Houseplants forum: Can I root a large cutting off of my Ficus Benjamina?

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Name: Kristi
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Houseplants
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grafiti4u
Oct 9, 2016 3:08 PM CST
Hi! I am in the process of bringing in my plants for the winter - I live in Northern Indiana. I have a beautiful Ficus Benjamina - probably 20 years old. It LOVES going outside for the summer, but the fun is over, cold weather is coming. I was preparing it by trimming up the wild sprouts and dead wood, and I see that my tree has some nice new growth near the bottom. I know I can root small cuttings, but is a little branch like this too large? It is growing off a large branch that was trimmed a year ago, and I was wondering what I should do. It is a healthy 12 inch tall baby and I thought it would make a beautiful plant if I could root it somehow. Could I cut off the small branch that sprouted out of the larger stump and try to root it in water . . . or could I trim off that little section of stump and the little branch and try to root that whole thing? Or should I just trim it off, toss it and forget about cuttings with it.

Thanks for any suggestion . . . here is a picture and I circled the part in question:

Thumb of 2016-10-09/grafiti4u/fa55c3

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Oct 9, 2016 4:11 PM CST
Green tip cuttings less than 5 or 6 inches in length can sometimes be rooted in small pots of damp soil or water. However, larger woody-stemmed cuttings that you are asking about really have to be air layered if you want to propagate them. Air-layering is a bit complicated and may be something you would rather not do.

Your tree looks terrific after its summer outside. Now is the time to prune it back sharply - as much as you can stand. The pruning will help it better fit inside your home and also help it adjust to the greatly reduced indoor light. You may also consider pruning out the interior small stems as they are shaded by the outer canopy of leaves and are the first to fall in reduced light.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Kristi
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Houseplants
Image
grafiti4u
Oct 9, 2016 10:34 PM CST
Thanks Will! I did that for the first time last year when I brought it in and it really made a difference! It had gotten so big, it was taking over my room. I was nervous to do it, but I just started pruning away until it looked like a managed tree, not a wild bush. And it looked so nice in the center of all my other house plants, it gave them all a nice balance. You are right, it fit so much better in the house and stays a very healthy tree. I think I will just go ahead and clean it up good again and maybe just root some smaller 6 inch lengths from the trimmings. I have looked at air layering before and ... how did you know it is something I would rather not do!

Thanks again, Will!
Kristi
Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Adeniums Plant Identifier
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Carter
Oct 10, 2016 7:07 AM CST
You can try to root that branch in question - it certainly won't hurt anything! I would prune that whole section you have highlighted off, and then only try to root the offshoot part. F. benjamina tends to root pretty easily. It's the wrong time of the year for cuttings, but with some additional bottom heat, and a little rooting hormone you could easily do it.
Name: Kristi
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Houseplants
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grafiti4u
Oct 10, 2016 10:37 AM CST
You know, that is what I was thinking Carter - I didn't think it would hurt anything to try. So are you saying prune that whole 'stub' off, with the little shoot coming out of it, then trim off that 'shoot' and just try and root that only? Would you simply root in water? I have to get some rooting hormone, I have never used it before.
thanks!
Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Oct 11, 2016 3:31 AM CST
http://www.gardenguides.com/129673-propagate-ficus-benjamina...

Here is a nice little link telling how to propagate your tree. Good Luck. It is said to be difficult to use hardwood, but your little sucker could be greener than one would assume.

I propagated about a dozen of these this summer, and they are just adorable now. I have no idea how I will train and prune them into trees. I am just going to let them go for a year or two.

Good luck. Nice nice tree. How is your Draceana tree doing?
Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Adeniums Plant Identifier
Image
Carter
Oct 11, 2016 7:01 AM CST
grafiti4u said:You know, that is what I was thinking Carter - I didn't think it would hurt anything to try. So are you saying prune that whole 'stub' off, with the little shoot coming out of it, then trim off that 'shoot' and just try and root that only? Would you simply root in water? I have to get some rooting hormone, I have never used it before.
thanks!


Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Thumbs up The whole stub just for cosmetic reasons - but that's not necessary if you don't want to. Definitely the new shoot portion if you want to root that. It may well root in water, I'm not sure. Honestly, when I've rooted my ficus, I just stick them in dirt and run with it, haven't ever tried water. Rooting hormone isn't necessary, just figured it would give a little extra oomph to root. Just make sure to change the water every couple of days to keep it fresh.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Oct 11, 2016 7:34 AM CST
I like for a cutting to be at least a foot tall. That allows for enough stem to be submerged in the soil so it's not wobbly, and then still have a decent size entity visible above the soil. I've put all of my Ficus cuttings right into pots, don't own any packages of hormones.
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
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ShadyGreenThumb
Oct 11, 2016 8:09 PM CST
I trim my tall old (outdoor) ficuses every year. The cuttings are so easy to root, it pains me to throw any cuttings away. It's like throwing away trees! I've given so many away. I kept one and it is 8 feet tall after only 3-4 years. It seems that the brown wood takes fastest. I literally stick them into some soil and keep them moist. No special treatment at all.
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Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Oct 11, 2016 10:09 PM CST
Wow, I love this news. I wonder if the ficus at work would look ok with one huge branch missing. Hehe
Name: Kristi
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Houseplants
Image
grafiti4u
Oct 12, 2016 11:15 PM CST
Well, I gave 'Benjamin' a good haircut and he looks really handsome now! I had all kinds of cuttings, so I am giving it a go at rooting a bunch of them, so I am sure to get a couple! I didn't think I could just stick them in dirt, so I am rooting them in water with the rooting hormone stuff (I am such a sucker and trying new things - ran out and bought a little bottle of it yesterday). But I may take half of my cuttings and stick them in dirt too - just to see what works!

Thanks for all the input!
Kristi

ps I wondered if anyone had a problem getting a notification in their email box when someone replies to their posts. I double checked my email in my profile, but I never get any notifications, I have to log into the forum to check if I got any responses. I wondered if I didn't set something up correctly . . .
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 13, 2016 4:39 AM CST
Does it say, "You have a new system message"? If so, someone gave you a thumbs up. Thumbs up
[Last edited by Hamwild - Oct 13, 2016 4:41 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1296944 (12)
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Oct 13, 2016 12:57 PM CST
I think email notifications go to your regular off-site email address. To find new additions to discussions in which you're involved, click the little person at the top right, then "your posts." Any with a red "NEW" have new comments since your last view of the discussion.
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🍀👒☀🍄🍍🌱🌿🌴🎄👣🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻🌽🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌺🌸🌼🌹🌳🌲
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 13, 2016 1:17 PM CST
I get a little box that shows the tree mail's subject (it looks different than a system message). If you see a red bell at the top left, that's a system message, a red email, that's a tree mail. Smiling
Name: Kristi
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Houseplants
Image
grafiti4u
Oct 13, 2016 9:07 PM CST
Thanks! I just got another reply from someone saying I would only get an email from a response to a question I ask, in the 'Ask a Question' forum - not the other forums. That's fine, I enjoy checking out the other posts in here!
Kristi
Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
Image
lauriebasler
Oct 13, 2016 9:17 PM CST
If you mention someone just put an @ sign before their name, like this @grafiti4u
This prompts this system to let the person receive a system message you mentioned them, and where. It's a nice way to ask or encourage or whatever someone without tree mail. Tree mail is also great. Just another option the forum offers here. You find your system messages by clicking on the Bell icon in the top right, between the envelope icon and the person icon. Group hug

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