Phoenix Ficus

In January of 2021 I was in Phoenix, AZ with Sydni at a soccer tournament and I had LOTS of free time to kill between games. I visited many parks, so lots of walking. In one of the parks I saw a very familiar looking tree, a Ficus Microcarpa. I know this tree well because in my office I have 60+ Ficus Microcarpa in various stages of bonsai development.

This tree was about 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide with amazing branch structure. Near the base of the tree was a little branch, about 6 inches of growth. Knowing how easy these trees root from clippings and how healthy this particular tree looked, I knew I needed to take a clipping home to Colorado so I pinched the little branch off and took it back to my hotel. For the next 3 days the clipping soaked in water on the window sill in my hotel room.

Once I got home I put the clipping in a tray with peat moss and on a heated mat. About 7 weeks later it had good root structure and was ready to plant.

Phoenix Ficus ready to plant!

In one week the first new leaf started to emerge from the apex of the tree.

New leaf at apex starting to emerge.

In two weeks this little tree has many new leafs and is growing fast.

Leaf and branch explosion.

The day before I took this last image I re-positioned the tree in the pot to have a more vertical stance for the main trunk of the tree, and I added a rock for stability. Ficus trees grow root fast so the rock can be removed in a few weeks.

This spring, once the last frost is for sure past, I will place this Ficus in a protected area of my back yard for the summer. Protected means no late afternoon sun and some wind blockage. A tree this young will not have the roots capable of dealing with a lot of wind.

My guess is by end of the summer this tree will be 2-3 feet tall with a trunk width of about an inch. NOTE: I planted this Ficus in a nursery pot that is 7 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide to allow A LOT of root development. In its protected area the pot will be placed on loose soil to encourage the roots to grow out of the bottom of the pot and into the ground. This will created more rapid growth. In the fall I will simply cut those roots at the bottom and take the tree in doors for the winter and then repeat this process in 2022.

Stay tuned for more images as this awesome little tree develops.

This image is from July 18th, 2021.

This image is from Nov. 21, 2021. I brought this tree indoors near the end of September when night-time temps dipped below 50 degrees. Shortly after I brought it in I trimmed the branches back by 6-8 inches.

Author: Todd Thompson

Amateur bonsai enthusiast for the past 30+ years.

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