Tiger-bark ficus (Ficus microcarpa)

I’ve been colonized by ficus. Tiger-bark figs, rock figs, strangler figs, willow-leaf figs, and other fig species. When I first began working with figs I would place the cuttings in spare pots with soil whenever I pruned. This is the recipe for filling your bonsai bench space with figs. I have finally accepted that I need to throw away the cuttings when I prune, even though, with minimal care, they could become small trees. I need the room for other trees!

My first ficus was a Tiger-bark (Ficus microcarpa) that I bought in March 2012 from Walter Andersen nursery in San Diego. It was sold as a “houseplant ficus”.

January 11, 2019:
The tree today.

March 10, 2012:
The “houseplant ficus” when purchased in spring, 2012.

March 10, 2012:
Initial potting.

July 16, 2012:
Four months of growth.

August 4, 2013:
One year of clip and grow.

November 16, 2013:
Second autumn.

May 4, 2014:
Barerooted, new pot.

May 6, 2014:
Branch-pruned, tree establishing itself in new pot.

November 23, 2014:
Forked trunks.

December 12, 2015:
Nebari forming.

May 21, 2016:
Roots. The long straight root on the right was removed later.

May 21, 2016:

August 20, 2016:
Still hadn’t decided on the front, or even an overall structure for the tree.

September 17, 2016:
New growth after August pruning. Leggy branches.

December 4 2016:
Still unsure of overall structure or front.

January 14, 2017:
Some branch pruning.

January 14, 2017:
Possible front.

May 13, 2017:

May 13, 2017:
Too many large roots.

May 21, 2017:
Awkward shape. I began considering removing one of the main trunks.

September 3, 2017:
An alternative front using both trunks.

September 3, 2017:
One trunk removed (and a new tree!).

September 3, 2017:
New design, back in garden.

August 4, 2018:
Back root of nebari is very straight.

September 22, 2018:
Removed straight back root, re-scarified trunk wound.

October 27, 2018:
Tree back in garden. I may carve the trunk scar in the future.

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