Ficus outdoors in Texas

Question: I live in Corpus Christi, tx (zone 9a, i believe), my boss has a beautiful 20+ ft ficus tree in his backyard (he said he had two but one died).  I have a really nice outdoor potted ficus that has been outdoors for about two years but I have always brought it in indoors during any freezes.  Usually it gets below freezing one or two days a year.  I was considering planting it outdoors next spring because it is approx. 8 ft tall and the pot is just getting enormous. Im wondering though, can it be done, will it be okay in an open sunny spot?  I have a six foot fence to block most of the east winds,  Should I plant it so it\’s sheltered from the north wind?  Should I keep it short and \”bushlike\” to help prevent it from freezing?  Can I plant smaller plants densely around it to help keep the wind off of it? If left alone im sure this tree will grow upwards of twenty ft and trying to cover that with a sheet is not feasible.  What can i do to help it be as \”winterproof\” as possible?  Mary

Answer: Hello Mary, Thanks for your question. Ficus benjamina’s hardiness zone is 11.  I think you would either need to bring it inside or locate a section of the yard that would be a microclimate (meaning it would stay 2 zones warmer that the surrounding area) and stay above 40 degrees (which is zone 11). Let me know if you have any other questions. Live Long & Garden!

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