Taking Care of a Ficus Benjamina Tree

Overview

Ficus benjamina, also known as weeping fig, is a perennial shrub valued for its glossy foliage, adaptability to indoor growing conditions and ease of care. Ficus benjamina typically reaches about 5 to 6 feet in height when grown in captivity. The flexible trunk of the plant can be twisted and bent to form designs with no ill effect. Native to Asia and Africa, Ficus benjamina requires consistently warm temperatures to thrive, and it is a popular houseplant throughout the United States.

Step 1

Keep Ficus benjamina in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight throughout the day, such as a south- or west-facing window. Maintain a constant temperature of 75 to 85 degrees F during the day and 65 to 70 degrees F at night for optimal growth.

Step 2

Water about once every seven days to keep the soil consistently moist. Soak the soil thoroughly at each application until water begins to exit the bottom of the container and then drain away any excess. Reduce watering frequency to once every 10 days during winter, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications.

Step 3

Wash the foliage of Ficus benjamina once every two to three days with a clean cloth soaked in lukewarm water. Do not use cold or hot water, as this can shock the plant. Wipe the foliage gently to remove dust and any pests without damaging the leaves.

Step 4

Feed the plant once every one to two months using an all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. Apply at the rate recommended by the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. Do not fertilize during winter, when active growth has ceased and the plant needs fewer nutrients.

Step 5

Prune Ficus benjamina during late winter once every one to two years. Use pruning shears to remove all dead, damaged and diseased branches to increase aesthetic appeal and promote a compact growth habit. Cut back any overgrown branches to a desirable length.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never expose Ficus benjamina to temperatures below 55 degrees F, as this will stunt the plant's growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • Liquid houseplant fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Horticulture: Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina
  • Clemson University Extension Home & Garden Information Center: Weeping Fig
  • "The House Plant Expert"; D. G. Hessayon; 1992
Keywords: Ficus benjamina, weeping fig, Ficus benjamina care

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.