Ask a Question forum: Ficus Benjamina

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-- Phoenix. AZ
RPGlees
Sep 20, 2017 7:06 PM CST
Hello, any help appreciated?
My Ficus plant is on my Phoenix Arizona patio which is brutally hot? However, there is plenty of shade and it gets all the water it needs?
The plan seems to be very healthy very dark green leaves except the top 18 inches of the tree never grows any leaves? I have a friend that lives here in Phoenix as well and his plant is exactly the same?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 20, 2017 7:14 PM CST
Hello RPGlees, I grow a different kind of Ficus, Ficus microcarpa 'Ginseng'. What I have observed, I have to freely water the plant top to bottom early in the day, it dries out fast anyways, and then I am getting finally better leaf growth since our temps has cooled down considerably from the soaring triple digits it is now at the 70F to 80F range. Been very windy here too, so it further adds to the cooling down transition.

I also grow my Ficus outdoors in part shade area since it will just get too toasted by direct sun in our searing summer heat.
-- Phoenix. AZ
RPGlees
Sep 20, 2017 8:21 PM CST
Thank you friend--I will try that.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Sep 20, 2017 8:28 PM CST
Welcome!

The top 18 inches must have had leaves at some point or it wouldn't have grown branches. Was this before you had it? Have you checked to see if the bare branches are even alive? Have you tried cutting the bare branches off?

A photo would help us visualize the problem better.
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-- Phoenix. AZ
RPGlees
Sep 20, 2017 8:38 PM CST
Hello Daisyl-
thank you for your response. I have attached a photo.


Thumb of 2017-09-21/RPGlees/0a154a

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Sep 20, 2017 8:43 PM CST
Do the scratch test: scratch a bare branch with your finger nail. If the layer under the "bark" is green, the branch is alive. If its brown or hard as a rock, the branch is dead. Keep scratching until you have worked your way through all the bare branches. If you are unsure of my description, scratch a branch with leaves.

Let us know what you learned.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Sep 21, 2017 2:44 PM CST
It is hard to tell if there are multiple stems growing from the pot. A better photo that reveals how the stems are intertwined and growing out of the soil would be helpful.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
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-- Phoenix. AZ
RPGlees
Sep 21, 2017 5:59 PM CST
Hello All, thank you for responding to my little tree problem! I did the scratch test that Daisy suggested? Turns out, that the main branch was indeed dead at the top. I cut him off as well as all the other dead little branches. I hope he will be a happy little tree!

Thanks again for your help!
Ralph
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Sep 21, 2017 6:19 PM CST
Ficus benjamina can be pruned to attain a desired height and shape. I've seen them grown as hedges here in Florida and in California. This is a photo I took in 2015 while vacationing in the San Diego area; Ficus benjamina pruned to a hedge form:

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