Huge Ficus Bennie

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Huge Ficus Bennie

Postby kjholt » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:40 pm

We have had this ficus (fig) tree for over 10 years and it's very healthy. We move it outside during the warm months and into the house in the winter. It makes the move OK, dropping some leaves of course. The tree is pruned each year to keep its' shape but it still stands about 6-7 feet tall. We have it planted in a 18" clay pot. Some suckers are appearing now and we are thinking about re-potting. I am afraid to get a larger pot as the tree is very heavy and moving it is very tough.
My questions; we live in Williamsburg, VA, can it remain outdoors in the winter in a screen porch?. Can I plant it in the ground in a sheltered place? Should I remove the fig from the pot and re-pot in the same size pot after cutting the ball back? Other ideas?
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Re: Huge Ficus Bennie

Postby lorijones » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:40 pm

This plant will not survive outside on your screen porch or planted outside even in a sheltered location.
It would be a good idea to repot the tree. You should probably go up a size to maybe a 22" - 24" pot. If you are concerned about the weight, you might consider switching to a heavy (thick) molded plastic pot. These are tough but lighter weight than a clay pot.
Before repotting, prune the top fairly hard (to about 4'-5'). This will reduce the top foliage to match the loss of root mass from the repotting process. It might be a challenge to get the tree out of the pot because the roots keep expanding over the years and really anchor it in. It is possible that you might have to break the pot to get it out! Once you have gotten it out, cut off the bottom 4" of the root ball with a saw and then slice about 1" off the sides all the way around. You may have to use a saw to do this as well. Then place the tree in the new pot with some fresh potting mix. It will probably take about a year for it to recover. There is always a small chance of losing a plant due to the stress of repotting but generally they do well once they recover. It would be helpful to fertilize the plant after repotting.
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Re: Huge Ficus Bennie

Postby kjholt » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:48 pm

Thank you so much for the detailed information. We shall give it a go!
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