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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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

An Upside-Down Aquarium -

     - can make a very effective humidity cover for new cuttings.

I took a few cuttings today, two each from four different species of Ficus: Ficus microcarpa 'Tigerbark,' F. buxifolia, F. salicaria and F. burtt-davyi. Because all these species are tropical and our temperatures are still doing some crazy swings (we had frost this past weekend,) I'm keeping the cuttings in the Crate for at least the first several weeks.

Even the high humidity I can maintain in the Crate isn't enough for fresh cuttings. They need a humidity cover to keep the air around them (almost literally) dripping wet. We have two aquaria  that aren't in use for anything else; so I took the smaller one, cleaned it up, flipped it upside down, and voilĂ - instant humidity cover!

Pampering the new cuttings until they root. May 17, 2016.

An inverted aquarium works well for the purpose for several reasons. The glass lets in plenty of light; the joins between the panels are watertight; it's heavy enough that accidentally brushing it with the hand won't knock anything askew; and while there's enough space for the two RMP Rootmakers® holding the cuttings, there's not a lot of extra space where I must try to keep the air saturated.

If all goes well, within two to three months I'll be able to pot up the new tree-lets in individual pots. I plan to graft one of the 'Tigerbark' cuttings into its own parent plant at a point where a new branch is needed. As for the rest, we shall see.

:-)  :-)  :-) 


  1. Wouldn't it be easier to just put the starts in the aquarium and put a piece of plastic wrap over the top, than have to lift the whole aquarium each time you want to mist or check progress.

    1. You could do it that way if you wanted, yes; or you could use a piece of Plexiglas on top if you wanted.

      I started doing this outdoors, in a shaded corner. The upside-down aquarium is better for warding off falling twigs (which could knock a cutting over before it roots) and curious critters. The glass is also easier to keep clean, and doesn't get wrinkles and folds. The fact that the aquarium is upside down also means that water doesn't build up in the bottom.

      But that's my preference. If you want to use plastic wrap over the top, go for it.

  2. Hi Steve , I just found your bonsai blog when I was looking up Bowiea volubilis, and I saw yours in an entry of a few years back . Is it possible for an update on your amazing plant ? I have just ordered one and am most unbelievably exited about it at the moment : )
    I have dabbled with bonsai and I think you are inspiring me to get into it again . Daisy :)

    1. Hello, Daisy,

      I'm glad you like the post. Let me see what I can do about an update. I'm still learning how to care for the species in a non-desert environment myself.