In 2009 ( a lot happened back then…) I bought one of these S shaped Figs from a very reputable bonsai vendor. (As he now declares that these S-shaped Chinese imports are not bonsai – I will refrain from naming him). In any case, I always wanted one and I have four now. And quite happy with my bonsai.
This one had some aerial roots already and I was advised by all to cut them off.
It became my mission to have a proper banyan fig (Yes – I know this is not a Banyan Fig (Ficus benghalensis). Banyan actually means that the fig started its life as an epiphyte and that its seed germinated in a crack of another tree. The true Banyan fig is native to India. They are frequently planted near homes, temples, villages, and roadsides and is often a meeting place for the community. People would gather in its shade to relax, discuss issues, and make decisions. The name, banyan, is derived from merchants called Banias, who rested under the trees to discuss their strategies. It is therefore for this reason that I wanted to develop aerial roots.
I was advised to water from above – which i religiously did. Soon, little roots started forming from the grafted branches. I unfortunately lost the branch on the right a while ago. I decided not to regraft or remove it, but I let branches from the top branch grow down. There is still a long way to go, but basically, this is where this tree is at today.
Earlier this season, I decided to use straws to guide the roots down to try and prevent root splitting near the soil as the the second from the left, root. When I removed the straw, I found lots of little roots and root hairs growing.
It will be very interesting to see what develops from here.
On the righthand side where I lost the branch and have been trying to “cheat” by getting other branches to cover up, you will see some green cable ties. It worked for while, but then I bumped the branch and it broke. No amount of wood glue or anything has worked. Then I had another brainwave. What if I let one of these roots grow very long (using a straw, I aimed to off the side and out the pot), I eventually managed to get a root long enough to ‘twine’ around the dead, broken branch. I really hope it works this time, as the tree (and I) need this branch. As you can see, the root is still in the straw and should soon reach the soil in the bonsai pot.