Ficus Carica is a plant species that is well-known for fruiting the fig. This small tree is sometimes also referred to as the common fig. Ficus Carica is its Latin name or the scientific name that is used by biologists. Other common names for this tree include but are not limited to Adriatic Fig and Symrna Fig. This tree belongs to the Moraceae or Mulberry family. Apart from producing such a popular fruit as the common fig, Fica Carica is also used for ornamental purposes. One art form that makes use of this small tree is Bonsai. Bonsai is a traditional Japanese art form of ornamental gardening. Today, it is popular all over the globe. One can find Bonsai artists in quite a few countries. The art form involves cultivating miniature trees in pots.
Some popular Bonsai artists known for their craft globally include Yuji Yoshimura, Makoto Azuma, etc. For anyone who loves trees and plants, this is an art form that they should definitely check out.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Ficus Carica Bonsai Tree?
Ficus Carica is a small deciduous tree. In other words, the tree sheds its leaves seasonally. It will take around a year or two for the Bonsai tree to fully grow. It is mostly found in Western Asia and the Mediterranean region. The major countries which supply this fruit to the rest of the world are Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria. As ripe figs cannot be kept intact during their transportation, they are mostly exported in processed forms. All in all, it’s quite a popular fruit in any form, processed or otherwise. The tree can attain a height of 7 to 10 meters. An ideal height for Bonsai trees.
In its natural habitat, rainwater is scarce. However, Ficus Carica survives because of its aggressive root system. It extracts water from the ground and sustains itself in tough conditions. Usually, one can find this small tree near still or running water sources.
Another interesting fact about this tree is that it becomes a resting place for many wild animals. The climate of the Mediterranean or West Asia can be a bit taxing. As this plant extracts water from the ground, it cools its environment. Even human beings hold this tree in high regard. This is apparent in the cultural importance of this plant in places where it grows.
The fruit of this plant is of ecological importance for the fauna. Interestingly, the seed dispersion is carried out by various beings that eat the fruit of this plant. For instance, when birds consume the seed of figs, they are not digested. They are dispersed along with bird droppings. Depending upon the climate, the fruit usually ripens between August and October. This seed dispersion is also carried out by wasps and various bees.
How to Plant and Grow Ficus Carica Bonsai?
Various type-species from Genus Ficus are spread all over the globe. Ficus Carica is considered suitable for Bonsai because of its resilience. This species can withstand seasonal drought. That’s why it survives in the middle-eastern climate, where the availability of water is uncertain. Due to such resilience, Ficus Carica is one of the more preferred trees for beginner Bonsai artists. If you’ve just come to know the art of Bonsai, it’s recommended that you start with tough plants. It’s natural that beginner Bonsai artists may make mistakes. This is because the techniques used in Bonsai are learned with practice, which is true for any art form. Species like Ficus Carica that can withstand pruning and various other techniques used in Bonsai are deemed perfect for beginners.
Moreover, the fact that Ficus Carica and similar species are widely available also makes them perfect for Bonsai. There is no need to spend big bucks and struggle with official rules and formalities associated with import. It is also ecologically sustainable as the extinction status of this species is “least concerned”. And there’s no need to worry about the various intricacies of Bonsai. If you’re passionate about it, you will end up becoming adept at it in no time. The most important thing to remember when handling Bonsai-friendly species such as Ficus Carica is the health of the tree. All you need to make sure is that the tree remains healthy.
For that, you should actively seek information on Bonsai as well as the particular species of tree being used. It’s a good idea to connect with various other Bonsai artists in your local area. If there are none, you can join various groups online. This way, you will be able to connect with fellow artists and read about their experience with Bonsai. There is no better learning source than reading about the experiences of those who excel at a particular art form.
How to Care for Your Ficus Carica Bonsai Tree?
As you grow your Ficus Carica Bonsai, you should water it according to your desired Bonsai shape. As it is true with all Bonsai trees, you can affect its growth based on the amount of water it gets. Maintaining a Bonsai plant is a continuous process. You will have to constantly prune your tree while maintaining its growth. Do not go overboard with the pruning. As your tree grows, you will get a better idea about shaping its foliage and overall size.
Traditional Bonsai artists use various techniques so that a potted plant mimics its fully-grown wild counterpart. If you want to go with the traditional route of Bonsai, you will have to make use of techniques such as leaf trimming and pruning. Although, you can exercise your own creative control and experiment with the foliage. The kind of aesthetic you want will depend upon your technical abilities associated with Bonsai. If you end up pruning too much or de-foliage in excess, there is no need to panic. Give the foliage/leaves some time to regrow.
It is recommended that you do not place your Ficus Carica Bonsai in direct sunlight. The lighting should be moderate. You can place it in your balcony or window. That way, it will get the required sunlight. Growing lights are also an option. However, Ficus Carica Bonsai trees require very little lighting. So, it wouldn’t make much sense to invest in growing lights, unless sunlight is scarce due to overcast conditions. One limitation with Ficus Carica is that it cannot tolerate extremely cold weather.
Those who have just begun with ornamental gardening of any kind should also keep an eye out for pest infestation. Make sure that the soil is nitrogen-rich. For your Ficus Carica Bonsai, you should keep the soil dry, so that you can water it accurately. Alternatively, you can just get Bonsai soil from the market. If you do end up with an infestation, you can also treat your Bonsai with various pest-killing agents available in the market. But prevention is always better than the cure. So, keep an eye out for pests that might damage your ornamental plant.
Ficus Carica Styling Techniques
When it comes to styling techniques, Ficus Carica responds well to pruning and wiring. As its branches are quite flexible, you can experiment with its overall shape. Wiring refers to a process of using aluminum or copper wires to give shape to a Bonsai tree’s branches. With the help of wires, you make nuanced changes to the overall shape of your Bonsai tree. These wires hold the branches in preferred positions until they convert to wood. Deciduous trees only require 7-9 months for this process to complete. As Ficus Carica is a deciduous tree, it responds well to wiring.
Pruning is used for practically all Bonsai trees. It refers to the process of shortening the trunk, branches, and roots. As Bonsai is all about miniature trees resembling their wild counterparts, pruning becomes essential.
Trimming the leaves and removing excess foliage will impact the overall aesthetics of your Ficus Carica Bonsai. For landscaping in general, trimming leaves and defoliation is where one’s creativity can shine. For Bonsai artists, these techniques are used so that the Bonsai tree actually looks like a miniature tree.
Other Uses of Ficus Carica:
Apart from being used as an ornamental tree, Ficus Carica has various other uses too. Its edible fruit is perhaps one of its most important parts. It is used for flavoring food as well as in traditional medicines. If you ask any chef, they’ll tell you how important figs are in the culinary world. But don’t go about eating raw figs without adequate knowledge. At times, the milky sap of Ficus Carica can cause skin irritation. It’s also mentioned in various sources that the irritation is often a result of contact with sap followed by exposure to ultraviolet light. However, in Mediterranean traditional medicine, sap is used to treat a variety of ailments.
The edible fruit in any form is also said to be beneficial for digestion. All in all, Ficus Carica as well as other closely linked species are quite important from an anthropocentric point of view. Figs, for instance, are mentioned in various mythologies.
If you’re looking for a tree species that is Bonsai-friendly and suitable for beginners, Ficus Carica is a strong contender.