Grafting onto Ficus Benjamina Question

Good day, we have some ficus shrubs growing along the property line which I’m pretty sure are ficus benjamina. They have been growing for a few years without any care whatsoever and some are fairly large with thick trunks and nice green leaves. I am writing to ask if anyone knows if they’re compatible with the edible fig (ficus carica), or has experience trying this type of grafting?

I’m thinking about buying a fig tree from a local store (so far I’ve seen Nero, and maybe BT or LSU Purple when a new fig shipment comes in) and grafting some of its branches to the ficus shrubs we have already growing in the yard. The reason I’d prefer to graft them is that we have extremely poor, sandy soil which hasn’t been a problem for the ficus but would probably require too much watering in the case of figs. Also not sure if there are nematodes, if so the ficus aren’t bothered/outgrow them so another reason to try the grafting.

Thanks in advance.

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I would try it for sure but I would tbud graft them. They are relatively closely related. Unless you live in a fairly warm place chances are you would not have thought of this so that leaves out about 95% of those of us who would have done it. They are somewhat closely related Temperate and Subtropical Fruit Production - Google Books

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Thanks for the feedback Clark. I do live in a fairly warm place lol, hence the “Bahama” in my name, and we don’t get any even close to freezing weather here so I suppose now would be as good a time as any to try the grafting. I haven’t tried tbud grafting before, but have been experimenting on grafting with some other species recently, mostly mangoes and sapodilla, and been doing a lot of cleft grafts and veneer grafts with those but will try a couple different types for the fig.

I know a fair number of growers here even in the colder climates do grow their figs in pots and overwinter them indoors is what made me think they may have some experience with grafting onto other ficus types.

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This tutorial by @fruitnut will be what you need to try tbud grafting T-budding tutorial

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Very good tutorial thanks; I’ve seen a very detailed video on YT on this type of grafting but only for citrus. Nice to see one specifically for figs.

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Here’s some unconfirmed info from F4F, you might try grafting any of these onto your weeping figs as an interstem also.

Ficus genus contains 800+ species but F. carica can be grafted on 5 of them fully compatible…
These are:
Ficus johannis
Ficus pseudo-carica
Ficus palmata
Ficus sycomorus
Ficus racemosa
Partially compatible:
Ficus pumila
Ficus botryocarpa
Ficus variegata
Ficus deltoidea
… and so on…

Figs can possibly be grafted into other ficus species. There was a mention of figs being grafted into a ficus benjamina in Florida in early 1900’s, but no mention if how long the graft remained alive.

Found this guy trying different rootstocks in FL, he had some initial success with creeping fig. In Search Of Nematode-Resistant Fig Rootstocks – Progress Report 1 – Florida Fruit Geek


Thanks for the link hoosier, I tried to access that site before but the page said it was down; didn’t realize there was an archived version of it.

Nice to see that fig has noted compatibility with a number of species. I’ve read that guy’s article before, and the fig grafted onto ficus Ficus glomerata in the 1998 picture seems very old and large which is encouraging. When I do go to the hardware store to check their fig section I’ll see if I can try to suss out what kind of ornamental ficus they carry as well, there might be a fully compatible rootstock in stock.

Additionally, I’m still not 100% sure that my ficus is in fact a ficus benjamina. I’m assuming it is as its a very common shrub used ornamentally. Are there any other common species usually used as shrubs? I can take a picture of some of the ones we have for ID if that would help.

This has some really nice pictures of the different figs in Florida. Microcarpa looks similar to benjamina but with rounder leaves. They sure do get big!

Links to F4F were automatically redirecting to the archive for a little while but they are not anymore, the archive has its own search function though, glad someone saved the information.

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This is a great link thank you; it seems to be definitely either a benjamina or a microcarpa based on the pictures. I’ll go out tomorrow and see if I can identify any fruit to determine which. And good to know about the F4F archiving.

I went out yesterday and found some mulberries that seem to have gone semi dormant here (which is funny to me because it’s like 70F at night) and took some foot long or so cuttings to root:

Mulberry is the one with all the bare branches:

Bare branch closeup:

This one is out by itself, and holding onto a couple leaves but they’re all fairly close to dying:

Just a little update, I picked up a Nero fig earlier this week from a local hardware store and will be growing that out in a pot and probably later cut some scions from it to graft to the ornamental ficus in the yard. Bought the one in the foreground in this picture:

Do the leaves look like Nero leaves? I’ve never grown one before but that’s what the label said it was. I also found another fig at a different store with the same label and similar leaves, and it had some young fruit on it:

My guess is they are tissue culture plants, which can have deeper lobes initially than trees from cuttings. They would be one of these varieties. Fig from AgriStarts

Is there a nursery name on the pot? The unripe figs are a good match for BT.


That’s an interesting theory on them being tissue culture plants, and some of those varieties look mighty nice in that link.

I don’t recall a nursery name on the pot but I’ll check tomorrow once I get some daylight. :fearful: I really hope it’s not a (mislabeled) BT, I bought one of those before and the fig flavor was not good lol.

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Hi hoosier, the fig I bought is starting to put out some figs; do they seem to match the figs on that store plant in the picture/still seem like BT? Thanks.

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Too soon to say on the figs. The leaves I can see still don’t look like BT though, the lobes are deeper cut and the bases are cordate. Have to wait a few months :wink:

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I must confess I didn’t get up with watering consistently enough to get any of the figs to mature to term (although I managed to not kill the tree lol) so this “Nero” fig as yet remains unconfirmed I suppose. As an aside, I’ve noticed another fig brought recently that’s labeled “Chicago Hardy”; anyone have any idea how those far in the southeast aka areas with high heat and humidity?

I am reviving this old thread because it is of great interest to me. As mentioned before, nematode pressure is very detrimental to Ficus carica our common fig here in Florida soils. I have F recemosa growing as a cover on walls and fences, and also F. Microcarpa growing as an ornamental. Has anyone successfully grafted carica on microcarpa, and if so was there longevity and productivity?

LSU Purple is supposed to be nematode resistant and is used by several Florida growers as root stock.

F Palmata is also supposed to be resistant and as mentioned above, is fully graft compatible with f carica. Palmata can also be used to pollinate carica and there are several varieties thought to be hybrids circulating in the community.

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The reason I asked about F microcarpa is because I have several shrubs around the yard and they do really well. Actually they are hard to kill in my climate Miami 10b. They are super easy to root from cuttings. I think I will experiment with them. I’ll keep you posted.

Operation “Microcarpa” is launched!! Today I grafted x 4 Ficus carica onto Ficus microcarpa. We’ll see how it goes


My attempts on Ficus Nitida had failed.