Ficus cuttings: A good start

By December 13, 2017 No Comments


Ficus is one species that is suitable as a starting point in the hobby of bonsai.  It can forgive some of the initial mistakes done by newcomers in bonsai, such as  heavy or wrong pruning and no pruning at all, less or over watering etc.  In this blog we will be discussing a good way to start from a ficus cutting.

Ficus cutting

In this blog we will be discussing on how to start your Shohin bonsai from a cutting.  Cuttings need not to be thin branches, but it can also be a thicker cutting, similar to what we will be experimenting with.  For good results, one should follow a procedure, and if done in the right time, success is guaranteed.

A piece of straight branch that we will turn into a shohin bonsai

The whole process

  • Think ahead:  When starting a bonsai, think of what you want to achieve with this cutting, plan the best style that can be achieved.  So when is the best time for a successful cutting?  Winter time is ideal, although not the only time of year, to turn a piece of a tree to encourage roots to grow and turn it into an individual tree, into a bonsai.  While experimenting with smaller ficus cuttings, I noticed that they produce roots in a matter of days, so I am hoping that with thicker cuttings, it will take few weeks.
  • Splitting the cutting to encourage tapering the trunk to be.


  • Inserting a wooden wedge.  The idea is that the humidity in the soil will encourage the wedge to thicken slowly, thus increasing the nebari circumference.  Once roots will emerge, the tree will heal itself by time.

  • Nailed a piece of wood at the bottom of the cutting.  This will guide the roots to spread horizontally:
    • create a nicer nebari
    • can be easily placed in a smaller pot
  • Add rooting hormone

  • Wired the selected branches that will form the tree in the future.  Left long branches to keep one leaf at each end, this will encourage sap to keep flowing, to encourage the tree to produce roots to keep itself alive.
  • Tapered the top part of the trunk.  This
  • Created some Shari on the trunk.  The idea behind this is to create movement to a straight trunk.

  • Potting the cutting


Protect the cutting

Once this process is finished, place in a translucent plastic bag to control the cutting’s micro temperature.  We will be discussing the plastic bag effect in the coming months.

Good luck with your start up.

Martin Abela

Author Martin Abela

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