Starting Ficus Benjamina

Cmd5235

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I’m starting this to track the progress of a ficus benjamina that I received this spring. The tree was a throwaway from a neighbor that had it for the past 15 years in the same pot and the same cigarette ash looking soil.

I took one large cutting from the top and several smaller ones. The base of the trunk was potted 5 months ago, but has yet to throw any growth. However, it is still green.

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Cmd5235

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The base has still yet to show any signs of life, but all the cuttings are still going strong. I had to trim the one back today, and hopefully the whole branch won’t die:
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Cmd5235

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I’m debating taking a few leaves off the remaining branches to try to stimulate more growth, but I’m not sure if that’s overly aggressive and will lead to overall weakening and death.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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IT is the beginning of winter in Pennsylvania. Unless you have an elaborate under lights system, normal winter growth indoors for Ficus will be minimal. Most Ficus are semi-dormant indoors in winter. It is usually not recommended to prune just before a prolonged period of dormancy. I would cut nothing now. When growth becomes more vigorous in spring, then do your pruning.

Ficus are usually only pruned while in active growth.
 

Cmd5235

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IT is the beginning of winter in Pennsylvania. Unless you have an elaborate under lights system, normal winter growth indoors for Ficus will be minimal. Most Ficus are semi-dormant indoors in winter. It is usually not recommended to prune just before a prolonged period of dormancy. I would cut nothing now. When growth becomes more vigorous in spring, then do your pruning.

Ficus are usually only pruned while in active growth.
I have LED grow lights set up on a 14 hour timer for all my indoor trees, with a constant temp of 68. Fortunately I get rather explosive growth on tropicals like Serissa. That being said, I will probably still wait
 

Forsoothe!

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I am usually the very last person on the face of the planet to argue for a low chop, but this tree is still going to be too tall if you chop to the 2nd left branch. Doing this kind of thing in more than one step serves no purpose. I understand that Benjamin don't respond to this well, but doing this in more than one felled swoop only prolongs pain. IMHO
 

SU2

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I am usually the very last person on the face of the planet to argue for a low chop, but this tree is still going to be too tall if you chop to the 2nd left branch. Doing this kind of thing in more than one step serves no purpose. I understand that Benjamin don't respond to this well, but doing this in more than one felled swoop only prolongs pain. IMHO
Yup. Ficus B's suck at backbudding on hardwood that's far-away from active growth sites, it "happens" and it happens often enough but it is incredibly correlated to the specimen's current growth rate (ie when bursting w/ first&second flushes of the growing-season I'll get random backbudding, but would never depend on it for a ficus.b (not even during summer, even though I imagine I'd get at least 3-outta-4 to backbud)

That specimen will surely die, sorry to say OP :( My 1st-ever trunk chop was also a ficus.b, yeah it will stay green under-bark (vascular tissue) for quite a while, I must've spent 2.5-->3.5 months watching mine slowly die, hoping on a backbudding that never happened (tree, originally, was my topiary, was around 5-6' tall, had no foliage below 4.5', trunk was about 3.5->4" at base (before flare/nebari) Sorry but this time of year I wouldn't hold my breath on that guy, if it was in burgeoning vegetative growth *and* daylight-hours were increasing then maybe but neither of those is the case (actually if you're doing artificial lighting you may be able to negate the shorter-days // semi-dormancy phenomena) But it'd have to be in vigorous growth in most cases (when the chop is made)

Good luck in any case, cool to see you do so much from 1 specimen!! Re the defoliating, don't do it (I mean, if a leaf is clearly past its prime then sure remove it, otherwise leaves are solar panels, they're food&resource builders IE growth-accelerators, you only remove leaves if you need access for working the branches, or to force the tree to push a 2nd, smaller flush of foliage (which isn't good for the tree, though it will make it look better for a show...but right now, your only concerns on those specimen are horticultural AKA what is best for the growth/health and removing good leaves never fits with that!
 

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