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Ficus Benjamina. Not always considered outstanding material for bonsai, but it is readily available and will survive indoors, so I suspect it is used as bonsai more than many species — even if by the inexperienced and curious. 

Mine is not dissimilar as this is a tree I have had since my early years in the art. By my records, I’ve had this plant for a solid 20 years. 

I’m going to skip any root pruning this year and see if I can get a fairly refined canopy before it has to go back inside for the cold months. So first, today, is defoliating. 

I’ve been warned that F. Benjamina can die back if you don’t leave a leaf at each growing tip, but that creates an odd challenge. You see, I like to see the tree structure when I prune, and I don’t know which leaf will be at the tip until all of the decisions are made. So, here’s hoping for a strong growth response. 

After removing the leaves I do some initial pruning. 

And then wire to get the branches back into position. 

I will have to watch the wire carefully. If I get the strong growth response I want, it will bite in quickly.