Need help with ficus benjamina

Asked November 4, 2016, 6:22 PM EDT

We have a ficus that is about 28 or so years old. I never knew to braid the stem or trim it. Anyway, when we brought it in this year to overwinter, we saw that it has gotten higher than the catwalk that is part of the upper floor. It's huge! I'm afraid that in a couple of years we won't get it to fit through the door anymore, or it will become too heavy to move. Now what? Help!

Licking County Ohio

1 Response

Hello! What a very happy tree! You clearly are doing well with it, as these can be quite finicky about changes in location or light level, with the usual response being massive leaf loss. Ficus benjamina take well to pruning, so you can reduce the height and clean up crossing and weaker branches. Just be sure to cover the area around the plant with a plastic sheet because it will "bleed" white sap at each cut for a few days. You can also quite easily take cuttings and simply start a new tree. Clip a 6" piece of the end of a branch and plant it in moistened growing mix. You can do a few just to be sure at least one takes, but in my experience they root very easily. Cover the pot with a plastic bag for a couple of weeks. If you can keep the bottom warm that can help too.