Variegated Ficus Benjamina from scratch

jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)June 3, 2013

We have a few of these trees in the shopping mall. Every spring, they trim the trees and discard the things trimmed off. I picked three stems and tried to root them in January. Two did not make it but this one survived. How lovely!

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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

That is lovely, did you use rooting hormone? Are you training it as a bush or a tree?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:36PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by teengardener1888 NY Albany 5a (My Page) on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 14:36

I did not use anything. But the temperature was cool and the light was bright. I want to go for shrub and eventually tree =) Based on the advices from here, I will not cut off branches from the bottom to help thicken the trunk. I hope someone could tell me how fast they grow. It is so elegant and lovely! I even see one, in the library, that survives on normal ceiling light!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:16PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on Sun, May 5, 13 at 22:05

I am hoping the frog-loving Al could bestow some knowledge in here.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 1:09PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Ficus are not a super fast grower but the growth rate is affected by conditions. They will grow fairly quickly in indirect bright light and regular watering plus a monthly dose of food for the season. But it will take many years of care to grow a nice tree. You have inspired me to take cuttings from a tree at my school

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 2:06PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by teengardener1888 NY Albany 5a (My Page) on Wed, Jun 5, 13 at 14:06

Thank you so much for your great answers! I hope Al and his frogs are well =)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 3:58PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

One month later, here is how it looks like - they grow pretty fast.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:44PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

If you look at the plant on the right, some sections of some leaves lose green color completely. I wonder what could have caused it ...

This post was edited by jujujojo on Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 12:38

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 2:08PM
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birdsnblooms

Juju...Congrats..
IMO, rooting Ficus cuttings are difficult, so you did something right. :)

TG, is correct about growth rate.
Ficus are semi-slow growers. Most likely, yours has sent out growth because of the season, but unfortunately, will slow down around autumn.

This is only my opinion, but variegated Ficus grow slower than green. Just my opinion; I could be wrong.

Have you fertilized? If not, apply half-strength, once a month.
Although, some will disagree, but I'd start out with a higher nitrogen fertilizer.

You wrote, 'I want to go for a shrub, then a tree.'

If you want your Ficus to grow as a standard/tree w/trunk, start while it's young. In other words, 'after your Ficus is fully-established,' don't allow to grow bushy.
Remove bottom leaves as Ficus heightens. If it grows bushy, getting it to grow as a standard will take a ton of work and effort.
Staking is necessary, too.
Hope I'm reading you right. You do want a tree-like Ficus, right?

Anyway, congrats and good luck,, Toni

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:13PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by hopefulauthor z5IL (hopefulauthor@sbcglobal.net) on Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 12:13

I admire a tree but I am not sure if I can manage it, if it is really a large tree :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:36PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi Jojo. A tree/standard can be pruned to desired height, as well as bushy plants.

When you typed tree, I automatically assumed, Standard. lol. I know, never assume. Toni

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:48PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Im so happy for progress in its health. They are difficult to root, I failed in the cutting I took

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 3:01PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

Hi everyone.

Just a curiosity if I may,..

In the last few years since I've moved up north from the southeastern U.S.,I've noticed that rooting several plants including ficus benjis is strangely much more difficult than I recall it being while down south. Can't help wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

Anyone? :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 8:35PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by asleep_in_the_garden (My Page) on Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 20:35

I think it depends. Exactly which state did you move into?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:42AM
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asleep_in_the_garden

Minnesota.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 1:30PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by asleep_in_the_garden (My Page) on Fri, Jul 12, 13 at 13:30

Yes, I agree then. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, etc, you use sterile perlite and RO water to root.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:44AM
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petrushka

variegated one grows much much slower then plain green.
I was trimming my old plant and cut off a 1/4" thick old branch may be 6" long with a just a few leaves on it about 5 years ago. and rooted it in water (I root all ficus in water). and then been growing it as a dwarf tree. I trim it every year, and keep it in small 6" pot - so it now stands at 19" high.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:12PM
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petrushka

to give you a comparison: 7 years ago I rooted 5 twiggy young 15" long branches from the plain benjamina: I bound them together, so trunks merged and it is now a big tree: 50" high! they both get very good light in sunny window and have similar growing conditions.
it's quite a difference, isn't it?!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:17PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by petrushka z7b (My Page) on Mon, Jul 15, 13 at 18:12

Wow, your plants are gorgeous. Yes, what a difference!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 11:17AM
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birdsnblooms

Howdy,

Asleep. I think Ficus and most other plants grow slower in midwest and northern states because summers are shorter..When our temps are in the 30's, warmer states temps are at least 50F.
Short days certainly don't help...one reason gro-lights help.

IMO, type of Perlite or any other medium has little to do with growth rate. Just my opinion though.

Pet, what a difference!
I've read/heard variegated plants grow slower than green. All varieties.
My variegated Jades grow much slower than green. Just one example.

BTW, your Ficus are really nice.

Was your goal to braid the green Ficus? For a 7-yr old tree, the trunk is huge.

I'm still not clear which fertilizer to use on variegated plants..
Labels read, keeps leaves healthy and 'green.' Does that mean, variegated foliage will resort to green?

It'd be nice if scientist invented a fertilizer for variegated leaves. :) Toni

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 2:23PM
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petrushka

thank you!
I feed these 2 ficuses the same. mostly it's slow release osmocote. occasionaly I give them miracid.
but all of them are on water wicks (like self watering containers) - so they get good steady moisture. that and a very good light: sev hours morning sun and in winter warm western window somewhat filtered.
I don't want to go on a tangent about variegated plants (I have a lot of them). but if it's with red color like caladiums/coleus/begonias I give them low-nitro hi-phosphorus - sort of like flowers or balanced 1-1-1 ratio.
but for standard wht/green variations - I don't use special ferts.
hopeful,
yah, I braided them like a basket weave. I saw smth in a garden shop : trunks braided as a trellis on benjamina. I had big twigs from trimming, so I decided to try. I braided them and then rooted and potted. they merged very quickly. and since then I merge them more on top as it grows - to make a bigger trunk, weaving it that way and this way, wherever it looks good.
my initial braiding is just bottom one two inches on a pic.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:27PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Some updates:

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:07PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

They grow up so fast! :)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:39PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

More updates from my two pots:

The smaller one:

The bigger one:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 6:01PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Ok, here are some updates.

The bigger one was forcibly taken away by a black girl originally from Gabon.

I only have the smaller one with me now. It has grown a lot:

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:29PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Forcibly taken away? Would that be called theft? Kinda confusing.

Nice plans though, lookin' good.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:50PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by pirate_girl Zone7 NYC (My Page) on Mon, May 12, 14 at 16:50

Thank you pirate girl. It was more like robbery ...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:53PM
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summersunlight(5b)

Sorry to hear that your bigger plant was stolen, though I'm glad that you still have a small one. That small one will get there. :)
Aren't you the person who also had a violet taken? What's going on that people keep taking your plants?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:18PM
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