Houseplants forum: Untitled

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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Jan 22, 2018 12:36 PM CST
Hi all:

My lipstick plant below has been such a slow grower, that I have not pruned or pinched it much at all. If I prune it back would I have a better outcome with rooting the cuttings in springtime or does this plant propagate easily year round. I am really not great with this plant so all the advice you have will be wonderful to learn from.
Thumb of 2018-01-22/lauriebasler/6dad0d
My little Ficus benjaminia is a plant I grew from cuttings. It has about 7 plants growing in the pot. I intended to separate the plants to grow the best one for a tree, but it's been so happy, I hated to rock the boat. What would you all do at this time. Leave it, and prune or chose a plant to train into a tree. I would love pruning recommendations if possible. Thanks in advance.


I hope I don't crash the houseplant forum, because I have more questions coming. Sticking tongue out Sticking tongue out Thank You!

Laurie b


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 22, 2018 8:13 PM CST
Your lipstick plant looks fine. It is a tropical plant and it can be pruned and propagated at any time.

I posted a reply to your Ficus elsewhere. I would advise against trying to separate the individual plants. At this point, the roots are completely intertwined. It is certainly possible to divide into separate plants, but it can be quite stressful to the roots, so I don't recommend that as an option.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Jan 22, 2018 10:34 PM CST
I am having some real issues with posts here lately. I imagine its operator error. Oh, bother. he he.
Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Adeniums Plant Identifier
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Carter
Jan 23, 2018 8:53 PM CST
I don't know much regarding lipstick plants, but I love ficus species. Your ficus benjamina looks nice and healthy. I agree with Will that it is best to just let it grow right now. This spring or summer (and I would lean towards summer if your springs rend to be cooler) when it warms up and the plants are growing more you can safely separate the individuals if you would like, even if their roots are really balled up. If the temps are warm, they will recover even if they only have a few roots each.

I use a garden hose sprayer to spray off as much excess soil as I can. Then I use something like a chopstick (anything similar will work) to help tease the roots apart. If needed, I'll alternate back and forth between the sprayer and the chopstick until separated. Then you can pot them back up as you please.

Mind you, I grow mine outdoors the majority of the year and we are pretty warm March through October/November. If you are going to keep yours indoors, once you separate them, you may want to try to provide some sort of bottom heat (like from a plant heat mat) in order to increase the chance of all of them surviving.

Like Will said, it will be stressful on them, but provided warmth they should bounce back easily.

Name: Tofi
Sumatera, Indonesia
Vegetable Grower Butterflies Garden Procrastinator Roses Bookworm Tomato Heads
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tofitropic
Jan 23, 2018 9:39 PM CST
Another option, they can all be grown together tied up. They will fused, creating a standard with less time, with unique trunk.
Or you can braide them, or can even create inter-twine/basket-like weaved-plant.

https://www.houseofplants.co.u...
http://www.bonsaiboy.com/catal...
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Jan 24, 2018 10:19 AM CST
Thank you all. @Carter; it was a wonderful to read your process for separating a group potting. I have some coleus, etc. etc. that were stuck in group pots for the long winter inside, as real estate indoors is so limited. Up here in the PNW; the number of months it's wise to take a houseplant out and blow cold water on it's tender roots, are two-ish. We don't hit average temps in the 60s until July and it peaks in August. It's easy to forget this gentle process. Your comment has made me plan my repotting for July this year. Very helpful. Thank you, as always.
A F. benjamina grown indoors in shrub form long term is something I have never seen. My concern is in a few years it will be a 4 ft by 4 ft bush. I may be braiding or some such thing to fuse trunks although it feels like a frankenstein experiment to me. (Lucky Bamboo extremes) I may have to change my view of this. The way I feel about spray painted aloe is how I felt about braiding, for some reason. So, @Tofitropic; just tying them together may be more appealing for me. I am googling your suggestion. Thank you.
[Last edited by lauriebasler - Jan 24, 2018 10:20 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 24, 2018 2:58 PM CST
Plants grown outdoors for all or most of the year, are stronger and have a greater tolerance for experimentation. Those grown indoors for most of the year are more fragile.

Simply tying the many stems together will not cause them to fuse. Those in the photos were all very carefully braided, starting when they were very young and in a nursery. I don't think that is an option for you, Laurie.

