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PlantFiles: Strangler Fig
Ficus aurea

Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: aurea (AW-re-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Ficus aurea var. latifolia
Synonym:Ficus ciliolosa

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

over 40 ft. (12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Floridian
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral miamiswamper On Nov 10, 2010, miamiswamper from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I'd just like to say that this tree doesn't actually strangle and/or choke the tree it's growing on. Yes it does cause it's death but by overshadowing it and not allowing photosynthesis to take place.

Positive ForrestGump On Mar 3, 2007, ForrestGump from Melbourne, FL wrote:

I love this tree. I found about 5 of them growing directly on a big *rock*, apparently where birds had landed and relieved themselves. I have heard that the seeds will only germinate if they pass through an animal's digestive tract. It's amazing. They just grew in the cracks of the rock.

I ripped them off, and stuck them in pots and watered everyday. They grew like weeds, and reached over 6 feet in about 3 years. The wood is very soft, but I imagine it can be pruned so that a few strong limbs will grow.

I agree with the previous comments. These trees get HUGE, so plant them in an open area. Oh, and NOT near your drainfields because fig trees seek water.

Now go get 'em.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Jul 28, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The Strangler Fig is an attractive, sprawling banyan tree, native to the coastal hammocks, barrier islands and inland hammocks of central and southern Florida and the Keys. It is widespread in South America and the Caribbean as well. It provides food for wildlife (reddish-brown to purple berries) as well as shelter in its sprawling branches and leaves. Some specimens can be bought in pots from nurseries and be grown outdoors in your yard from zones 9 and below. However, a large amount of space (an acre or more) will be needed as this attractive banyan can get up to 50 feet tall and over 15 feet wide! Its trunk reaches a diameter of about three feet. I recommend this plant if you have lots of space!

FACTS - This plant starts its life growing on a host tree, notably the Florida State Tree, the Cabbage Palmetto, which is also native to the state (However, it may start its life in the ground as well). As it gets bigger it sends roots down the trunk of its host, wrapping it in an engulfing manner. As the Strangler Fig grows, it eventually chokes the trunk of its host tree, strangling it and eventually killing it.

Neutral TamiMcNally On Jun 7, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Usually starts off as an epiphyte with lots aerial roots.

Roots can be invasive around septic tanks and drainfields.

Fast growth rate

Produces red or yellow figs


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

San Diego, California
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Holmes Beach, Florida
Miami, Florida (2 reports)
Naples, Florida
North Palm Beach, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)
Austin, Texas

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