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Name: Susan
Lexington, KY (Zone 6b)
Capmansgir
Jun 25, 2014 6:59 PM CST
I have a ficus tree in my house during winter and in shade out side in the summer. It already rubs the ceiling.
Any advise on how to prune it and when?
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Jun 26, 2014 6:46 AM CST
Ficus trees are fast growers. Is it Ficus benjamina or another variety? Whichever variety it is, don't give it a major pruning all at once. Proceed slowly. Don't prune more than one-third of the tree which could cause plant shock or open it up to disease.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 26, 2014 7:14 AM CST
I agree
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 26, 2014 7:16 AM CST
Welcome! Capmansgir
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 26, 2014 7:20 AM CST
Welcome to ATP! When cutting, know the sap inside the plant has latex, which can give some people a miserable rash like poison ivy. Avoiding contact with that is best, but wash it off well if you do get some on your skin, and make sure you don't rub any into your eyes.

If you are able to add a pic of your tree to this discussion, you could get more specific opinions about where to cut, if you're unsure. The removed pieces can be used to make new baby trees.
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Name: Susan
Lexington, KY (Zone 6b)
Capmansgir
Jun 26, 2014 8:43 PM CST
Thank you for an important piece of advise. I will get a picture of it.
Name: Susan
Lexington, KY (Zone 6b)
Capmansgir
Jun 27, 2014 7:04 PM CST
Ficus fig tree: I need help on how and when to prune it?
Thumb of 2014-06-28/Capmansgir/a843d1
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 27, 2014 8:15 PM CST
It looks like you have the 'Benjamin' ficus tree. I am sending you a T-Mail.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jun 28, 2014 1:04 PM CST
Yes, that is definitely Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) I used to grow a few of those in containers in my screened pool area and on my screened porch. They would grow so tall they's hit the roof and bend over ; I was forever having to chop the tops off and I finally got tired of them and threw them all out. An elderly neighbor took a couple and planted them in their yard but I don't know if they survived or not because we do get freezes in this part of Fla. They are used as landscape trees and pruned hedges in the southern part of the state. They can be pruned and the cuttings stuck in soil will root for additional plants. I'd say you could just do a little trimming of the top or if you prefer or you could reduce the height by cutting it back hard. As long as it gets the proper water and light it will survive pruning.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 28, 2014 1:21 PM CST
In my opinion, you did the right thing, Lin. Benjamin Ficus trees are nothing but trouble. Not only do they grow fast and constantly need hard trimming, they also tend to get lanky with age and no amount of trimming seems to solve that problem. Add to this their tendency to drop their leaves IF you just look at them the wrong way (I am being a little facetious here, but not much!) and they simply don't make a good houseplant. There are other ficus trees with much better "manners" and much better aesthetics.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Jun 29, 2014 10:13 AM CST
Ken, Smiling I know what you mean about the Ficus benjamina dropping their leaves if you even look at them the wrong way. I could move my trees from one side of the screened area to a spot two feet away and they would start shedding leaves like crazy! They are very pretty trees though (as the beauty in Susans photo) and many folks enjoy growing them as houseplants. I do still have a variegated F. benjamina that has been suffering the past few years. It's pot/root bound and not happy at all. I thought about planting it out in the yard and just letting it do it's thing, live or die but still haven't done that yet. I've only kept it around because I purchased it as a tiny little plant from a friends nursery back in the 80's shortly before she passed away; so it has a bit of sentimental value. The photo below is from about eight or ten years ago, I wish it looked so good today.


The Ficus elastica's: http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=Ficus+elastica&bu... and Fiddle-leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) get huge down here in Florida as well, some folks grow them as landscape trees but there are many who enjoy them as houseplants even though they grow quickly and need almost constant repotting and pruning too.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 29, 2014 11:20 AM CST
To me, the variegated Benjamin is by far the best but as I said about the "regular" one, they do decline and get leggy with age, at least those kept as houseplants. I have never lived in subtropical areas and don't know how they do outside, full-time.

