Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ficus Benjamina On a Skull Update: Named, Repotted and Rewired

This tree now has a name and that name is Skull Master, Master of Skulls! I've decided to call it an homage to Questionable Content because that sounds better than "I steal cool names from web comics". Anyway, I haven't done much to him since the last post other than a repot and a little shaping. I moved recently and have kind of let the two trees I brought with me go wild. The other tree I brought was the Mother Tree (also, holy crap she's changed since that post, need to write her an update, too) and she's been half wild from the get go but I have serious plans for Skull Master.

Firstly, I re-potted him since clear containers don't seem to work as well as opaque, I learned. When I did that I put him at a different angle to encourage the trunk to grow how I want it. I'm going to do a whole post about pot tilting and such later, I think. I also recovered his left side with dirt (makes the roots grow thicker/stronger faster, it seems) and a couple other spots, too, then wrapped the skull portion in a humidity tent. That's a grand way of saying a cut up freezer bag.
Works great, though. I just slice it open, wrap it how I want and gently secure it with bonsai training wire.
 Make sure a little air can get out so stuff doesn't get moldy and it keeps things nice and humid and that, my pets, encourages air roots.
This one is going from the base of the trunk down the back of the skull. It will look very cool, if it survives.

I also re-purposed one of these weird two fixture lamps into a grow light.
 Lined the upper lampshade with foil and attached it to reflect down and used the other one to point straight at the humidity tent.
 I use compact bulbs so you can get them right up close since they don't put out much heat.

They do, however, put out enough heat to warm the tent up and that also encourages air roots. And, once again, air roots are cool

So there's an update on this guy, you can see the change in shape pretty well in that next to last pic. He's filled out quite a bit which I attribute to the lights I've been using and the beginnings of the umbrella shape are coming together. This spring I plan on doing a major pruning/reshaping for him and I'll definitely post about that. The lemon trees I posted about last are doing well, too, I'll update about them soon. Probably. Heh.


  1. where did ya get your skull? its pretty creepy. haha!

    1. I got it from Amazon, it's an aquarium decoration. Heh, yeah it's pretty creepy, I love it. It's gotten some damage recently, unfortunately, I should really do an update on it.

  2. yeh.. its creepy but still very nice.. is that the ficus you have been posting?

    1. It's not the one that I've posted since it was a cutting. I started this one a year or two before that.

  3. Sweet, I'm doing a similar project myself, found your blog while doing some setup for it.