Ficus carica....Bonsai Training

bronxfigsApril 8, 2012

Creating a "bonsai-style" edible fig tree has its charm, and probably many difficulties, the least of which, is reducing leaf size. I have never tried the edible fig as a bonsai subject, and I was wondering if any growers have trained a fig in this way?

I have a no-name fig growing in my front hard, with a very crooked trunk, and I think that I would like to try to train this tree into a respectable, large-scale "bonsai". I will leave it planted in-ground while using training techniques over the next years. Refinement will come later once the basic tree is formed.

I am not too worried about the top end of the tree because with pruning, new buds will pop out and I could regrow the branching system. It's the rootage that needs work.

I want to form a wide, flaring root base, called "nebari" which will give the illusion of a well anchored, buttressed root system. Standard bonsai techniques call for cutting the downward-growing tap-root, and selecting some horizontally-growing roots to thicken and age. These roots will grow near the surface of the soil, half-exposed, so the roots will form bark, and blend with the trunk-base. I read the root-trimming posts and looked at all the interesting photos posted by Al Tapla. Anything else I need to know.

Any tips on leaf reduction techniques other than pinching out overly large leaves? My guess is that under the best conditions, these figs will always have a very coarse, unrefined look because of the large, stiff, leaves. Will edible fruit form under bonsai training?

Any pointers/hints/caveats would help me.


Frank DV

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You can do just about anything with a fig tree. In Japan, they prune them into odd shapes for easier harvesting. For extensive photos of this, check out this link: (Same as link shown below)

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Style Fig Farming

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:45AM
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Thanks very much for the link. Very interesting to see all the training possibilities.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 6:30AM
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