Ficus Benjamina, commonly known as the Weeping Fig, is a popular indoor plant that is loved for its elegant and graceful foliage. With a lifespan of 20 to 50 years, they’re renowned for their durability and longevity. This graceful, elegant plant has slender branches that arch gracefully from a light gray trunk and dense, glossy dark leaves.
Ficus is Latin for “fig,” and there are over 800 different species that have evolved into various shapes. Some of them remain small shrubs, while other ficus plants grow into massive trees. Others develop into something resembling vines!
When growing the Ficus benjamina tree indoors, the plants are normally pruned to keep them between 3 and 6 feet tall, and their trunks are sometimes braided for decorative appeal. It grows quickly and may need to be repotted up to once a year, but do so in early spring for the best results.
Luckily, caring for these stunning plants is easier than you think. As a master gardener, I have years of experience in caring for ficus benjamina that I’ll be sharing with you today in this article. Read on to learn exactly how to grow and care for Ficus Benjamina, i.e. the weeping fig!
Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina
Common Name: Weeping fig, ficus tree, Benjamin fig
Plant Type: Evergreen tree (usually grown as a houseplant)
Hardiness Zones: 10 – 12 (USDA) outdoors
Sun Exposure: Filtered, bright sun
Soil Type: Rich, fast-draining potting soil
Soil pH: Acidic, neutral to acidic
Height: 3 -6 ft. tall
Native Area: Southeastern Asia, Northern Australia
Ficus Benjamina Care
Ficus Benjamina, also known as the weeping fig, is a popular houseplant that is native to Southeast Asia and Australia. It is a member of the fig family and is known for its graceful, drooping branches and glossy, dark green leaves. However, there is much more to this plant than meets the eye.
Weeping figs can be grown as specimen trees in tropical climates, reaching up to 60 feet in height, and they are sometimes planted and pruned as hedges.
Weeping figs grow well indoors in containers filled with soil-based potting mix and placed in bright indirect light or in sunny areas with afternoon shade. During the growing season, water the plant regularly, but allow it to dry out from fall to late winter.
When it comes to light, the Weeping Fig prefers bright, indirect light. This means that it should be placed near a window where it can receive plenty of natural light, but not in direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch and turn brown, which can be detrimental to the overall health of the plant. If you are placing your plant in a low light area, you may need to supplement it with an artificial light source to help it thrive.
The Weeping Fig prefers a well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. A potting mix that contains peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite is ideal for this plant species.
Plus, it is recommended to add some organic matter like leaf mold to your potting mix to help improve drainage and nutrient availability. This will make sure that your plant has access to the necessary nutrients it needs to grow and thrive.
Watering your Weeping Fig correctly is essential to its overall health. It is important to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot and other plant diseases.
Allow the soil to partially dry out before watering again, and water thoroughly to make sure that all the roots receive adequate water. Plus, be sure to use room-temperature water to avoid shocking the roots. If you are unsure about how often to water your plant, you can check the soil moisture level by sticking your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it is time to water your plant.
Temperature and Humidity
The Weeping Fig thrives in warm temperatures and high humidity levels. They prefer temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and require a humidity level of at least 50%.
If you live in a dry climate, you may need to increase the humidity levels around your plant. You can help increase humidity levels by placing a pebble tray filled with water near your plant or by using a humidifier. This will help prevent the leaves from drying out and keep your plant looking healthy and vibrant.
These plants require a lot of fertilizer throughout the growing season because they are heavy feeders. At the beginning of the growing season, feed your ficus slow-release pellets.
They will benefit from fertilization every month in the spring and summer and every two months in the fall and winter because they grow quickly.
Types of Ficus Benjamina
There are various cultivars of Ficus Benjamina, each with its own unique characteristics.
‘Starlight’: One of the most popular cultivars is the variegated ‘Starlight,’ which features leaves that are green with white edges. This plant is perfect for adding a pop of color to any room in your home.
‘Too Little’: Another popular cultivar is the dwarf ‘Too Little,’ which is a smaller version of the weeping fig. This plant is perfect for those who want the beauty of a Ficus Benjamina but don’t have the space for a larger plant. It’s also a popular choice for bonsai.
‘Silver Cloud’: The silver and green ‘Silver Cloud’ is another popular cultivar of Ficus Benjamina. This plant features leaves that are silver and green, giving it a unique and eye-catching appearance. It is perfect for adding a touch of elegance to any room in your home.
Regardless of which cultivar you choose, Ficus Benjamina is a great addition to any home. Not only does it add beauty and style, but it also has air-purifying qualities, making it a healthy choice for you and your family.
