itchy fingers: too early to prune F. elastica?

gravyboots(7B)April 18, 2012

The title says it all -

Here is a pic of the tree from late last summer: From 9 Lives Ficus elastica

I will be removing the top branch (the one pointing "away" in the pic). The tree has been in an unobstructed south-facing window all winter (a BIG plus here in the PNW) and getting fed.

Anyone had satisfactory results pruning this time of year? Of course, I'd love to hear from you, Al....



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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Lol @ your impatience - it won't kill your tree, it will just respond better if you wait - especially if you're going to repot. The plan would be repot around Father's Day and do your hard pruning 2-3 weeks later - around the 4th of July. Using the holidays makes it easy to remember. Your tree's just waking up - give it a little time to get going. Your call though, of course.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:02PM
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Well Al, your advice is no surprise ;D ...especially considering that I haven't been using the stove lately, so it's been pretty cool in the house. There are some warm temps coming up (60's!) so I'm going to start dragging the Ficuses & Dracaenas outside during the day.

I don't plan to repot the tree pictured beyond changing the planting angle somewhat - maybe that will end up developing into something major though. I loaded the bottom of the pot with big rocks last year, to give some weight since the top is so unwieldy & maybe there are enough roots that those should be removed. We'll see.

Anyway, thanks for weighing in Al - it's hard to be patient!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:59AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I look at people impatient to push the season as not having enough plants to keep themselves busy enough that they don't need to fret over a plant or two. ;-) You need more plants. Sometimes I go as long as 3-4 years with a potential bonsai in a pot w/o even touching (pruning) it - no problem. I have enough others to keep my hands & mind occupied.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Gravy, was your Ficus purchased w/one trunk?

My goal is to cut stems w/leaves from two Ficus elasticas, so they end up with one trunk, instead of bushes.

If you pruned your Ficus, shaping into a standard, can you please tell me how it was done? Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Toni, I've known this plant off & on for about 13 years; it was in the house I'm living at when I originally moved in & it stayed when I moved out again. The main trunk was already cut when we met....

Here's how it looked a couple years ago, after having some recovery time from a total soil collapse episode: From 9 Lives Ficus elastica

It's looking better, but the spread of the arm-like branches is now over 4 ft - much too wide. I am going to take off the top branch, cutting just about at the jute (see photo at top of thread), then follow Al's advice & adjust the potting angle so the "new" main trunk is going pretty vertical. The goal is to get this tree in more of a upright habit - I may wire the remaining branches to grow upward since the apical meristem of the "new" main trunk has also been removed (you can see this on the original pic too, at the top left).

Here is the goal for this year's pruning & adjusting: From 9 Lives Ficus elastica

Al, if you can believe it, plants are my job too - I think I may have some kind of condition!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 4:21PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Well, then I Just Dropped in to see what Condition Your Condition is in.

Who remembers Kenny Rogers & the First Edition's late 1960s hit by (almost) that name? Never mind - can't blame you if you don't/won't answer. ;-)


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:38PM
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