It's fairly common to see a weeping fig tree braided, especially when they are baby plants. You may be wondering what the best method is for braiding this plant, especially given that some trees can have rather thick trunks. Well, you've come to the right place. We've looked into the best method to do it, and in this post, we will discuss it.
Here are the steps to braid a weeping fig tree:
- Find the right stems
- Cut off side branches
- Create the first braids
- Tie the stems
- Wait and prune the tree
Braiding your weeping fig tree is a fairly simple process, but it's essential to ensure that you begin the process correctly. If not, you may find that your fig tree may begin to lean to the side or develop branch issues. Continue reading to learn more about the proper way to do it.
Why Braid the Weeping Fig Tree?
Many indoor plant growers choose to braid this fig tree for aesthetics. Not only does the braided version of the tree make the plant appear more interesting, but it can also add an elegant effect, helping it stand out from other plants in your home. Lastly, the weeping fig tree branches are fairly slim and braiding it will give the tree a fuller appearance.
Steps To Braid A Weeping Fig Tree
It's best to braid your fig tree while it is still a baby plant. As the plant ages, the branches and trunk will grow thicker and spread farther apart, making the tree less pliable and more likely to become damaged when you attempt to braid it.
Things you'll need:
- Weeping fig tree
- Plant stakes
- Garden tape
- Pruning shears
1. Find the right stems
Start by inspecting the stems of the fig tree and then pick three healthy ones that are thick enough to be braided. You'll want to find stems that are thin enough to be flexible and healthy enough to survive the stress of braiding.
2. Cut off side branches
After you find the stems that you're going to braid, use your pruning shears to cut off any nearby side branches, cutting as close to the stems as possible. When cutting the stems, be sure to leave no more than a third of the stem on the plant. Try not to cut any other stems from the plant, as the plant will rely on these stems to survive.
3. Create the first braids
Next, grab the stem in the middle of the three stems that you plan to braid. Hold it a few inches away from the other two stems and then take the stem on the right of it and gently place it behind it. Be sure to hold the middle stem steady and then take the stem on the left of it and put it behind the right stem so that it is now the middle stem.
At this point, you should have one established braid. Repeat this process until the braids extend to the top of the tree and then leave about 2 to 3 inches of the tree unbraided.
4. Tie the stems
Next, examine the braid to ensure that the stems stand straight up and do not lean to the side. You also want to ensure that none of the stems have broken or split on the side. Next, take a twist tie or small strip of garden tape and place it around the braided stems near the top. Ensure that the tape is secure but not wrapped too tightly around the braided tree. If it's too tight, it may girdle the stems and kill the tree.
5. Wait and prune the tree
Wait about 4 to 6 weeks before removing the twist tie or gardening tape from the fig tree. By this time, the tree should have formed a growing pattern that'll allow it to stay in place once you remove the tie. Take your pruning shears and remove any side stems that may be developing on the braided stems. This will help the tree to maintain its shape.
Should I braid my ficus?
Not necessarily. Braiding a ficus tree doesn't provide it with any health benefits; it's purely for aesthetics. If you feel that your tree looks too stringy, braiding it can't be an excellent way to give it more appeal and girth. It's important to note that if you braid the tree, it will need to be braided permanently, as unbraiding the tree once it matures can likely cause the branches to break.
How do you care for a ficus braid?
There aren't particular care instructions for ficus braids other than simply leaving the braid alone so that it can grow and stay healthy. Ensure that you maintain the plant properly, as the tree will need time to recover after being braided. Brading the trunk causes a small amount of stress on the tree initially, so it's important to keep an eye on the plant and stay on top of potential issues.
After braiding the tree, the best thing to do is to continue to care for and maintain it properly. Let's look at how to do this.
Keep it watered
A braided ficus tree can tolerate low levels of humidity fairly well. However, it's best to keep the tree watered regularly, especially in the spring and summer months. When adding water, be sure to slowly add it to the soil and let it soak in before adding more. Be sure to dump any excess water from the catch basin instead of letting it sit at the bottom of the soil pot.
Ficus trees prefer moist soil, but it's better to let the soil dry out before watering it. Generally, a weekly watering session will suffice. However, if you notice that the leaves are starting to feel dry, you may want to do a soil hydration check.
Make sure that it gets enough light
Light is absolutely crucial to this tree, especially when it's braided. Like all other trees, ficus trees need photosynthesis to stimulate molecular processes within the plant. These trees prefer to be in bright areas that have a sufficient amount of indirect light.
Monitor the soil
These plants don't require expensive soil to stay healthy, only fast-draining soil high in nutrients. If you re-pot your ficus tree, be sure that the soil is well-draining. You can also use sand, perlite, and vermiculite to help improve soil drainage.
Ensure that it has the best environment
On average, ficus trees prefer temperatures between 73 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit--be careful not to let indoor temperatures get below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It's best to place a hygrometer in the room in which the tree is planted so that you can continually monitor the temperature and humidity levels.
Also, in the summer months, try to position the tree away from air conditioner units, as it can cause stress on the trees.
Keep it fertilized
Ficus plants need a certain amount of fertilizer, particularly in the spring and summer months, which are the tree's main growing seasons. It's best to use slow-release granules at the start of spring so that the plant can get all the nutrients it needs throughout the summer months.
How big do braided ficus trees get?
A braided ficus tree can grow up to 11 to 15 feet tall, depending on how it's maintained. Braiding a ficus tree doesn't negatively affect its growth, but you'll want to ensure that it has all of the other factors that it needs to stay healthy.
How do I make my ficus tree grow thicker?
There is no way to make a ficus tree grow thicker necessarily. You can, however, make the tree appear thicker by modifying your pruning methods. Braiding the tree can also make the tree look thicker. The best way to give the tree a thicker or fuller look is to let the branches and stems grow out.
When you prune the tree, be sure only to trim dead leaves and branches from the tree, leaving healthy stems and nodes. Also, try not to prune any more than 30% of the ficus plant at one time, as it can cause excessive stress in the plant, resulting in branch die-back and other potential health issues.
Wrapping Things Up
If you want to add a unique appearance to your weeping ficus tree, braiding the stems can be a great way to do it. Remember, it's always best to find the healthiest stems to braid and to continually monitor the tree for the next few weeks to ensure that it remains healthy as it recovers.
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