TOPIC: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings

Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 2 days ago #1304

Hi All,

I came home last night from by Bonsai Club meeting with some goodies in hand...:P...clippings from a Varigated Ficus Benjamina! I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them.

I'd like to share with you what I have done with them along with some photos. Please, I would like to know if I did this right, or not. Any advice and/or suggestions are much appreciated. Here's what I've done:

At the meeting I put the clippings into a plastic galss half full of water with some rooting hormone to keep them hydrated for the drive home and overnight. Today I removed the clippings from the water and topped up the glass with more water so the water level is a 1/4" from the top of the glass. I placed a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the glass, and secured it with a rubber band. Then I poked holes into the plastic wrap cover for the clippings to sit in. I then clipped off all leaves of each clipping, except for the one top leaf and a leaf spike, and clipped about 1/8' to 1/4" off the bottom of the stem which I immediately stuck thru a hole in the plastice wrap and down into the water containing the rooting hormone.

Is the plastic wrap over the top of the glass alright? Do I give these cuttings full sun or bright, indirect light? Anything else I need to do or should know?
Here are some photos:

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  • Leslie
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 1 day ago #1311

Hey Leslie,

Good to see you getting handson experience in all the different fields required for bonsai :D

I think you are setting yourself up for potential disappointment there. I wasn't sure, so I did a little search on the web, on how to propagate ficus Benjamina, and this is what I found:

forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fig/msg041003103018.html

Branch cuttings root easily. Take cuttings 5 nodes long from 1/8 inch to pencil thickness. No rooting hormone necessary. Prune off side branches, but leave a short stub. Remove all but 1 or 2 top leaves. Stick cuttings in perlite or very coarse sand or fine gravel (little smaller than BB's) with 3 nodes covered to root. Bright light but no full sun. Tenting to increase humidity helpful. Fastest strikes between 70-75* F. soil temperatures, so a propagation mat is very helpful.

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Though roots form readily and often seemingly more quickly on many plants propagated in water, the roots produced are quite different from those produced in a soil-like or highly aerated medium (perlite - vermiculite - seed starting mix, e.g.). Physiologically, you will find these roots to be much more brittle than normal roots due to a much higher percentage of aerenchyma (a tissue with a greater percentage of intercellular air spaces than normal parenchyma). If you wish to eventually plant your rooted cuttings in soil, it is probably best not to root them in water because of the frequent difficulty in transplanting them to soil. The "water-formed" roots often break during transplant & those that don't break are very poor at water absorption and often die. The effect is equivalent to beginning the cutting process over again with a cutting in which vitality has likely been reduced.

===
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 1 day ago #1313

Hi J,

Thank you so very much for your excellent advice and the accompanying link. :cheer: Whew! I'm so grateful to learn this as I still have time to pick up some perlite in which to plant them properly.

The fellow I got these cuttings from has created a forest bonsai of the varigated Ficus B. and it is sooo beautiful!

As soon as I get these planted I will post a photo, K? I want this to work so much! Perhaps my sheer determination and positive thoughts will help? :P
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 1 day ago #1319

i agree with that last part.i tried the water thing and once they were transplanted 1 of 5 survived.the next time i started the cuttings in water and waited for the roots to just start to sprout and then planted them in a standard bonsai mix (i don't know if this was the optimal thing to do) i put the planted cuttings in a tray and watered from the bottom so not to disturb the forming roots.when the tray drys up i fill it again,i also mist them occationaly.

love the leaves they will make a great specimen some day
  • manofthetrees
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 1 day ago #1322

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for your comment. How many of the cuttings from the second bunch survived...using the bonsai soil?
I couldn't agree with you more on the colour...a very striking varigation!
I picked up some seed starting mix today and I happen to have the perfect little mini greenhouse to plant them in. Photos soon to come! I'm so excited! :woohoo:
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 1 day ago #1325

Mini greenhouse? Now I'm intrigued! :woohoo: Pictures, please!
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 1 day ago #1333

Hey Leslie,

You are going to remove the scale bug from that one clipping, right? Or is it just a brown discoloration?
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 22 hours ago #1336

Aaaagghhh!...:pinch: ...you so freaked me out there for a second J! If you're talking about the spot on top of the leaf, no...it was just a little drop of rusty water (which I have no idea where it came from) however, I just wiped it off with my finger. Whew! :whistle:
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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 21 hours ago #1337

Hi All,

Here are the photos I promised of my cuttings planted in the *mini greenhouse*. There are 4 vent holes in the top of the dome which are open in the photos. Should I leave them open or close them? Your thoughts and suggestions are more than welcome. :)

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Re: Varigated Ficus Benjamina - Cuttings 7 years 21 hours ago #1338

I'd leave the vent holes open.

When your plants have rooted, take care to slowly let the young plants adjust to the relatively dry air in your home: Open de top overnight at first, and closed as it gets bright again. This way you reduce the risk of dried-out leaves (The closed environment creates moist tropical conditions, which create a larger number of breathing openings in the leaves, which need to adjust when you remove the cap)
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