Ficus trees are all members of the fig family. As a tropical tree, ficus tends to prefer warmer temperatures, with some varieties dropping leaves if they experience temperatures below 65 degrees F. Others drop leaves if nighttime temperatures are below 70 F. Most ficus do well in indirect light or partial shade, with some varieties preferring partial shade. Most ficus leaves seem to collect dust more than the leaves of other plants. Wipe the leaves of your ficus with a damp cloth when you see a dust buildup.
The Ficus religiosa is a sacred tree to both Buddhists and Hindus. It was under this large variety of ficus that Buddha was said to attain enlightenment. Other names for this tree include the Bodhi Tree, Bo Tree, and Sacred Ficus. Ficus religiosa can reach heights of up to 90 feet. Figs produced by this tree are purple and its leaves are unusual in that they are very slender with long leaf tips. Because it is only suitable for outdoor North American cultivation in Florida, Ficus religiosa is usually grown as an indoor potted tree.
Ficus benjamina is often called the Weeping Ficus or Weeping Fig. Initially imported as landscape trees in warm parts of North America, the weeping fig can reach heights of 50 to 60 feet and can have an invasive root structure that can damage underground infrastructure like sewer, water and septic systems. Rarely used now as an outdoor tree, Ficus benjamina is commonly sold as a potted ficus with a braided trunk.
Ficus lyrata, sometimes called the Fiddle Leaf Ficus, has very large leaves that look like fiddles, hence its common name. The bark and leaves of this ficus are coarser than of other ficus, making it an interesting textural tree for indoor cultivation. The leaves of this variety are very large, some reaching as long as a foot long and 8 inches wide. Grown outdoors in its native range in Africa, this tree can reach 40 feet.
Ficus indigo can grow very well under low light levels. The leaves of this ficus variety are a very deep green. As the tree matures, the glossy leaves will change to a bluish-black. This tree can often grow to a weeping shape.