I have a "Mother" fiddle leaf that I air-layer. I sell every single division I can obtain and generally have a waiting list of people who want them. My mother fiddle is at least 25 years old and she has been in the same pot for at least a decade. Needless to say, she is extremely root-bound but it does not seem to bother her. As you say, she has to have a "hair-cut" twice a year, and I take a foot off her each time. That's done just so I can get her through my double-doors. I keep her in an enclosed porch (winterized in October and then going back to a screened-porch in April). Air-layering her branches twice a year creates the same end-result as simply trimming her back.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Susan
Lexington, KY (Zone 6b)
Capmansgir
Jul 1, 2014 8:04 PM CST
That is a very pretty variegated ficus. I've had mine for at least 17 years. I almost lost it once but was able to see it through. Many times it has lost lots of leaves. But still love it. Surprisingly enough, we moved two winters ago and it barely lost any leaves. I had read some where that if you move it and or it starts dropping leaves, to feed it Mir-acid. It's always worked for me.
Thanks for the advise on cutting back. I'm gonna give it a try, wish me luck 👍
Name: Susan
Lexington, KY (Zone 6b)
Capmansgir
Jul 3, 2014 6:21 PM CST
Thank You! for all the help you guys. Glad I found this site.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Jul 8, 2014 3:16 PM CST
Hi Susan,

I care for lots of Ficus benjaminas that are kept indoors. I see you are in Zone 6b so you have to keep yours indoors in winter. These trees do usually drop lots of leaves whenever there is a significant change in light. That's why I often recommend finding a good, sunny indoor location for a Ficus and leaving it there year round. That spares the twice annual acclimatization process. Outdoors, the light is much more intense which encourages heavier growth. However, in your case, I'm not sure that is desirable as your tree is already too big.

Ficus trees respond very favorably to pruning at any time of the year. You really cannot go wrong in pruning a Ficus. Think of it as being like cutting hair. You can prune to any size or shape that you prefer. No matter how far back you prune, new growth will emerge just below each pruning cut and grow outward from there, So even if you prune back too far, you can be confident that it will fill out with a little time. I suggest that you be bold and experiment by pruning back more that you are initially inclined. Then watch how it grows back in and continue to prune to get it (and keep it) at the size and shape you prefer.

Pruning a Ficus tree is not so much a horticultural matter as an aesthetic one. Go for it! http://garden.org/i/s/hurray.gif

I have written detailed articles on pruning indoor plants and caring for Ficus trees as indoor plants that I can email to anyone who requests them by email or posts an email address here.

~Will
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jul 8, 2014 3:32 PM CST
When I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I had a great room that had 24' ceilings. I built a tiled in plant area that was 10x10', with water and drain, and 6" side walls enclosed it all in. I had numerous large plants in there and in the center was a Benjamin ficus. It was growing in a large, 1/2 whiskey barrel. That tree finally got about 15' tall. It was never moved and the light only changed some with the season, since the entire south wall was glass. There was never a time that my wife and I were not picking up leaves.

Each to their own, but I'll never have another one. There are many "well-behaved" ficus trees available.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Jul 8, 2014 5:49 PM CST
Change in light is certainly not the sole reason for Ficus leaf drop, just the most common. Improper watering is another common cause. In addition, these trees when grown indoors can support only a finite number of leaves determined by the available light. Once they max out, which happens when they are allowed to grow unchecked, they will start to shed older leaves so that they can continue to support new growth. This is why many inadequately pruned indoor Ficus trees look rather sparse in their interior portions.

In general, the larger the indoor plant, the more maintenance is involved. If you don't like the extra work, stick with smaller plants.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jul 8, 2014 8:15 PM CST
I agree Or stick with plants that simply are not so damn temperamental, regardless of size. After all, and staying within the same family, fiddle leaf and Alii' are far easier to manage. I have grown them all, inside and outside.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jul 8, 2014 11:10 PM CST
I love my ficus trees. I have had them for over 20 years. I baby them outside and protect them in the winter. I deal with the winter leaf drop and I understand it. I fills out every spring. This summer I have a 10 foot trees with a spread that will help cover my greenhouse, enhancing it's beauty and keeping it covered from the HOA.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jul 9, 2014 8:34 AM CST
Ten foot trees are whoppers. I couldn't get them through my doors. That's why I keep my 25 year old fiddle leaf a manageable 7-8' tall and 4-5' wide. She has to get through double doors on my porch, which I enclose in the fall.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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