Bonsai Success

So, my bonsai saga is ending for the year. Last week, I attended a Fall/Winter Storage class, and hoped to get some feedback about my tree’s progress since this all started back in May.

It went better than I had dared to hope–I earned a high-five from the instructor for the way I revived my ficus. He even asked me to show the class a photo of what it looked like before we started working on it. He complimented the burst of deep green, shiny foliage…then proceeded to cut away half of it to promote more back-budding. Yes, I knew he would do that, and the tree did need trimming. But now it looks sparse again–I wish I had taken a picture of it before its haircut.

Here are Before and After photos, early summer and today. In four months, the branches have thickened and still have the upward sweep from the summer’s wiring. The leaves are smaller and more numerous. I did notice that the few days of cool weather we’d had recently had slowed the tree down. When I trimmed leaves during the summer, the white latex sap dripped from the cuts. After the instructor’s trimming, there were no drips at all.



Anyway, instructor said that whatever I was doing, I should keep doing it. Given that he’s the curator of bonsai at Chicago Botanic Garden, I allowed myself a pat on the back.

Once the temperature remains below 45F, I’ll bring the ficus indoors. I’ve set some shelves in front of a south-facing set of glass doors, so the tree can receive as much sun as possible. I’ll also switch the feeding to something that doesn’t promote growth. The next major step may be a re-potting, but that won’t happen until the summer as that’s the best time to repot tropical trees.



About Kristine Smith

Kristine Smith is the author of the Jani Kilian series and a number of SF and fantasy short stories, and is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She worked as a pharmaceutical process development scientist for 26 years, but now writes full-time. She also writes supernatural thrillers under the name Alex Gordon. Check out her BVC bookshelf

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