Have you heard the suggestion to “repot your ficus on the hottest day of the year”? Well, it was cooler today than the last few (only the low 90s F), but it was so brutally hot AND HUMID the last few days, I was not about to work in the garden.
This is the subject of my work today: an exposed-root Ficus benjamina I have had for over 20 years. Step one is selecting a better pot. The brown rectangle in the image above fits the root base nicely, but the color does nothing for this evergreen tropical.
The blue isn’t much better, and the shape is very similar to the original.
The teal is even better and the soft round corners suit the tree I think. But check this next one out!
Me likey! The size is good, it’s got curves, and the color, though muted, compliments the bark. The significant difference, however, is the depth. The shallower pot really lets the boldness of the exposed roots shine. This is the one!
I did the repotting first, and adjusted the front slightly. Next is a full defoliation. This will force the tree to push a new flush of leaves that will be smaller than the ones I just removed. With ficus, I sometimes cut the leaf leaving a bit of surface area so photosynthesis can continue while the new leaves develop, but this time I only left the petioles (leaf stems).
With the leaves removed, I have a clear look at the branches that need to be shortened, and others that could use some wire.
With some care, and a little luck, I hope this will be in good shape, with a full canopy for the fall show.