As you might have seen in a prior blog post, I originally drilled the pictured tile for a trident maple fusion experiment. I used inorganic bonsai soil, and the roots were shielded from water by the tile. This combo resulted in the death of that experiment. I suppose I could have submerged the pot containing the tile and maples and bottom-watered … but I didn’t.
To recap the methodology–Using a tile or similar object results in trunk base flare above the tile, and new, horizontal root growth along the top of the tile. Not a new technique, but one that I haven’t pulled off yet.
Anyway, I’m now using this tile with some ficus microcarpa cuttings that I collected from a boulevard tree growing along a street in Santa Monica. Ficus microcarpa, ficus benjamina, and ficus elastica line the streets of most cities here in Southern California. I chose microcarpa for it’s leaf reduction possibilities, back budding and chop-friendly characteristics, fast growth, etc. Essentially all the reasons it’s liked by other bonsai enthusiasts.
Microcarpa also happens to root very well in water. I’ve tried with cuttings from the same donor tree with great results.
As you will see from the pictures, I have taken the cuttings and placed them in the star-shape-holed tile, and have submerged the cuttings partially in water. Once they all root, I will pot the tile and rooted cuttings in some cactus mix. The organics should allow water to saturate the root area even when top-watering. After I notice healthy top growth, I will remove the lower leaves and wrap the bundled stems. These things grow fast, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the stems/trunks begin swelling at their bases in a matter of months.
Pictures below. I also included one of the donor tree.