The Difference Between Ficus Benjamina And Ficus Nitida - Knowledgebase Question

Sherman Oaks, CA
Question by srbruin
November 9, 2001
Which is the better screening tree to put near a wall, Ficus Benjamina or Ficus Nitida?


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Answer from NGA
November 9, 2001

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Ficus Benjamina, 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.

Ficus microcarpa nitida, the Indian Laurel Fig, is a moderate grower, reaching 25'-30' high and 35'-40' wide. It produces a dense canopy and will produce aerial roots in wet areas. It, too, has a weeping form. 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, Callistemon 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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