ficus trees

lauriebee(7 MD)August 10, 2005

I recently noticed that the gorgeous trees at the Kapolei Regional Park (Oahu) look like ficus. I started shopping for ficus but then realized I didnÂt know what the heck I was getting into. If I have room for the canopy will the roots do harm? Does anyone know about the varieties or where to read up on them. (The web only seems to give me hits on indoor trees and fruiting figs) How fast will they grow? Where is a good place to pick up a couple in the 6Â size range?


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Most of the tree size ficus in Hawaii are extremely large trees and yes their roots can cause a lot of problems. You would need at least a 1/2 acre lot to really safely consider using some of them. You would need to plant it away from foundations , utility lines, water, irrigation and sewer lines. If you have a view it will take it out in 3 years. You will also need to have money for an arborist to visit regularly in your budget. They also shed leaves year round.

The most common large ficus here like that are Ficus benjamina, F. benghalensis and F. elastica. A much smaller tree with very attractive fiddle shaped leaves is Ficus lyrata. Ficus is a large family but availabilty in Hawaii may be an issue.

A good book, kinda old though and may not be in print anymore is "In Gardens of Hawaii" by Marie C. Neal.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 10:11PM
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johndp8888(Oahu, Hawaii)

Every word from Ilima is correct and the Ficus trees can be a major problem. However, there are several smaller varieties and all go really well in pots. I have over a hundred Ficus plants on my small lot and use them as a hedge but all in pots. Where on Oahu (what district and elevation) do you wish to use the Ficus and for what purpose do you want them? With that info I can probably direct you to suitabel plants.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 5:01PM
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lauriebee(7 MD)

I am in Makakilo at about 1000ft. My goal is to have a fast growing & pretty shade tree. Each option I explore seems to have root problems - I have been advised against rainbow showers, orchid trees and a few others I have admired in parks and parking lots. I have about 18ft between the rear of my house and the retaining wall that drops off 12ft behind us.
I was on Hickam the other day and noticed that the huge trees on the way in were ficus and they had quite a case of surface roots. I think I am cured of my ficus quest - I am sticking one in a pot.
Have any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 2:24AM
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Dwarf Poinciana (Ceasalpinia pulcherrima)


    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 1:37PM
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johndp8888(Oahu, Hawaii)

The above tree may be a little small for a shade tree, if the internet data on it is correct.

You could consider Stemmedinia with white flowers and about 25 feet tall. You can see one in the St Francis hospital atrium or Home Depot next to Costco in Honolulu has 8 feet tall trees in pots for $125. Or I could give you a seedling.

If you want to go native, either a Milo or a varigated Hau tree would be good.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 12:09PM
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LaurieBee, your best bets would be Ficus Dammaropsis from New Guinea, fast grower to about 20 ft., fantastic, huge, wonderful leaves, no agressive roots, no aerial roots. The same is true for Ficus Auriculata, and Ficus Lyrata , although none is so spectacular and beautiful as F. Dammaropsis, and the latter is not as fast of a grower. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 8:09PM
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Aloha This is Hawaiianbob; About 15 years ago My wife and I Planted 2 Ficus trees, about 5 feet High at that time. We had to dig the holes by hand. The dirt was hard but we di it any way. The started to grow. Tey are VERY Beautiful Trees. Always Green. After a While you Need NOT water them , they find there own water source. After about 10 years later ther were at least fiften feet tall. They looked realy Nice, Except that the Roots Started to come through the top of my grass. They were poping out of the Ground and crawing a couple of inches above the top of My Grass. This made it HARD to Cut the Grass with My Jd Lawn tractor. These are VERY Vicious Roots. They may travel 30 feet or More if left alone, But the Tree is Beautiful. I have a 1.25 Acre Lot. Do NOT Plant them Close to your House, if you want to plant them in the Ground Get a 50 Gallon Drum and sink the tree into the whole with dirt so that the roots will start growing DOWN not level like ours did. I finally had to have them Cur down, then I piosioned the Roots with Pure roundup in several different areas by drilling holes and pouring in the chemical. After Six monthes we dug up the roots, they were all dead, what a job. I still have to cut about a foot of the Stump out with My chainsaw. What a Lesson to learn. If you keeo them in A Big Pot NO PROBLEM. I STILL HAVE 3 MORE ABOUT 5 FEET HIGH, BUT THEY WILL STAY THAT WAY FOREVER. HOPE THIS HELPS YOU. MY EMAIL IS; if you have more Quiestions. Aloha!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 1:28PM
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