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Outdoor Ficus Tree – Even though Ficus benjamina is widely cultivated indoors, it can reach heights of up to 60 feet when cultivated outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b to 11. It is also known as weeping fig and Benjamin fig.
Although it may be planted straight into the ground, ficus trees’ extensive roots can create difficulties with sidewalks, drives and underground gas lines due to its extensive root system. It is much easier to maintain control over Ficus when it is grown in a pot. Depending on its shape, it can be used as a hedge, topiary, or focal point.
Ensure that your ficus is planted in a location that is protected from strong winds and receives some sunlight. It should be planted in a pot with drainage holes in the bottom and a layer of rocks on top. Make a mixture of one part sand and three parts all-purpose potting soil for your plants.
When your tree has grown to a size that you are satisfied with, there is no need to re-pot it into a larger container. You can take it out of the pot, re-pot it with fresh soil, and leave it in the same pot. It will not grow in size as a result, and it can be left in this state indefinitely without suffering any negative consequences to its health or appearance. If the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, bring the ficus indoors for the night.
During the growing season, feed your ficus a balanced all-purpose liquid fertilizer such as 8-8-8 at half strength to ensure a healthy plant. Because this plant grows at a rapid rate in its natural environment, it does not require a great deal of additional nutrients that are not already present in the soil. Feed it once a month until the end of the growing season in the fall.
You should prune it using pruning shears just to stimulate new growth while also keeping your ficus at a certain size so that it does not overrun the space that it is in, which is particularly important when it is used as a hedge. It is not advised to remove more than 25% of the leaves at a time.Wearing gardening gloves can help to keep your hands safe from the sticky sap that will inevitably ooze out.
Until the water drains out of the bottom of the container, keep watering your ficus plant. Wait until the soil has dried completely before adding any more. Scrape away the top layer of soil to see whether there is any moisture behind; if there is, it is time to give it additional water. The presence of yellowing and dropping leaves indicates that the plant is not receiving enough water; thus, increase the frequency with which it is watered to compensate.
Aphids and scale attack ficus trees, which are difficult to detect since they blend in with the bark and don’t move much, making them difficult to see. The first indicator of scale is a sticky material on or even beneath your plant, which indicates that it is there. Neem oil may be used to destroy the juvenile scale.
In order to eliminate the adults from the environment, soak a cotton swab in alcohol and massage it on them, then remove them by hand. When you examine the bark and stems of the plant very carefully, you will see that they have little, uneven bumps on them that you can identify.
Effective Method for Planting Outdoor Ficus Tree
Ficus trees (Ficus spp.) are not cold-resistant, and as a consequence, they are more usually cultivated inside than they are outdoors. Depending on the species, you may grow these trees outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 or 10 through 11 of the United States Department of Agriculture. When grown outside, these trees may grow to enormous proportions, reaching heights of 50 to 60 feet and a spread of 100 feet.
Choose the most appropriate location
Your ficus tree will need to be placed in an area where it will not be exposed to direct sunlight throughout the year. A sun-dappled yard with tall trees around it will provide the ideal environment for a young ficus to flourish. Ficus thrives in warm temperatures with high humidity levels.
Providing both of these characteristics in coastal places, where temperatures tend to be moderate, and inland areas, where the air is dry and temperatures are more severe, may be challenging to achieve in certain circumstances. The most critical factor for ficus is a well-drained soil environment. Low-lying regions that are often wet and flooded are not suitable for the development of ficus.
Give the Ficus some breathing room
Whatever place you pick for your ficus, you’ll want to make sure it has enough space to spread out and develop properly. Ficus roots may be seen around the base of the trunk, causing sidewalks and other buildings nearby to become uninhabitable. These trees also have a spreading nature, and they sometimes grow to be wider than they are tall, which makes them difficult to prune.
Make sure there is enough space for the tree to grow to its maximum height and width without crowding out smaller plants and trees. You’ll need to give your tree a minimum of 30 feet of space on all sides before planting it.
Remediate the soil
Ficus trees need wet, well-draining soil in order to thrive. Organic matter, such as compost, may help to enhance soil drainage in the location where you want to plant the ficus tree. You can do this by supplementing the native soil with organic matter such as compost. As an additional measure, 1 cup of superphosphate given to each square yard of modified soil will assist in the development of root systems.
These soil amendments will assist your tree in getting off to a healthy start, but as the tree develops, its roots will expand into sections of the soil that have not yet been supplemented with organic matter. If your natural soil is often flooded, the tree will ultimately perish as a result. Planting the tree on soil that has some natural drainage can help to prevent this issue from occurring. Soil that is naturally moist is not ideal for ficus tree growth.
The optimum time to transplant your ficus tree is in the late spring, when new growth has begun to appear on the tree’s branches. The hole for the root ball should be no deeper than the root ball itself, unless otherwise specified. While the tree is in the ground, the roots should not be allowed to sink any deeper than they were when the tree was growing in the pot.
The adjusted dirt must be compacted into the hole surrounding the root ball before it can be planted. After that, give the tree a thorough watering. While it is establishing itself, irrigate the ficus twice a week to ensure that the soil is wet.
Ficus sp. container
For gardeners who wish to have an outdoor ficus tree for most of the year but live in a cold area, try planting your tree in a container that can be kept outdoors throughout the spring and summer and moved inside in the late autumn. The container should be lightweight to allow for simple movement, and you should use growth media that has been specifically designed for containers to guarantee good drainage.