How to braid a ficus tree
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Ficus is an attractive indoor plant with graceful branches, pale grey bark and glossy green foliage. Braiding the trunks of three young ficus seedlings together creates a look that makes the attractive plant even more interesting.
Young ficus trees are not difficult to braid, and the plant won't be damaged, as the trunks are flexible. As the plant grows, the trunks of the young ficus trees will graft together, forming one larger, braided trunk.
Plant three young ficus plants in a sturdy pot. The trees should be planted closely together in the centre of the pot. Although larger trunks can be braided if they're supple, braiding will be easiest if the trunks are less than 1 inch in diameter.
Use shears or garden pruners to remove any small twigs that will interfere with braiding. Water the plants so that the soil is lightly moist.
Place a wooden or bamboo stake on each side of the pot. The stakes should be tall enough to extend up to the bottom of the foliage.
Cross one ficus branch over another, and begin braiding from the bottom of the trunks. Braid loosely to avoid breaking the trunks. Continue braiding up the trunks until you reach the foliage part of the plants.
Secure the end of the braid with soft garden twine, then attach the end of the garden twine to one of the stakes. Continue the braid in a few months, when the ficus trunk has grown an additional 6 to 8 inches. The stakes may eventually need to be replaced with taller stakes.
- You can also create interesting effects by braiding the branch of the same tree. Choose three supple branches, then remove twigs that will interfere with braiding. The effect will be different than braiding with three trees, and can create a "window" effect.
- If you inadvertently break a branch, place the broken ends together and secure the joint with duct tape or grafting tape. Remove the tape in four to six weeks, and the break should be healed.
- If you don't have garden twine, use strips of pantyhose to secure the ficus plant to the stakes.
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