Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina
Weeping fig is the most popular indoor tree from the Moraceae family.
Its branches droop downward from woody stems, covered with glossy, pointed 2-4 in (5-10 cm) leaves which become darker green as the plant ages.
This fig tree makes a statement in any brightly lit room. Growers sometimes braid its trunks for a decorative topiary look.
These ficus trees are slow-growing, but can grow to 10 ft indoors. Dwarf varieties only reach 3 ft (90 cm) tall. You can prune tall branches to control the plant's height.
Watering tip: Weeping fig tree is sensitive to chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals often found in tap water, as well as the salt in softened water. Use only distilled or filtered water, or allow tap water to sit overnight so the chemicals will dissipate.
This is a plant that doesn't like change. Place your ficus in bright, indirect light and leave it there. It's known to drop its leaves when moved around. Keep it away from drafts. Blasts of hot or cold air from doorways or vents will also cause leaf drop. If this happens, don't worry. With good care it will grow new leaves in spring and summer.
In early fall, expect it to drop quite a few leaves. This is normal. You can help prevent the tree from losing too many leaves by misting it to increase humidity. Also, don't be tempted to overwater a shedding plant, which makes the problem worse.
Weeping fig is a long-lived house plant. Give it what it wants and you'll enjoy it for many, many years.
Origin: Southeast Asia and Northern Australia
Height: Up to 10 ft (3 m)
Light: Bright light
Water: Water thoroughly, then allow to dry out slightly between waterings. This plant will not tolerate soggy soil. Keep soil slightly drier in winter, when light levels are lower.
Humidity: Moderate to high. If the relative humidity drops below 40%, you'll want to raise the humidity for your plant.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F, 16-24°C
Soil: Soilless potting mix or any that drains well.
Fertilizer: Feed once a month spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take tip cuttings in spring.
The best time to repot is in spring before new growth begins. Because this tree is slow-growing, repotting is only needed every 3-4 years.
Weeping fig is one of the best plants for improving air quality indoors. It has one of the top removal rates of toxins like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene from tainted indoor air.
Some nurseries offer fancy cultivars of this popular house plant:
F. benjamina 'Indigo' and 'Midnight' have dark-green, glossy leaves.
'Monique' has wavy leaves.
A few of the many variegated cultivars include 'Starlight' with dark-green leaves edged in creamy white...'Silver Cloud' delicately edged with white...and 'Variegata' broadly variegated with creamy yellow.
Some Ficus species are popular to grow as bonsai trees. Want to know more? Take a look at Ficus Bonsai.