Hello Bonsai devotees, my name is Suhendra. I want to share my knowledge about Ficus Glomerata Variegata (Loa Varigata in Indonesian Language). I bought the bonsai in northern Bandung in 2004. I drove my own car accompanied by employees. When arrived, I see numerous small and raw bonsai. Some were good, but some were only raw bonsai. Then the owner invited us to see his farm, which had raw bonsai planted in soil and polybags. Some of them were planted from seeds, graftings, and natures.
In his farm I saw a Kaliandar Variegata whose flowers were red, like timber tree flowers and I wanted to buy it. Unfortunately, the owner didn’t sell because he said it will die if dug in dry season. I was quite confused, since the tree was 2 meter height and had so many saplings. Why didn’t he separate them and planted in pots or polybags to be sold. I think the tree was good, because it had yellow striped leaves that very contrast plus red flowers. I thought it will attract so many people to buy.
When we were talking, he mentioned about Ficus Glomerata Variegata whose fertile was not good. I was interested to know more because I was interested in collecting rare plants especially that could be created as bonsai. When I saw the plant, it was only planted in polybag using unhulled paddy (paddy plants /rice that are hulled and then separated from the stalks) as media. It was put in the middle of higher trees, so there was possibility watering process could not be completed. Sunshine was also not than one hour, and there were so many branches were not cut in the lower position that made the variegata lost. I think that were the factors.
After I bought and took it home, I did the repotting: 1 part soil + 2 part fertilizer + 1 part Malang sand (any sand taken from volcanoes). Before the substances mixed in pot, the bottom should be covered by filter to shut the hole. On the filter put rough sand (2-3 mm), then softer sand (1 mm), and goat manure (mixed with unhulled paddy) with comparison 1:1. Cut all the branches, leaves including the green and variegata from the stalk. After that, pull the tree from its polybag, clean the soil, and cut and the oversized roots. Finally, put the tree in the pot, do watering, and keep in shaded place. Put in a place with 2 hour morning sunshine when the tree grows new buds. After having many variegata leaves, full dry in the sun. When the tree grow green leaves, cut immediately.
The result after 6 months, the tree became so fertile and good. So I started to shape it with Slanting Style. After 2 years with good nursery, it became 80% qualified bonsai. I kept doing the intensive care for the purpose of joining National Bonsai Competition.
One day there was a bonsai lover outside Bandung city came to my place to see bonsai. When he saw the Ficus Glomerata Variegata, he was so impressed and eager to buy it. I understood his feeling, because I had ever the same experiences when I wanted to buy good and rare bonsai tree. After he did some very good offer, I sold the tree. Why? Because I had the saplings from prior graftings, so I still could have the same trees. I felt happy because there was a person who appreciated my work from the same hobby.
And that’s the whole story and experience about how to do repotting and plant bonsai with the substances made especially for the Ficus Glomerata Variegata. I hope my information could give positive input for you, the world bonsai devotees. Thank you.