Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fukien tea #2

I couldn't resist it, sitting there shouting at me to buy it. That is this Fukien tea tree (Carmona microphylla). I saw this on a visit to Ikea here in Raisio, Finland and after the recent loss of my Fukien tea tree I had to buy it to see if I can keep this one a live. It has a split trunk which is already quite thick at the base. Everybody has to have at least one Fukien tea tree in their collection as they are a very common indoor tree that can be purchased from many garden centres or large supermarkets.

My son Alex with the same tree. Hopefully another budding Bonsai enthusiast in the making.
As usual with Malsai trees purchased from this type of shop there are some clear areas that needed immediate attention. This tree came in a standard plastic pot, not in a bonsai pot for some reason, so that was the first task to get the tree into a pot, or at least try depending on the root structure. The other areas that needed immediate attention were the cuts on the side and top of the tree. I believe this type of untreated cut was one of the reasons why I recently lost one of these trees.

I chose a light brown unglazed rectangular bonsai pot with a motif for this tree. The rounded edges of the pot gives a slightly feminine feel that goes well with this tree that normally shows masculine features in its trunk, but has a feminine side with small white flowers appearing if water is restricted for a short period. The size of the pot is 19cm and the height of the tree 29cm, matching the 2/3 'rule' for pot to tree ratio.
The depth of the pot is 4cm, almost matching the truck diameter of 3.5cm, and was perfect to fit all the roots without having to do any cutting. There are two larger roots that now are shown as nebari (surface roots flaring from the base of a tree) but more work is needed for the other areas. The lack of bigger roots also meant that I had to wire the tree into the pot using the base of the trunk. I will need to keep an eye on this and may need to repot again next year and try to position the wire away from the trunk.
The tree will now be given time to settle in and I will allow the top to grow unrestricted for a while before starting work on shaping the branches.
You may just make out the grey area in the above photo. This is the same area in the earlier photo showing the cut. I completely removed the cut and shape the trunk to follow the rest of the surrounding area. The grey colour is cut paste applied to help with the healing process.
As you can see it now as a slight slant. This was mainly because the tree sat this way better in the pot. It definitely added something to the final outcome than just having the trunks positioned upright. I need to take some better photos when it is warm enough to take the trees outside for some natural light.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weeping Fig #2

I recently purchased this fig (Ficus Benjamina 'Wiandi'). I believe the type to be 'Wiandi' because of the very brittle branches and roots. I wasn't aware of this brittleness when I purchased the tree and it was only a few days after I had purchased it I was looking at potential shapes for my next bonsai challenge when a branch located near the middle simply snapped off in my hand.

I then searched the Internet for the types of figs with brittle branches. Two names came to the front, Ficus Benjamina 'Wiandi' and 'Rianne'. After reading about these figs on the Internet it was clear that I would not be able to wire this tree. One job less I suppose :). The good thing about this fig is that the branches grow in all directions with plenty of leaves and the the trunk and branches grow in a twisted pattern.

The first thing I wanted to do was repot the tree into a more shallow pot. I had no idea how much of the existing container the roots had developed but to my surprise the roots where fairly compact and located near the surface.

I decided on a red oval pot for this fig. The height of the tree is approx. 40cm high and the pot size is 25cm.

Because the branches are so brittle then the same relates to the roots. This made it difficult to apply wiring around the base to keep the tree in the required position in the pot. I broke a couple of the larger roots that I wanted to keep because of this brittleness.

I was a little afraid that the tree would loose many leaves because of loosing so many roots but apart from a few leaves, mainly from the lower branch, it has kept all of it's leaves. I watered the tree everyday during the first week or so to maintain a good supply of water. I also feed the tree the same day it was potted and then again a couple of weeks later.