How to Take Care of a Ficus Benjamina

Overview

Ficus benjamina, an elegant houseplant with pale gray bark and shiny green leaves, has the potential to grow as tall as a small tree if left un-pruned. Because of its curved branches, ficus benjamina is also known as weeping fig. Although ficus benjamina has a reputation for being a fussy plant that will drop its leaves in response to stress, ficus is relatively easy to grow if a few basic requirements are followed.

Step 1

Place ficus benjamina in bright but indirect light. Put the plant 3 or 4 feet away from a sunny window, or next to a window covered with a sheer curtain. During the short days of winter, it's safe to place the plant closer to the sunny window.

Step 2

Keep ficus benjamina in a warm room. Daytime temperatures should be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees lower. Avoid placing ficus benjamina near drafty doors or windows, air conditioner vents and heating vents.

Step 3

Water the ficus benjamina deeply, then don't water again until the top of the potting soil feels dry to the touch. Be sure the pot has a drainage hole, and never allow the bottom of the pot to remain in standing water. Water the plant sparingly during the winter months.

Step 4

Mist the ficus benjamina once or twice a week, using a bottle with a fine sprayer, filled with room-temperature water. Misting is especially important during dry weather.

Step 5

Fertilize ficus benjamina monthly, using a liquid houseplant fertilizer applied according to the package recommendations. Don't fertilize the plant during the winter months.

Step 6

Prune the ficus benjamina as needed to maintain the desired size and shape. Keep the ficus neat and tidy. Remove dead and yellow leaves, and don't allow them to pile up in the container, as debris can attract pests and rot.

Step 7

Wash the plant's leaves occasionally, using a soft cloth dipped in warm water. Washing the leaves will keep the leaves shiny, but will also allow the leaves to breath.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid houseplant fertilizer
  • Pruners

References

  • University of Nebraska: Weeping Fig, Ficus benjamina
  • Texas A&M: Weeping Fig, Benjamin Fig, Ficus benjamina
  • Green ZoneLife: Ficus Benjamina
Keywords: ficus benjamina, weeping fig, ficus, houseplant

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.