How to Trim a Ficus Bonsai

Written by catherine chase
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How to Trim a Ficus Bonsai
This ficus bonsai has a complex root system. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The ficus bonsai is ideal for the beginner, as it is generally more forgiving of mistakes and has a faster growth rate than many bonsai. The ficus features large "banyan" style roots, ideal for those who wish to display it in a miniature indoor rock garden. Before trimming your ficus bonsai, consider the overall shape you desire. If you want it to lean asymmetrically toward the left, focus your pruning efforts on the branches to the right. Always prune during the summer growing months. Avoid pruning hastily; always imagine the impact a cut will have on the overall shape.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Concave cutter
  • Paper towel

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  1. 1

    Locate the branches that you need to prune. These include ones growing straight up and those that grow toward the trunk.

  2. 2

    Check the branches that grow opposite each other. Select one of them to prune. The branch that you prune depends on the shape of the tree you desire.

  3. 3

    Cut your selected branches close to the trunk using a concave cutter. These cutters are especially suited to bonsai pruning, as they cut sharply without leaving a "stub." They are likely available at your local gardening supply shop.

  4. 4

    Dab at the cut with a paper towel. The branch will leak a "milky" substance. Do not remove all of this liquid, as it will dry and help heal the cut. Simply remove the excess.

  5. 5

    Check your bonsai for discoloured or otherwise abnormal-looking leaves. Cut these leaves off on the stem directly behind the leaf.

  6. 6

    Prune healthy leaves in midsummer. Locate leaves on the top of the bonsai or those that detract from the shape you desire. Cut these off in the same manner in which you removed the unhealthy leaves. Defoliation, or leaf pruning, gradually encourages the desirable smaller leaf size. It also encourages the foliage to appear more "bushy" and increases the rate of growth.

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