Ficus plants are woody trees, shrubs and vines that are members of the Moraceae family. They produce edible or inedible figs. Ficus plants are native to tropical areas and are hardy only in the hottest USDA zones. Different types are used as houseplants and in bonsai, giving plant lovers all over the opportunity to bring the tropics into the home.
Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) is a tree that grows up to 60 feet tall and 60 to 70 feet wide. Oval- or egg-shaped evergreen leaves grow from 2 to 5 inches long on branches that resemble those of a weeping willow. The tree produces red fruits about ½ inch in diameter. Plant weeping fig in full sun or partial shade and a moist to wet, well-drained soil. The tree is hardy in USDA Zones 10B and 11. The plant is used for a houseplant, bonsai, container plant or as a hedge.
Rubber tree (Ficus elastica) is also known as India-Rubber Fig and is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 10B to 11. The tree grows from 25 to 40 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide with thick, glossy, oval-shaped evergreen leaves from 5 to 12 inches long. Plant rubber tree in full sun, partial shade or full shade and a soil that is moist to wet and well-drained. Outdoors, the tree is used as a privacy screen, patio tree, specimen tree or shade tree. Rubber tree is also used as a houseplant, a container plant or in an above-ground planter.
Creeping fig (Ficus pumila) is a climbing evergreen vine that climbs up buildings and walls to a height of 20 feet or more. Leaves start out as small and heart-shaped and become oblong and leathery, growing from 2 to 4 inches long as they age. The plant produces inedible plum-sized fruits. Plant creeping fig in full or partial shade and a soil that is moist and well drained. The plant is hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 11. The plant is also trained as a ground cover.
Fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is hardy in USDA Zones 10B and 11. The evergreen tree grows from 15 to 50 feet tall and 25 to 35 feet wide with dull green, fiddle-shaped leaves 15 inches long and 10 inches wide. The tree is used as a shade tree, specimen tree, street tree and in containers or above-ground planters. The tree produces small, green, inedible fruits. Plant fiddleleaf fig in full sun, partial shade or full shade and a moist to wet, well-drained soil. The plant is used as a specimen tree, patio tree or in a shrub grouping.