When and how to prune Ficus Bonsai

sjon(11)July 21, 2010


When is the best season for pruning ficus bonsai? autumn winter spring summer or anytime the plant needs remodeling?

And How should i do this? I heard i schould trim shoots back to three leafs, or should i trim the way that thplant will look best?

Thanx for the advice.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

For hard pruning, the month previous to the plants most robust growth is good timing, as long as the plant is healthy & has good energy reserves. Minor pruning and touching up can be done any time, but the months with the greatest amount of light are the best times. Try to avoid pruning when you can in the late fall or during winter. The plant needs the photosynthesizing machinery (leaves) and will shed the leaves that aren't pulling their weight (those that are net users of energy as opposed to net producers).

For maximizing ramification, I usually wait until a branch has at least 4 leaves on it & then cut it back to 2 leaves. If you're growing under lights, you might wish to consider removing any lanky growth that may have occurred over winter when you move the plant outdoors in late spring early summer - when night temps are reliably above 50-55*.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:13AM
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I bought this plant yesterday. It seems to be in tip top condition. B.t.w. it is a ficus microcarpa. The plant has about twenty shoots with about an average of eight leaves on. So should i trim those shoots back to three leaves?
I am sorry but i am a beginner in the world of bonsai.
So thanx for replies!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:09PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

How you proceed depends on your goals. If you want a tree that looks like a little bonsai now, and if it's in good shape, as far as reserve energy, I can make some guesses. If the tree is to be grown in one of the upright styles, you can eliminate any branches you know aren't going to be a part of the immediate composition and prune the top 1/3 of the tree back hard. The middle of the tree can be wired so the branches begin a little upward movement, and only prune the lower branches lightly, but wire them down so they're fairly horizontal.

If you want a chubby trunk & plan on chopping it back - let it grow until next summer & only wire the branches you know you'll use in the composition.

There's really no way to tell if the generalities I offered fit your tree or not, w/o seeing a picture of it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 2:49PM
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(different growing conditions) however, I have a small one which is just being messed-with as a cascade for the past few years. Al is right about the pruning, they respond to it well and ramification is pretty easy over a few years. I totally defoliate twice a year (you may be able to do once a season) and leaf size has been reduced quite a bit.

If you google it you will come up with a ton of images which may help with styling ideas for the future.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 7:58PM
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