How to Propagate Ficus Trees


Ficus trees (Ficus benjamina) also are known as weeping fig trees. The ficus is one of the most common trees, grown indoors. The trees grow 6 to 18 feet tall and 2 to 10 feet wide. The oval, leathery leaves are a glossy, dark-green. Ficus trees enjoy bright light and high humidity. Moving a ficus tree around and changing its environment causes leaf drop, but the tree recovers once it adapts to its new conditions. The best way to propagate ficus trees is through leaf cuttings in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant pot
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Sand
  • Knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Sticks
  • Clear plastic
  • Spray bottle
  • Wash a four- to six-inch plant pot with soapy water. Rinse with a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water. This eliminates insect pests and plant diseases.

  • Mix together equal parts peat moss, perlite vermiculite and sand. This creates a rooting medium with good air circulation, drainage and moisture-holding properties.

  • Fill the plant pot with the mixture, and sprinkle with water, until the water runs out the bottom. Let the rooting mixture settle for an hour. Top the plant pot off with more mix, and water again.

  • Cut a two- to four-inch tip off a ficus branch, using a sharp, clean knife. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting, to create a bare stem. Dip the cut end in powdered rooting hormone, then slide it into the rooting mix.

  • Place four sticks into the corners of the plant pot and lay a sheet of clear plastic over the top of the sticks. This creates a small greenhouse, which increases the humidity around the cutting.

  • Place the cutting in an area with filtered sunlight, for good root growth. Direct sunlight stresses rootless cuttings and causes leaf burn. Spray the cutting daily with water, until new growth begins.

Tips & Warnings

  • According to Texas A&M University's Agricultural Extension Service, the ideal temperature for a ficus tree cutting to grow roots is 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cutting in a warm area, without cooling drafts.
  • Ficus tree cuttings may be started in water, but the root growth is weak, fibrous and stringy. Cuttings started this way have a difficult time acclimating to soil.
  • Do not let the plastic touch the leaves, and do not seal the plastic, as the cutting needs good air flow to prevent plant disease.

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  • Photo Credit ficus image by c-chez-marc from
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