I've got a ficus which dried out this summer. The roots seem to be alive and well - multiple suckers are growing without issues.


This photo was taken a week ago and the suckers continue to grow.

I read that is possible to regrow the tree from one of them as long as it's not grafted. (I don't think it is, the leaves on suckers look the same as the trees next to it)

My main questions are:

  1. Should I cut the old tree immediately, or wait longer?

  2. Should I select one sucker and cut the rest, or is it better to cut the small ones off over time?

Anything else I should pay attention to while trying to revive this tree?

2 Answers 2


Ficus are very flexible when it comes to sprouting from old wood. So you could:

  • cut the trunk a few inches up from the growth
  • thin out the sucker growth to three or four shoots or one leader

If you were thinking that it would regrow into the same style of plant in no time you would be disappointed. The new growth is called water sprouts and has a weaker attachment to the trunk than regular growth. Even if you trim it one leader it will take a long time for the trunk to thicken up and it's just going to end up looking funny.

I recommend buying a replacement unless you don't care what it looks like for ten years or so.

  • 1
    You could try using those growths as cuttings, when they get bigger. That way you would end up with a better looking plant, but they will still take a long time to become a mature-looking tree.
    – alephzero
    Feb 2, 2019 at 17:10

I'm not sure if the tree is completely dead. Get rid of the very dry branches and give it a chance, if you will end up removing it you might as well get rid of the suckers as a last attempt.

  • Would you just trim the old branches, or break them off at the trunk?
    – viraptor
    Feb 3, 2019 at 8:06
  • You could leave like 2-3 main ones and maybe scratch with your nail to see if there is any sign of life there... I would give it one more season before I give up on it honestly :)
    – ammoun
    Feb 3, 2019 at 23:38

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