I saw this poor little ficus in the corner at Lowe’s when I was getting other stuff. I arrogantly scoffed at it from a distance, and then as I got closer I realized they didn’t mess it up too badly as far as the structure goes. It had some goofy branching, a lot of dead/weak/interior growth, and they epoxied the darn thing into the pot with gravel on the top and a stick-in stone sign that read ‘Peace’.
To be honest, I just felt bad for it. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. I figured it would be good practice at least. I threw out all of the goofy crap and cleaned off the epoxy bits from the pot. I gently removed most of the peat moss/coconut coir or whatever it was planted in, found a front that I didn’t hate, and put it in a 1:1:1 mix I had. Next, I went through and cleaned out all of the weak/interior/dead bits and trimmed off some pieces that were already contributing to the beginning of structural issues. I got to get a lot of practice wiring as carefully and gently as I could.
Overall, I had fun, got some practice, a handful of cuttings that might root, and the tree is leaps and bounds from where it was. What more could I ask? I suppose giving an extra $25 to Lowe’s and contributing to this particular market may not be the best thing to be doing, but I could do worse.
Anyone else have embarrassing trees?
I had to laugh when I read your post. This litte ficus of mine has the exact same history. I found it in a DIY and garden center. It was in a rather ugly pot that had a stone glued to it and it was planted in regular garden soil. I figured it would make a good practice piece to improve my nursery stock repotting, wiring and design skills and as such it did a good job (although, as you can tell by the gaps, my wiring technique still leaves a lot to be desired). But who knows, with time it may even make something like a bonsai one day.
I think we all could use five more years of full time wiring practice. I know mine has a long way to come Better to practice on material like this and chopped off branches from the yard than something really nice. I have until late summer/early fall to get my practice in before wiring up some nicer material
I have a fukien tea Lowe’sai as well. It does not like me. It’s growing new shoots, but it also drops leaves. I have it indoors right next to a south facing window. I may move it to my back porch which is north facing. Morning sun only. I suspect that I’m giving it too much sunlight. I stripped all of the fake rocks and “moss” off of the top, but I have no transplanted it yet. This being my first FT I wanted to be sure that I knew how to care for it before I preformed open heart surgery via the repot. Thankful that I was actually patient for once.
Here are two of mine. I’ve got a couple of tiger barks, but these are the ones I’ve messed with more.
That one started out like this a few years ago
I found a rock that would fit what was already there and wrapped it in sphagnum moss for about 18 months. Working on styling it now.
This one had the bulbous root hacked in half and shoved in a pot. It rooted and I’m setting up structure now. Would love to go out wide with the canopy and get some air roots.
I think these ficus…ficuses…ficuii are more work than they’re worth, but they make for great practice material. Especially if you can get them on the cheap.
For sure! I think setting up a little super high humidity chamber for them would be kind of neat to promote the aerial roots. Weird little buggers to play with for sure. I actually live in a weird microclimate here in Portland that puts me at zone 9a, so they may survive year round here (maybe), so I’m gonna keep it outside until it starts getting super chilly next winter.