How to Propagate Ficus Benjamina
If you are a fan of this plant and want to propagate it, you are in luck! Propagating weeping figs is relatively easy, and can be done using stem cuttings.
- To get started, you will need a healthy, mature weeping fig plant from which to take your cuttings. Look for a plant that has strong, healthy stems and plenty of leaves. Once you have identified a suitable plant, follow these steps:
- Using a sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruning shears, take a 6-inch cutting from one of the plant’s stems. Make sure the cutting is taken from a healthy, leafy section of the stem.
- Using your fingers or a pair of scissors, remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. This will help the cutting focus its energy on growing roots rather than supporting leaves.
- Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is a powder or liquid that contains hormones that stimulate root growth. You can find rooting hormone at most garden centers or online.
- Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mix. Make a hole in the center of the potting mix using a pencil or your finger.
- Insert the cutting into the hole in the potting mix. Gently press the potting mix around the stem to hold it in place.
- Water the cutting well, making sure the potting mix is evenly moist. Cover the pot with a plastic bag or a clear plastic dome to create a humid environment around the cutting.
- Place the pot in a bright, warm location, but out of direct sunlight. Weeping figs prefer bright, indirect light and temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Check the cutting regularly to make sure the potting mix stays moist. After a few weeks, gently tug on the stem to see if it has rooted. If it resists, it has likely rooted and can be gradually acclimated to brighter light and less humidity.
Propagating weeping figs using stem cuttings is a fun and rewarding way to expand your collection of these beautiful plants. With a little patience and care, you can create new weeping figs that will bring beauty and joy to your home for years to come.
Potting and Repotting Ficus Benjamina
Potting and repotting your Weeping Fig is an important part of its care routine, as it makes sure that the plant has enough space to grow and thrive.
When potting or repotting your Weeping Fig, it is important to choose the right pot size. A pot that is too small can restrict the growth of the plant, while a pot that is too large can cause the soil to retain too much moisture, leading to root rot. As a general rule, choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot.
Next, choose a high-quality potting mix that is well-draining and rich in nutrients. Avoid using soil from your garden, as it may contain pests or diseases that can harm your plant. You can also add some gravel or sand to the bottom of the pot to improve drainage and prevent water from sitting in the bottom of the pot.
When repotting your Weeping Fig, gently remove the plant from its current pot and loosen any tangled roots. Trim any dead or damaged roots with a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears. Place the plant in the new pot and add fresh potting mix around the roots, pressing down gently to remove any air pockets.
After repotting, water your Weeping Fig thoroughly and place it in a bright, indirect light. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. Your Weeping Fig may take a few weeks to adjust to its new pot, so be patient and avoid overwatering during this time.
Repotting your Weeping Fig up to once every year or every other year, or when the plant outgrows its current pot, can help to keep your plant healthy and thriving.
With the right pot size, potting mix, and care, your Weeping Fig can grow into a beautiful and lush indoor tree that will bring joy and greenery to your home for years to come.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Ficus Benjamina
The Weeping Fig, also known as Ficus Benjamina, is a popular indoor plant that is prized for its attractive foliage and ease of care. However, like all plants, it is susceptible to various pests and diseases that can cause damage and even death if left untreated.
One of the most common pests that affect Weeping Figs is mealybugs. These small, white insects feed on the sap of the plant and can cause stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and leaf drop. Mealybugs are often found in the crevices of the plant, such as where the leaves meet the stem.
Another common pest is scale insects. These tiny insects attach themselves to the leaves and stems of the plant and suck the sap, causing yellowing and wilting of the leaves. If left untreated, scale insects can cause the plant to become weak and eventually die.
Spider mites are another pest that can affect Weeping Figs. These tiny creatures are difficult to see with the naked eye but can cause significant damage to the plant. Spider mites feed on the leaves, causing them to turn yellow and become covered in a fine webbing.
In addition to pests, Weeping Figs are also susceptible to root rot. This fungal disease is caused by overwatering and poor drainage, which can lead to the roots becoming waterlogged and rotting. Symptoms of root rot include wilting leaves, yellowing foliage, and a foul odor coming from the soil.
To prevent pests and diseases from affecting your Weeping Fig, it is important to inspect the plant regularly for any signs of infestation or damage. If you do notice any problems, treat them promptly with an appropriate insecticide or fungicide. Plus, make sure to provide your plant with the proper care, including adequate light, water, and fertilizer, to keep it healthy and thriving.
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Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.