How to Care for a Ficus Benjamina

Overview

Ficus benjamina, also known as weeping fig, is a popular houseplant grown for its attractive foliage, delicate branches and ease of care. More varieties of Ficus benjamina are available than any other type of ficus tree, although all types have wavy, glossy leaves that are prone to drop when the plant moves locations. With proper care, however, weeping fig plants produce new foliage quickly. Gardeners maintain Ficus benjamina as a small, medium or large tree, depending on the space available for growth. The tree requires warm temperatures to thrive and grows almost exclusively as a houseplant in the United States.

Step 1

Keep Ficus benjamina in a location that receives bright, medium light throughout the day, such as a south-facing window. Maintain a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Step 2

Water whenever the soil is dry to the touch, about once every week. Soak the soil at each application until water begins to leak out of the bottom of the container. Reduce watering frequency to once every two weeks during winter.

Step 3

Feed once every three to four weeks during spring and summer using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Reduce fertilizing frequency to once every six weeks during fall. Do not fertilize during winter, when the plant is dormant.

Step 4

Prune once each year during late winter before active growth resumes in spring. Use pruning shears to cut back excessively long, damaged or diseased branches to promote a compact growth habit and improve the aesthetic appearance of the plant.

Step 5

Re-pot Ficus benjamina once every three years to provide fresh soil and plenty of room for growth. Increase the size of the container by 2 to 3 inches. Use a growing medium made of one part potting soil, one part peat moss and one part coarse sand.

Tips and Warnings

  • Any stress including over-watering, under-watering, drafts, insufficient lighting and moving to a new location may cause Ficus benjamina to drop its leaves. Keep the plant in a constant location with consistent amounts of light, water and heat to prevent foliage from dropping. Leaves often naturally drop in fall and winter regardless of care, but new growth will replace the lost foliage in spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand

References

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Weeping Fig, Ficus Benjamina
  • University of Minnesota Extension Service: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs and Other Friendly Ficus
  • Colorado State University Extension: Ficus Benjamina: Dropping Leaves
Keywords: Ficus benjamina, weeping fig, care for a Ficus benjamina

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.