I am a beginer at bonsai.I have a ficus benjamina with very interesting nebari but the leaves are large.want to know how to reduce leaf size .looking forward to your suggetions.
I don't know exacts for that plant. Bonsai or penjing, comes from japan and china, was based on one emporer's belief or feeling about looking through a small potted forest, I forget specifics. Anyway, later it became aristocratic in the populus to have a small deformed plant. Blah blah. Now trail and error happens with bonsai, because if you do not get you a fertilizer schedual and use it to shrink the tap and other roots, or bonsai them, too, your gonna get big leaves and wind up pruning too much. If you lop off the tap root instead of using a fertilizer precentage the tree will have to over stress to eat and drink eventually killing itself. That tap is like it's lifeline. A bonsai with no tap is destined to be sold to the next unsuspecting person and be left in left to be sold till it dies, because maybe someone else can save it. I have trial and errored a bunch of trees, testing their might, their many aspects to death, because no info is straight and solid besides ethic on bonsai. Comical as it is, each tree is different even in same species, and can be passed down, but, usually it is sold when an owener just doesnt know if itll live or die and would rather rehome than watch. Me, I watch, and know most bonsai houses are full of info, but commercial trees usually die, you gotta trial and error with seed till you get fed up and start propahating roots and branches to learn, eventually youll get something to pass down and have knowldge to argue and methods to contribute, really the nitty gritty of bonsai. Take it or leave it.
it's a very big topic to cover. you'll need to search old threads for details and techniques. here's a rough recap.
the main tool is defoliation: total or partial removal of leaves. the 1st leaf grows much smaller, the subsequent a little larger, until a normal size is reached. so if you continue removing leaves to 2-3 on the branch the size will be reduced. but you have to continually do it.
the full defoliation is quite stressful for the tree and should not be done until the tree is grown and the trunk thickness is nominal. it should only be done during vigorous growth and on healthy tree.
do not repot shortly before or after. wait until full regrowth of the crown.
normally defoliation is done not more often then once a year.
and the book says: beginners should not attempt it. you can kill the tree.
alt route: removing largest leaves only - to 20% of leaf volume. or cutting each and every leaf in half. when new leaves appier, you can remove halved ones.
when removing older leaves, just twist them, but do not pull off the bark. better to cut with scissors, leaving a little piece of petiole: it'll fall off later.
water less after defoliation until the crown regrows. let the tree grow unchecked/unpruned for 3-4 months, before any other pruning is done.
one more point. seams that leaving partial leaf or leaf stem on preserves and stimulates the bud at the base, so the new leaf will grow there. you can half the end leaves and sev leaves down the branch - this way many small leaves will appear that might grow into new branches, which is good . they will all be smallish.
just don't do all branches at once. just a few at a time. or try one for starters.
i suppose you don't have to do a straight half cut, you can slant it or curve it, so the total leaf shape is similar to normal leaf. this way the processed branch will not look weird.