There’s a new fig in town!
Around here, we’re all big fans of the beautiful ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf fig! As a fan of all things ficus, I was excited to learn about the return of a tree you’ve probably seen before ficus benjamina, or the weeping fig.
You’ve probably seen these before, as they were extremely popular during the 70s and 80s (so much so that they’re often just called a ficus tree), but they’re making a comeback! They’re a beautiful plant to add to your collection.
Isn’t it gorgeous?
As you can see, ficus benjamina looks quite different from ficus lyrata (fiddle leaf fig).
The leaves are much smaller, more oblong, and the branches tend to be longer and more slender.
Native to tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia and Australia, ficus benjamina can reach up to 60 feet outdoors, but indoors they’re usually pruned to 3-6 feet. Their trunks can be braided together for a fun woven look, and these trees are also excellent at cleaning the air in your home.
You can also cultivate ficus benjamina as a bonsai!
How to Care for Your Ficus Benjamina
The good news about ficus benjamina is that they enjoy similar conditions as ficus lyrata. So if you’re able to care for fiddle leaf figs in your home, you’ll probably do well with weeping figs as well!
Ficus benjamina, like ficus lyrata, loves lots of bright, indirect sunlight. Supplement with a grow light if your home doesn’t get much sunlight.
Weeping fig isn’t fussy with soil, but make sure to use something that drains fairly quickly. This plant doesn’t like wet feet! Cactus soil can work well, or a mix of regular indoor potting soil with cactus soil.
These plants are vulnerable to root rot and dryness, so consistent watering is KEY. But don’t get freaked out here. If you can handle watering your fiddle, don’t worry, you can water a ficus benjamina.
When the top 2 inches of soil feel dry, water with room-temperature, filtered water (you can set out water overnight so the chlorine evaporates) until it runs out the drainage holes. Empty the drainage tray after a few minutes, and don’t water again until the top few inches are dry. This might take a few weeks.
Fertilize regularly in the spring and summer (add a little liquid fertilizer to every watering) and once a month between October and April. Like fiddles, weeping fig likes fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio, so you can use your Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food on your ficus benjamina as well!
These plants LOVE humidity. They’re a tropical tree, after all! If you live in a dry climate, you might want to invest in a humidifier, and keep your weeping fig well away from drafts and heating/AC vents.
Ficus benjamina does NOT like to be cold.
This tree does best in temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees fahrenheit, though it’s fine for nighttime temperatures to fall as low as 65 degrees fahrenheit.
Watch out for drafts. Water with room-temperature water. If you choose to mist your leaves, use warm or room-temperature water as well. In the winter, you may want to set your plant on a block of wood or styrofoam to insulate the root ball.
Other Ficus Benjamina tips:
- Weeping figs don’t like to be moved and will most likely drop leaves from shock, but they can recover if they are in a spot with good conditions.
- This tree leaves when it’s unhappy or stressed (sound familiar? I’m looking at you, fiddles!)
- Repot once per year in the spring.
- Weeping figs don’t require a lot of pruning, but if you need to cut it down to size, do it in the winter when the plant isn’t actively growing. You can prune dead or diseased leaves and branches at any time.
- This plant is toxic to humans and animals, so be cautious if you have children or pets.
- Wear gloves when pruning or propagating, as the sap can cause skin irritation.
- Weeping figs are susceptible to most of the same pests that can plague fiddle leaf figs, so watch out for spider mites, mealy bugs and other species of scale, gnats, and thrip.
If you can’t get enough indoor trees, try adding a ficus benjamina to your home to keep your fiddle company!
These stunning trees make a statement, clean the air, and provide some gorgeous contrast with your other plants. Give one a try.
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