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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - October 06, 2005

From: Chandler, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care for non-native Indian Banyan Tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was given a Ficus benghalensis (Indian Banyan Tree) cutting, rooted in water. I need advice on how to plant it, what kind of dirt, best type of pot ie. plastic, glass, etc. The cutting is 1 foot in height.

ANSWER:

The Indian Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) is a tropical plant native to India. It has been introduced to North America and now grows in the wild in the tropical climate of Florida. Its recommended USDA Hardiness Zones are 10-12. It is drought tolerant and does have some tolerance to frost but isn't likely to do well outdoors in Arizona. It should function well as a houseplant, however. You can plant it in any container, with adequate drainage, in sterilized potting soil. It should be watered thoroughly and then the soil allowed to dry out before again saturating with water. You can read more about the Banyan tree and its care on the Floridata webpage.
 

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