Kathy Crowley on the Diverse Growing Habits of the Ficus Tree

Gardening

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY JUN 4, 2020

What is the difference between Fig and Ficus?  The two words are so often interchanged in horticulture text, even experienced gardeners ask the same. Well, the word “Ficus” is the botanical name of a rather large genus of plants that includes 800 individual species, all with diverse growing habits. The “common fig” is just one of the most familiar ficus plants (Ficus carica), known for its edible flowering fruits of the mulberry family. So what should gardeners know about some of the stark differences in the Ficus species when planting in their home gardens? Kathy Crowley of Crowley Nurseries gets down to the root of it...

SRQ: Is it true that figs are root hogs? A friend of mine with fig trees told me that if I wanted to plant figs, I had to build an underground container to constrain their roots because if they got to roam free, the fig would spend all of its time growing roots and not cultivating fruit. I think they used concrete slabs to limit its root growth. Does this work?  

Kathy: Ficus trees, commonly called weeping fig, can indeed root hogs and will go to your water supply like pool, faucet, foundation, and even uproot your sidewalk. However, this is different from the fig tree that has edible fruit (Ficus carica). A fig's roots are not aggressive enough to injure masonry, building foundations, or pipes. Keeping your tree watered will help to keep it in check not to become invasive. Figs love the water which also brings on fruit. When you do not water, it will cause the root system to grow more aggressively to search for water. Figs have a hard time in our sandy soil, as nematodes will clog the roots and usually kill your tree by clogging the roots. At the Nursery, we use Atomic Grow to keep nematodes out of the root system and we water extra to produce fruit and keep the roots close to the tree.

If you have a particular gardening question you'd like answered and featured in a future column, email SRQDailyGardening@srqme.com

Photo courtesy of Crowley Nursery, 16423 Jomar Road Sarasota, 941-322-0315.

« View The Thursday Jun 4, 2020 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern

Feb 27, 2021

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern

Feb 23, 2021

From Scratch

From Scratch

Feb 18, 2021

Five Home Improvement Trends That Will Inspire Your Remodeling Project

Five Home Improvement Trends That Will Inspire Your Remodeling Project

Feb 9, 2021