Last year I began to get more interested in some tropical species, among which was Green island ficus, Ficus microcarpa. This year I’ve been working on stock for the future, along with getting a jump-start on some offerings. I had bought a few larger specimens of both Green island and Willow leaf ficus, including this Green island I decided to keep for myself.
As you can see from the progression photos, this little guy has come a long way in just over two months. They never stop growing, even indoors during winter, so I figured it would fill out pretty quickly. But there’s more to this one’s story. At our last local club meeting, on August 15th, the theme was tropical bonsai and I decided to bring it in in large part to show off the Chuck Iker pot (one of the primary reasons I’m keeping the tree). A day or two before, as I was checking on my trees, I happened to notice this one was actually pushing an aerial root from the left-side branch! It was only an inch or so long, and jutted straight out from the branch. I literally have no experience with tropical species that produce aerial roots, so while I was enamored with the baby aerial root I had no expectation that anything would come of it. I mean, we don’t live in the tropics despite our oppressive summer humidity. So I truly expected the root to wither away.
Imagine my surprise when I noticed, a few days ago, that this aerial root had actually found its way down into the soil! I literally did nothing but ignore the tree. And then a couple of days ago, I noticed yet another aerial root emerging from a back branch – all on its own.
Is this the way to make aerial roots on trees? Well, it’s obviously not an applied technique as it just happened. I’ve heard of such techniques as putting drinking straws around the roots to increase the humidity around them. I don’t know how well this works, to be honest. So going forward, I guess I may end up learning a thing or two.
I’d love to hear what you think of this nice surprise I got. Do you grow tropicals? Do you have any experience with aerial roots on ficus?