Ficus problems: the expert responds on Ficus diseases

Ficus problems: the expert responds on Ficus diseases




Hi, I'm Franca again, I still need your advice. In practice I have several plants of ficus beniamino all bushy but I want to be able to prune at least one in the shape of a sapling, my question is if I can do it without making the plant suffer how and when? The plant chosen is 1.50 high, has three fairly large trunks and lives in Mestre, in winter at home and spring outside.

The other question is that I have for 8 years now a fairly large plant of ficus beniamino variegated in yellow, it is beautiful and is fine, it is 2 meters high, I often turn it around because it is filled with beautiful leaves and is colored only on the glass side , the antistetic problem lies only in the fact that everything in itself except the top is pretty full, only the top has three strands of stems with a few leaflets. How can I stimulate the growth of leaves on top?

Thank you so much. Franca


Hi Franca,

a Ficus benjamina to sapling! Well yes, in theory you can do it, it's unnatural but you can do it. A ficus benjamina if he is well he can endure this kind of extremely drastic pruning even if it is not the best for him. However, keep in mind one thing: this type of pruning will require you to intervene periodically to eliminate the side branches that will grow because the Ficus it will always tend to assume its original form. In any case, it is not something you can have in the course of a growing season as, at the beginning you should remove two trunks and leave only one and then do a light pruning of the lower branches. Then over time, through other pruning and topping you will eventually have the desired shape.

In any case, I am very undecided whether to advise you to do it or not as this type of pruning involves the removal of the two trunks for the benefit of only one that will have to remain. Now, normally this is done in winter and now we are already too far in the season so I would not recommend it. The Ficushe could react well or not, it's all very subjective, you can take a risk considering that the weather, despite being March, is still very unstable and spring is just not visible.

Keep in mind that such a drastic pruning will cause the Ficus to a very vigorous growth of further branches because it will have a disproportionate root system compared to the crown and this will result in the growth of robust branches. I don't recommend cutting the roots too, too risky.

Because instead of doing an operation of this kind you do not do something much more natural and you will have a Ficus "different" that approaches the sapling but without creating excessive trauma to the plant? You can bring the three trunks closer together, even twisting them like a braid (you should be able to do this because they are generally quite flexible), putting the respective barks in contact by barking them at the point of contact and then tying them firmly together with an elastic lace specialized shops)? Within a year or so the logs will weld together and look very nice. A single stem made up of three trunks. You can remove the low branches without too much damage to the plant and thus concentrate the vegetation in the top.

Now to get the top of yours Ficus thicker you can do two things or the so-called "topping" (ie the elimination of the apical shoots of the branches) or a "ramming" (ie a drastic reduction of the branches; in practice it is a much deeper topping because you cut much more branch). Both operations will oblige the Ficus to thicken the foliage, and have it more bushy and compact because at the height of each node of the branches there are so-called "dormant" buds whose growth is inhibited by particular substances that are emitted by the apical bud. If we cut the apical bud these substances are no longer emitted and therefore the dormant buds wake up and start producing. If in turn these new lateral jets are topped, always very early they can in turn "wake up" other lateral buds with the same mechanism. All these operations must be done promptly at the vegetative restart. If you do it late, the sprouts do not develop and all the nutritional and hormonal factors you triggered with the cut are displaced to other parts of the plant.

It could also be that depending on how the crown is shaped you must also do a "tilt or a bend or a curvature" that is to say a forcing of the branches that you will have to tie for a certain period of time so that their growth is " forced "in the direction you want.

Whatever you decide, a general rule applies to everything: everything you use to cut the plant, be it knife, shears or scissors must be very sharp, well cleaned and disinfected (even your hands if you do not use gloves). The cuts must be clean without fraying, oblique and made just above a gem or a knot. On the cuts I always recommend putting healing products that you find from nurserymen to seal the wounds.

Do not throw away the plant residues because from them you can give birth to new plants that at the limit, if you do not have space in the house, you can make a welcome gift to friends and relatives or at the limit, you get the idea, you can try with a new plant to immediately give it the sapling shape you want. Follow the directions in cultivation card of Ficus.

As for the second question, I do not understand what you are asking me, rewrite me and explain the problem better and if you have any doubts about what has been said, you know where to find me.

Dr. Maria Giovanna Davoli

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