Propagating A Ficus Tree: How To Propagate Weeping Fig

(Image credit: Tatiana Foxy)

Ficus is a popular house plant for its dramatic size and elegant look. Most of the ficus sold as house plants are Ficus benjamina, or weeping fig. If you grow a weeping fig, you may want to share with friends or just keep its growth under control with propagation. Ficus benjamina propagation can be done two ways: cuttings or air layering. 

About Ficus Tree Propagation

The main reason people propagate house plants is to create new plants. You can share them with friends or add another plant to your home. Another reason is to control growth. 

Weeping ficus is a large tree. In the wild it grows up to 50 feet (15 m.) tall. Indoors in a container it won’t grow so big, but you still may want to control its height and shape through propagation. 

How to Propagate Ficus by Air Layering

The most effective and quickest method for ficus propagation is air layering. The process encourages the growth of new roots on a branch while it’s still attached to the tree. Air layering occurs naturally in some situations. To propagate a ficus by air layering, follow these steps: 

  1. Choose a branch you want to cut back. 
  2. Use a sharp knife to make a slanted incision about one-third or one-half of the way into the branch. Make this cut about 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm.) from the tip. 
  3. Remove leaves from the area around the incision. 
  4. You can dust the cut with rooting hormone to speed the process, but this isn’t necessary. 
  5. Pack the cut with moist sphagnum moss and wrap more moss around the cut section of the branch to produce a ball. 
  6. Wrap the moss with plastic and secure with tape or twist ties so that it doesn’t lose moisture. 

You will begin to see roots forming in the moss. How long it takes varies but could be a few weeks to months. When you have a good root system, cut off the branch just below and replant in a new container. The cut branch on the original plant will grow new leaves. 

Ficus Cutting Propagation 

You can also propagate a ficus from cuttings, but this takes longer and is not the most desirable option. For ficus, take tip cuttings rather than sections. Remove leaves from the bottom of the cutting and use a moist medium to grow roots. Rooting hormone will help speed the process. 

For the best results, provide the cutting with humidity and warm temperatures. You may need to use a heating pad underneath to get good root growth.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.