There are many native figs available in South Africa and they grow extremely well pretty much anywhere in the country. Figs must certainly be one of the most popular species to use as bonsai material locally.
They are extremely versatile, suiting many different styles of which root over rock is very popular. As they are so robust all the typical techniques we are used to applying to other species can equally be applied to figs for instance defoliation works magic in reducing the size of the leaves.
Image caption. Ficus burtt-davyi. Artist: Johan Lotz
An event not to be missed
For the first time, that I am aware of at least, a festival dedicated to all things "fig" has been planned by the vibrant Cape Town club, Blaauwberg Bonsai Kai.
A full day jam packed with demonstrations by leading fig bonsai enthusiasts will keep you captivated and leave with loads of information and inspiration.
Image caption. Ficus burtt-davyi. Artist: Hennie Nel
What can you expect?
An exhibition of fig bonsai is planned so you will be able to see first hand what can be achieved with this species. Prizes will be awarded for trees deemed to be worthy of praise. Why not enter some of your figs?
In order of appearance with a summary of what they will be doing:
Show and tell - Unwrapping a Strangler Fig on an Olive trunk. Looking at the growth of the roots of a Burtt Davyi on a large rock in LECA, what's transpired? And that's not all, a fusion of 6-7 Ficus Natalensis trees, see what development has taken place.
An unveiling of Ficus Burtt Davyi on rocks and a discussion of the methods used and growth thereof.
How to improve the basal flare of a trunk, and methods used to thicken a trunk. Arial root creation and how to use them as part of the composition. Attachment of the trunk to a rock face.