I know what you're thinking. You're writing a post to tell us you got a Ficus benjamina? Who, exactly, did you think would care?
And okay. I'll grant that this is not a particularly exciting plant to be talking about. But it's not so much about what I got as how I got it.
Also you don't have to be so mean.
It was basically a case of somebody coming up to the house, knocking on the door, and asking if we wanted a Ficus -- one of our neighbors had one which had outgrown its spot in their house, and they were looking for someone to take it, being the gist.1 When I actually walked to their house (about a block away), to see the plant, it didn't look that bad. I mean, it was a house I'd never been in before, so I didn't have much sense of what was "normal" for the space, but I'd originally pictured some 8-foot tall, five-foot wide monster in a 100-pound ceramic pot, with branches growing horizontally along the ceiling, and it was nothing like that. The (clay) pot was maybe eleven inches (28 cm) in diameter, which is big, but, you know, I've probably got twenty plants that are in pots bigger than eleven inches. So no big deal.
So I agreed to take it home, and the pot got broken along the way, for reasons which aren't really very interesting and would take a lot of time to explain properly. So I had to find a new pot to move it into, and it turned out that the only one I had that was big enough was 16 inches (41 cm) in diameter.
As it was sort of an emergency and I didn't have any other options, I went ahead and used the 16-inch pot,2 and . . . that thing happened. You know that thing? The thing where when you have a small plant in a small pot, and then you move it into a big pot, it suddenly looks like the plant got bigger too, even though you know that only the pot changed size? That happened.
So now I have a new plant that's about 4 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide, all of a sudden, in a house that was already kind of full to overflowing with plants, and no place to put it. I mean, we'll figure something out -- I could never turn away a Ficus in need -- but this isn't quite what I thought I was getting into when I said yes. When PATSP gets made into a sitcom, this will have to be one of the episodes.
P.S. For the record, I gave her a plant back, to fill the new empty spot in her house. (She picked one of the variegated Yuccas.)
P.P.S. She also said I could go over and dig up some of her Sempervivums and Mertensias sometime if I wanted to plant some here. Not sure about the Mertensia -- there's not really a good spot for one right now, though I do want one eventually -- but I'll definitely take her up on the Sempervivums.
1 You might think that our plant-crammed windows had something to do with this, but no. We weren't even the first or second household they asked. (Maybe we looked like we had enough plants already?)
2 I would ordinarily never do this, or advise anybody to do this. The general rule of thumb is to go up two inches (5 cm) at a time, so I should have moved it to a 13-inch clay pot, ideally. I went ahead and jumped it five inches in one go because: it sort of needed to be repotted anyway (it wasn't bad, but close enough), the two-inch rule matters less once you get into the really big pots, and Ficus roots are so aggressive and robust anyway that the plant will likely fill the pot within a year regardless. I'm semi-inclined to keep it outside this summer, in which case having some extra soil there will help keep it moist when I forget to water it.