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Ficus macrophylla f. columnaris

26th November 2010

Ficus macrophylla is an old friend that has suddenly become popular again (so there is hope for me). I grew it is a house plant and knew it had a chance of being hardy, or at least hardier than any of the other large strangler figs. Kew had one in the Temperate House in the '80's, and it might still be there although I don't remember it. I'm sure I would have taken photo's recently if it was still there.
Experience has shown that it isn't hardy enough to cope in the UK. Possibly Tresco could get away with it. A mature tree could eat Tresco whole but it would take rather a long time and be well worth watching.
This form comes from Lord Howe Island, and it is thought that it might be a bit hardier than the typical form. I was given a seedling by a friend (along with the Begonia luxurians behind it, quite by chance) and it is growing rapidly. It has come into the house for winter but spends the summer in the greenhouse. Before long it will need some more space. A sister seedling has not survived well at Tremenheere which is several degrees warmer than me, so I don't think it will do well outside. It's a stunning plant and I can only overwinter a very small number of giants so there are going to be difficulties.

15th August 2013

I have decided that it will have to grow in the Agave house and either it will be hardy or it will be dead by spring. Lovely thing, but I don't have the space to protect a tropical rainforest and I do have the sense not to try.

2nd December 2017

6th February 2018

Growing really well. Unfortunately a couple of weeks later at the start of March it was killed stone-dead during the Beast from the East.