Ficus trees are very popular indoor houseplants. Ficus trees are native to tropical and warm temperate areas. Ficus can be sensitive to light, water and location, and thus require consistent care and attention. Ficus have been around for many years and are a part of many religious traditions, such as Buddhism. The Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, or Ficus religiosa.
Ficus trees extend far beyond the reaches of history. Ficus trees are estimated to have been on earth for 60 to 80 million years. The fruit of the ficus are figs, which are thought to have been one of the first fruits cultivated by humans. One of the oldest ficus trees is in Sri Lanka. That tree was planted in 288 B.C.
Ficus is a genus in the family Moraceae. There are about 755 species of tree in the genus ficus. Although many ficus are trees, a number of ficus are shrubs and vines. About 511 varieties are native to the Indo-Australian region of Asia, the Pacific islands and Australia; 132 species are native to Central and South America; and 112 species are native to Africa.
Although there are many types of ficus, they all have similar light requirements. Ficus does best when it gets some light during the day. Full sun all day isn't good for the tree; neither is full shade. A location that gets good morning sun, such as an east facing window, is ideal for many ficus.
Ficus requires a lot of water. However, allowing your ficus to dry out between waterings encourages the roots to grow stronger as they search for water. One of the biggest mistakes people make with a ficus is to over-water the tree. Ficus takes in water through its leaves and bark, so misting your ficus with each watering is a good idea.
Ficus can be very sensitive to location change. Some varieties may lose some or most of their leaves when moved to a new location. This doesn't always mean that the ficus has died. As long as the new location isn't too cold or too dark, the tree should grow new leaves as it adjusts to its new location.