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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Almost as if the tree is enjoying itself!

     My mame veldt fig must be quite happy with the present regimen in the Bonsai Crate: lately it's been throwing a veritable blizzard of aerial roots! It almost seems like a new one appears every time I turn around. I thought folks might like to see a picture.

My mame veldt fig, a Christmas gift from my wife in 2009. How many aerial roots can you find?

Veldt fig, Ficus burtt-davyi, is known for throwing aerial roots more easily than most other tropicals used for bonsai. A healthy tree doesn't need high humidity to do so: the humidity found in most homes in the USA when the central heating isn't running is enough. (Central heating dries the air to desert levels.)

There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to where aerial roots start. I've never seen one break from a shoot that isn't yet lignified (woody,) but otherwise they appear anywhere. And once started, they're liable to launch themselves a long way before they touch down, as you can see in the picture! You can also see that once an aerial anchors itself in the soil and starts to turn woody, it will sometimes send out branches.

Regrettably, none of the present batch of aerials appear to be in places where they will fit my long-term design for this tree. But they're not in the way right now, and if I didn't know better, I'd say the tree is enjoying itself!

:-)  :-)  :-)

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! (And that's right, I'm down for snacks this time, aren't I?)

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  2. Love this tree, Steve.

    I have several of these burtt davyis I am growing out. They have had rootwork, then were placed into 6 inch plastic azalea pots with good bonsai soil (25% turface, 25% bark, 50% pumice). How fast do these grow for you? I'm hoping to really see them take off this summer and I'd love some aerial roots. Besides humidity, I think being potbound really helps to make the aerial roots pop. The president of the Indy Bonsai Club, Scott, has some of them with a ton of aerial roots. They're awesome.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Charles. I find that F. burt-davyi grows as fast for me as any other fig, faster than most. (Not sure that answers your question, but I can't be more precise.)
      And I agree: being potbound does seem to make the tree more likely to throw aerials. I think that's true with other species, too, like F. salicaria, to name one. F. burtt-davyi will also sometimes throw aerials in the normal humidity of an IN summer, so you may get some!
      Yes, Scott has some great trees. I'm sure you've heard him say this species is his favorite.

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