Ficus Benjamina

Weeping Fig Plant

The weeping fig is part of the Ficus plant genus (scientific name: F. benjamina) and tree like, in looks. With large arching branches and long pointed leaves, it looks attractive indoors (apart from leaves dropping).



The Benjamina is one of the most popular small indoor trees from this genus that grows quite slowly and needs a grower to take particular care of a few needs (lighting, watering, etc.), which is fairly easy, when you know how.


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Description

Ficus benjamina potted

The weeping figs natural habitat is within rain forests. There's the green leaf type and variegated, also miniature sized trees (indoor bonsai), which may only grow up to 3ft tall. A fair few other cultivars exist that have various leaf colors and patterns.

Does not like being disturbed: The F.benjamina really doesn’t like being moved around a home. Moving them kind of gives them a shock (they decide its time to drop leaves to produce new ones from the change in lighting, temperature, and humidity provided ), which can leave a tree looking pretty bare. My advice would be to find a spot with the correct lighting (see care information below), not close to any drafts in the home (from doors or windows) and then leave it to get comfortable. Only move if you realise it was not the best place, or if you really have to.

Displaying: A nice bright spot is their preference and somewhere with enough space for height and width growth, ready for when it matures. Large plants look great standing within corners, seated inside a patio or near a fire place (that is being used for decorative purposes). You are likely to have seen these displayed in hotel foyers, in offices or shopping malls. The smaller fig and bonsai types can sit where you find enough room (shelves, table tops) as long as there is enough bright light.

Leaves, branches and trunk: As mentioned above the leaves can be a shiny green, variegated and there's other culitvars. The pointed leaves when grown indoors are approximately 4 inches long, and slim in width. The branches and leaves arch over and the flexible trunk can grow in a twisted form, similar to a banyan tree and with more than one trunk from the roots. At the end of summer your likely to see some leaves falling which is normal, so do not be worried about this.

Air quality: Most plants improve air quality to some degree. The F. benjamina is particularly good at filtering formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.


Facts

Origin: South East Asia and Australia.
Names: Weeping Fig (common). Ficus Benjamina (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): Height up-to 10ft and miniature grown types 3ft.
Poisonous for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs.

Bonsai Type With Variegated Leaves

Bonsai Type Weeping Fig With Variegated Leaves

Weeping Fig Care

Temperature: Room temperatures of around 65°f / 16°c --- 75°f / 24°c is ideal. Try not to allow temperatures to decrease lower than 50°f / 10°c, although they can handle a bit lower, without problems.
Light: Bright light is what keeps the weeping fig happy, that is partially shaded. A spot that receives some sun and shade during the day is great. As mentioned previously do not move the tree, not even turning it around to prevent leaves being shed.
Watering: Allow the compost to dry to a certain extent (at the top) between each watering with tepid filtered or distilled water. Over-watering and under-watering can cause the leaves to drop. To identify the problem check if the leaves are crispy or if they fold easily. If they fold then the problem could be over-watering, and if crispy the tree could be under watered. Add enough water that can seep from the top soil to the drainage holes, at the bottom of the container and remove the left over water to allow enough oxygen to the plant roots. Less watering in the winter is to be carried out.
Soil: A fast draining soil-less mix is advised.
Re-Potting: These can be allowed to become pot bound to a certain extent, and as mention above the weeping fig tree does not like to be disturbed. I would only re-pot when necessary, which could be every couple of years when its growing in height and spread.
Fertilizer: I would only use fertilizer once a month from April until September that has to be diluted. October - March should be a rest period without fertilizer.
Humidity: Misting the leaves in the summer is advised.
Propagation: The F. benjamina is easy to propagate during summer with a few inches of good branch cuttings (from the tip), placed into soil.
Grooming and pruning: Your growing tree will enjoy having old leaves removed and being pruned to the size that suits it's indoor living space, especially if it is healthy and growing well where it now sits. Pruning is best done after summer and before the next spring.

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