Ficus Altissima, also known as the Lofty Fig or Council Tree, is a low-maintenance and gorgeous ficus variety. This variety is the perfect alternative for Fiddle Leaf Fig lovers that are looking for an easier plant. Luckily, they can also be grown from seed!
How to Grow Ficus Altissima from Seed
Ficus seeds are intermediate difficulty to germinate- they have consistent high germination rates but are relatively picky about their germination conditions and require a specific setup. Given the smaller seed size, I recommend using the greenhouse method, but the paper towel method is do-able!
1) Select your planter and soil
A planter with a humidity dome or mini greenhouse is ideal for planting these seeds- they need high humidity and warmth so starting off with the right planter is key! For soil, any fresh indoor potting mix will generally work fine, but I personally recommend our coconut fiber soil pods for seed starting- it keeps the seeds at a good moisture level, doesn't suffocate the seeds, and is generally the most sterile medium you could work with.
2) Prep your soil
Add the soil to your planter and water it so that it feels moist but not soggy. This is critical to get right, if the soil feels too light and fluffy, then the seeds may not have enough moisture to germinate. If you have good drainage or have the seeds in a tray to bottom water them, you can water the soil more freely without worrying that it'll get soggy!
3) Sow the seeds
Now the fun part- adding the seeds! Don't sow these too deep, around a 1/4"-1/8" is good, or you can sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil and cover it with a small layer of soil. Just make sure the seeds are covered by the soil, but are close enough to the surface that the sprouts can get to the light easily.
4) Keep them warm and brightly lit
Now we wait! Specifically, you want the seeds to hang out in a warm and bright spot. For warmth, we recommend a basic seedling mat- they're generally not expensive and you can get them from a garden center or just on amazon, and they're extremely helpful for germinating seeds! If you don't have a heat mat, that's ok as long as your home is >70F otherwise you may not see much germination activity.
Another important note: keep the seeds away from any heat vents or open windows, those fluctuations in temperature aren't good for the seeds!
As for light, keep them brightly lit and away from direct sun. Direct sun is not good for houseplant seeds, the ideal is either a grow light, or a window with bright, indirect light.
5) Check in ~1 a week
Now the key thing is making sure that your seeds stay moist. Don't open the dome too regularly, that fluctuation in temperature and humidity isn't good for the seeds. Make sure you see condensation on the humidity dome, and if you don't, you may need to add water to the setup or check the temperature and make sure it's >70F.
It's a good idea to check in on your setup about once a week, so set up an alarm if that helps you! During that check-up, you might water the soil a bit if it's starting to look dry, and just see if there's been any germination activity.
6) Caring for sprouts!
Ficus seeds take up to a month to germinate, but chances are you'll see some sprouts poking out of the soil in 2 weeks or so. When you see some sprouts start to show up, you can twist open the humidity dome vent(if you have one) just to start letting in some fresh air, or start taking off the dome for a little bit just to let those seedlings breath.
You want to keep the dome on until most of the seedlings germinate. If it looks like most of the seeds have sprouted, then it's time to start acclimating them to fresh air! Presumably by then you've had the vents open for a week or two(if you have them), so from there, start taking the dome off for an hour or 2 per day(again, use an alarm if it helps!).
The more gradual you make that transition, the better the seeds acclimate. I usually recommend repeating that process of removing the dome for short periods of time for a week, that way when you remove the dome completely, the temperature and humidity difference isn't so much of a shock for the seedings. I'll be honest, though, I forget to put the dome back on all the time when I start the acclimation process, and a lot of the time I find the seedlings do perfectly fine, it just stunts their growth a bit at the start and a couple of sprouts die-off.
7) Seedling Care
So now you have little Ficus seedlings! Common questions I get are, when can I repot my seedlings and when do I start fertilizing them?
A good rule of thumb for repotting houseplant seedlings is waiting for their to get their second set of adult leaves. That means they're old and hardy enough to survive a move like that. If they're at that size, it's also a good time to start watering them with diluted fertilizer(I like Noot!).
If your seedlings are still not growing, and you're following all of these steps, you might need to consider moving them to a brighter spot. Seedlings generally need more light than the adult plants- they need more energy to grow to adulthood!
As they get older, they don't need as much maintenance or light, and at that point, congratulations! You have a lovely Ficus plant that you grew on your own from seed!
I hope you found this post helpful! If you have further questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's our TikTok video showcasing planting some Ficus Altissima seeds:
@plantflix Ficus Altissima are the perfect Fiddle Leaf Fig alternative if you're looking for a more low-maintenance plant 🌱The seeds are somewhat tricky to start, but the bigger the seedlings get, the easier their care gets! More on growing these from seed in my latest blog post(link in bio!)💚💚 #ficus #ficusseeds #ficusaltissima #loftyfig #growfromseed #tropicalseeds #houseplantseeds #indoorgardening #seedstarting ♬ Sky Aesthetic - Tollan Kim
If you found this post helpful, make sure to check these out as well!
- How to Grow Monstera Deliciosa from Seed
- 10 Awesome Pet-friendly Houseplants you can Grow from Seed
- 5 Things You Should Check Prior to Re-potting Your Houseplant Seedlings