This is a ficus bond I started in early 2013 by tying several rooted whips together. One of the first I tried. It had mostly bonded by late 2014.
Here it is in 2014.
For the next 3 years I didn't do a lot with it other than let it grow, cut it back, and repeat. I didn't know what I was doing and let the upper branches get too thick.
Here is a photo from 2017.
So for the last 3 years I have been cutting it way back to develop new branches that are in proportion. Still a long way to go.
In the summer it stays outdoors and in the winter it stays in a cool basement under lights in front of a northwest facing window.
This spring for a reason I still haven't figured out most of the leaves turned brown and dropped. I am guessing I let it dry out to much.
I have found that when this happens it is an opportunity for hard pruning and defoliation. I have done this several times and all came back. So in Late April I completely defoliated and hard pruned. Unfortunately I do not have a picture. Then in early June it was moved outdoors still pretty bare.
The first picture is from August 16th. All that foliage is new. The second picture is after I pruned it to thin out and eliminate 'unneeded' branches. The shape is off because I still have some minor bonds in process and I need those trunks and whips to really grow. And there are still some sacrifice branches.
I would not intentionally defoliate except in the summer when they are growing vigorously, but it can be done at other times.