Then, at the end of the summer, you have to sprout all the shoots only if the fig tree is strong.
- Finally, at the end of winter you have to prune the new branches of that year.
Throughout the process, the bonsai must be sheltered from the sun.
With these tips, we hope you enjoy your fig bonsai 🙂.