The Q&A Archives: Ficus Benjamina near a wall?

Question: At the advice of my local nursery I planted ficus benjamina as a hedge. It is right next to a wall that the shrubs were planted to hide. Is this wall at risk from the root structure? If I continue to shape the ficus as a hedge with maximum height of 10 ft tall, will this contain the roots at all? Should I be worried about the wall tumbling?
Thank You!

Answer: Ficus benjamamina, or weeping fig, is a fast growing tree to 60' with an even greater spread. It needs lots of space for its extensive root system which tends to surface near the trunk, extending out under the canopy. You can keep your plants at 10 feet, and do some periodic root pruning on the side closest to the wall, to keep them in check. Or you can move them now while they're small and plant them where the roots have lots of room to roam.

I'm concerned that the root systems of these trees might be too invasive for planting near a wall. You might want to consider Crape Myrtle, Calistemon viminalis (weeping bottlebrush), Magnolia, Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree), or Garry elliptica (coast silktassle) instead. Each of these trees are well-behaved and all produce seasonal flowers as an added bonus. Good luck with your garden!

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