Asked July 25, 2020, 10:11 AM EDT

My Ficus Tree is 20 years old and about a year ago it decided to grow VINES instead of branches! Well, actually, it has a few new branches coming also. What do you make of this phenomenon?
Normally, it grew like a full, lush bush, moreso than a tall tree.
Monica J Stich Deltener
Fargo, ND

Cass County North Dakota

1 Response

Thanks for your interesting question. The growth that appears to be vining is actually the natural growth pattern of the branches of Ficus benjamina as they age. The most common nickname of your Ficus benjamina is Weeping Fig. The common name arises from the tendency of the branches to develop an arching, umbrella-like growth form as the plant ages, with the ends of the branches hanging downward.
In its native habitat, weeping fig develops into a tree that can reach over 90 feet in height, with arching branches. Because these branches arch upward and then downward, it gives the impression of being a "weeping" tree, and so the name weeping fig. So although the branches have that growth form, it isn't a true vine.
Often younger ficus don't reach a stage where they begin to show this pattern. Because of the age of yours, it is apparently anxious to show its natural growth form. Indoors, younger weeping figs appear more commonly as small, shrubby trees with branches that are more upright and less "weepy." Thanks for sharing comments about your interesting plant.