Monday, October 3, 2011
Strangler Figs (Ficus benghalensis) at 3 Months
I had to drop by the University Greenhouses today and as always decided to check in on the plants I've left there for the winter. I was shocked to see that some are barely recognizable! It really is amazing the difference as little as a week can make when you have plants in a greenhouse.
The happiest seem to be my Strangler Figs (Ficus benghalensis). I started the seeds about 3 months ago in an old take-out dish in a southern window. They grew relatively quickly and after a few weeks I moved them into a small greenhouse outdoors. Here they did even better. The heat really makes a big difference with these figs. As the weather began cooling down I took them into the greenhouses and their growth rate exploded. In the last two weeks, some have literally more than doubled in size!
Now I shouldn't be surprised. Strangler figs are native to India and the surrounding regions. They LOVE lots of water, high humidity and warmth. A greenhouse is a perfect home for them. I'm hoping to eventually train some over rocks and let the roots grow into soil below. I might actually have to do this sooner than I thought because the plants are already putting large roots through the bottom holes.
If you didn't notice, one of the seedlings has much more red and a bit of a ripple in it's leaves. This is also the only seedling to display red stem colouration (far right in the picture above). I'm not sure if this is the result of cross-pollination, a common natural mutation, different species, something new, or even if it's permanent. I'm just excited to have at least one plant with unique characteristics!
I really love these figs. I'll be sure to update regularly and post my progress as I train some of them over rocks. I also have some Bo-Tree or Sacred Figs (Ficus religiosa) growing. They're planned for my next post, so stay tuned.