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Water Rooting a Ficus Benjamina

Posted by lonegreywolf20 9 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 9, 13 at 10:45

I have had a healthy indoor Ficus Benjamina now for several years and I wanted to grow another one, this time a single trunk tree, rather than the four trunk tree that I have now.

So I took a six inch cutting that had five to six leaves and not very barky looking. Put water in a cup and have been changing the water every 3-4 days. I have it in a south south-west window getting plenty of non-direct sunlight. Now that I am seeing it in a picture, it seems that it has gotten greener and much less bark covered than when I first put it in the water.

I have noticed that there are little white things forming on the stem of the cutting and I'm not exactly sure what they are, plus some slimy ball at the bottom of the cutting.

Are these normal?

I wanted to do water rooting because from what I have read Ficus take to it pretty well and they do well when transferring to soil. I also simply liked the water rooting method over the soil method for it's cost effectiveness overall.

The fist picture is it's parent tree:

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This second picture is what I am asking about:

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Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Water Rooting a Ficus Benjamina

Looks like you are on the right track. I've rooted ficus benjamina in water and it worked fine. The white tufts on the sides of your cutting are root initials - they turn into roots. The slimy looking stuff may be dripping sap with some mold. I would rinse it but not worry about it too much. You can probably plant it in some potting soil now or whenever you feel ready. Keep moist but not soggy. Not in bright sun until it's clearly growing.

RE: Water Rooting a Ficus Benjamina

What great timing! I was having the same question about my water-started ficus as well! I had read this guy's blog (

So I took a cutting from my ficus alii... maybe two weeks ago? three weeks? four? (I wish I had written it down!). I followed his directions to cut it where it was not yet woody, but not completely green either. I removed one leaf and left two, and following instructions from another website, I cut through the leaf node to encourage rooting (I don't think this did anything, because no roots are coming from the cut area, just the other intact side). The cutting is inside a jar with filtered water that I change now and then, and that jar is inside a container I filled with water in hopes to "insulate" the cutting jar and also perhaps add some humidity as the water slowly evaporates? The cutting is next to my other plants and the mother tree, and gets some direct light (oops!) and mostly indirect SE window winter light.

It's winter here in Minnesota, and the mother tree (actually 4 trees braided together) faces a SE window... in other words, not a ton of light but not bad either. It's not putting out a ton of new leaves like it does in summertime outside, but it looks like she is doing well. I made a cutting from the end of a middle branch that was getting too long.

I have since read a lot of posts on here that say putting cuttings in water is a bad idea, since they grow water roots, not soil roots, and will just have to grow new roots once they get put in soil--oops! So I'm hoping my cutting will make the transition. Eukofios, what are root initials? Can those turn into soil roots? I'll include a picture of the cutting so you can see the size (1-2mm?).

I've never intentionally grown anything from a cutting before, only tomatoes and mint and basil cuttings that I threw in water since I didn't want to watch them wither and die. Today I am going out to buy some perlite perhaps, and maybe some other things to make a rooting medium--exciting!

Thanks to everyone on this forum for sharing all their experience and knowledge of ficus and other plants--invaluable to a beginner like me!

OK, I can't figure out how to move images in the post, or attach more than one image to the post, so below is a picture of the cutting "roots."

This post was edited by wndy on Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 17:00

RE: Water Rooting a Ficus Benjamina

  • Posted by wndy z4b (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 16:30

Hrm, I had my zone set in my profile but I guess it doesn't autofill on the forums.

Anyhow, this next picture is of the cutting in its container:

RE: Water Rooting a Ficus Benjamina

  • Posted by wndy z4b (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 16:34

and this last picture is the location of the cutting (it looks brighter in the picture than it usually does...)

OK, thanks all! I hope to transplant this guy soon to a rooting medium... hope it's not too late! Any tips appreciated... I'll also have to start searching for the root pruning/repotting of ficus threads .... have never done that, and the mother tree is a mess (been leaning at an almost-tippy angle since I got it on clearance 2.5 years ago!!)

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