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Ficus Benjamina

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
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by Raenkatz on May 06, 2004 12:40 AM
I'd like to know if there is a secret to getting a skinny pathetic looking ficus to grow a bigger (thicker/sturdier) trunk?

If I prune it back, will it put its efforts into new leaves or trunk, either, both neither? hahaha

I inherited a scraggly ficus tree that is about 7' tall but very spindly and only has two thin base branches with a very thin, short stubby initial trunk before the first "Y".

Thoughts?
by Will Creed on May 06, 2004 04:02 AM
The thickness of the trunks and branches depends almost entirely on the amount of light available at the time that the stems and trunks are growing. Once established, they don't grow much thicker. Very thick tree-like trunks and branches are grown outside year round in direct Florida sun.

You cannot thicken-up the existing trunks and branches, but you can control the thickness of future growth. I suggest that you prune back your skinny tree as far as you can stand, then move your tree to direct sunlight.
by Raenkatz on May 10, 2004 06:33 PM
Thanx, Will!!

I know I replied to this on Friday but my computer must have eaten the post.

Thank you for all the great feedback you give here, Will.

I do have a question about pruning my Ficus...If I lop off the top branches, will that stunt the upward growth? The plant, like it said, is now about 7 feet tall and the height is perfect for my 9' ceilings in the room in which the Ficus is living. I'd like to keep the height but it definitely needs to be pruned back to get bushier. The top branches are very leggy and scraggly, so that would be a good place to start, but if I prune the top branches, I'm afraid I would drop its height to about 5.5 - 6' and I would like it to be taller.

Thanx!! [Smile]
by Will Creed on May 11, 2004 04:01 AM
The top growth may be getting scraggly because it does not get as much light as it approaches the ceiling.

If you want more growth down below, then you have to cut back at least some of the taller stems.

If you can e-mail me a photo that shows the whole tree, then I can provide a more specific response.

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