Ficus benjamina - The Weeping Fig

Ficus benjamina

When purchased in 1990 this Ficus benjamina was a ten foot tall, potted indoor landscape tree. It was used for years as a rental tree for parties. I aquired the tree because of its lovely base.

Prior to shortening the tree down to 23 inches, I air-layered the top 8 feet of the tree and used the top as a houseplant. During the layering process the base sprouted new branches near the bottom but did not sprout any new foliage at the cut point from which hopefully would sprout the new apex. After 90 days, the air layer was severed. However the bottom still would not sprout foliage at the top of the now decapitated tree. Before too much more time elapsed I brought two young branches up from lower down on the tree and grafted them into the top of the tree (1991). Both grafts took and were on their own in 90-100 days. No one realizes that the top of this tree originated from these two grafts. Click here to view one graft point in more detail. The area above the red bar is the graft. It now is the whole of the tree's apex.

The original reduction cut on the trunk was shaped into a "V" shape to make it look more natural.

Ficus benjamina is one of the most common bonsai figs in the United States but it is somewhat difficult to handle due to its reluctance to bud back on severely cut limbs and trunks. When cutting back, be sure to leave lots of spare room since branches cut back beyond their foliage point may just die and not resprout. Severely cut back trunks will usually sprout back, but new sprouts may be erratic and not at the desired location. Regrowth is naturally much stronger for trees grown in the tropics.

The lowest branch on the right needs to be thickened, and it will not be cut back or trimmed until the branch thickens. At that time the branch will be wired back to its proper postion and trimmed.

The tree is now 37 inches tall and 8.5 inches in diameter.

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