Your Ficus bush can be pruned and thinned at any time. This is one species that really responds well to pruning and allows you to shape it in just about any way that you want. For example, should you find later on that one stem is thick and dominant, you could cut down all of the others and have a single-stemmed Ficus standard. I mention that as an extreme possibility so you don't worry about it taking up too much space.

Be creative, but rely more on pruning than anything else. Pruning is all natural!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 25, 2018 2:35 PM CST
Laurie, just a heads up ... Ficus benjamina can be temperamental about being moved from one location to another, even if it's only a few feet ... at least that's been my experience over the years. One year I had a few very tall trees in containers in my pool enclosure. When I would clean the pool deck and move them a couple of feet to a new location, they'd begin to drop leaves like crazy; I've had trees go completely bare at times but they always sprouted new foliage. So, when you decide to re-pot your pretty Ficus this summer, don't panic if they decide to pout. Green Grin!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 25, 2018 2:42 PM CST
Lin is so right. The leaves of Ficus b. are unusually light sensitive. They drop off when the light intensity is changed. However, they soon grow back new leaves that will be adapted to the light available when they first emerge. Thus, every time the light changes they do it all over again. I always recommend finding a good, sunny location for a Ficus and leave it there.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Jan 27, 2018 1:40 AM CST
You know that is exactly why I love this little plant. I have moved it all over this house. I do know I shouldn't. But it keeps outgrowing it's area. I moved it outside for the summer expecting an absolute hissy fit when it came back in. It rewarded me with a growth spurt. I have not seen this plant drop a leaf yet. Maybe because it only knows my care, it doesn't know any better. Rolling on the floor laughing
I paid a lot for a big one many years ago. It was a diva and I never moved it knowing they hate change. This plant would freak out when the season changed. It just had a fit 3 or 4 times a year. In hindsight It could have been in a bit brighter light. I changed a lot of vacuum cleaner bags before it's inconvenience outweighed it's beauty and gave it away.
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Jan 27, 2018 2:13 AM CST
As your Ficus is doing so well I would leave it alone. They are very common plants so you could easily pick up a new one to grow into a tree, maybe try a variegated one?
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge 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
Jan 27, 2018 7:47 AM CST
Oh how I wish I could find a Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina 'Variegata') again. In 1990, I purchased a small plant from a friends little nursery when I fell in love with that variegated foliage. It did wonderfully well and as it grew larger, I kept it on my pool deck where it ended up staying year round. I pruned the tree every spring, keeping it to about 5 feet in height. It was hit by a short cold snap one winter but survived and thrived.Then, a few years ago, we moved and things got busy and the plant was neglected and began to suffer and finally died. I should have planted it in the ground. The green variety are abundant at times in nurseries; they are used as landscape trees in the southern part of Florida and trimmed as hedges. I don't see the variegated type at all anymore which is a shame.
Thumb of 2018-01-27/plantladylin/04f991

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Jan 30, 2018 1:56 AM CST
I have seen them a time or two lately up here, Lin. I agree they are beautiful.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Jan 30, 2018 1:59 AM CST
Thank you Sue, @kniphofia. I am following the advice here, and just letting my little plant do it's own thing with some minor pruning here and there.
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
Container Gardener Dog Lover Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tomato Heads Hostas
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Frenchy21
Jan 30, 2018 5:13 PM CST
Is this a Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina 'Variegata')? I have had it since last year?(2016) and its in the house now for the winter - did not shed leaves. Shrug!
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Can I root cuttings of it?

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 30, 2018 5:56 PM CST
Yes, you have the correct name for your plant. Ficus stem cuttings don't root as easily as some other plants. Use tip cuttings with no more than 4 - 6 leaves. Insert them in a small pot with a damp, porous potting mix that you enclose in a sealed clear plastic baggy. The baggy will maintain the moisture in the potting mix and in the air around the foliage. Protect enclosed cuttings from direct sun so they don't heat up and cook. Be patient.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge 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
Jan 30, 2018 6:41 PM CST
Yes indeed, you have a lovely Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina 'Variegata')
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
Container Gardener Dog Lover Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tomato Heads Hostas
Tropicals Annuals Foliage Fan Aroids Cactus and Succulents Sempervivums
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Frenchy21
Jan 31, 2018 12:22 AM CST
@WillC thank you for the info on rooting tip cuttings and verification of ID. I'll try to be patient Sticking tongue out Smiling

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