Botanical Name: Ficus binnendiijkii 'Alii'
Ficus Alii doesn't exist in the wild. 'Alii' is a fairly new cultivar and makes a handsome indoor tree.
The long, narrow leaves are naturally glossy and taper to a point. As this ficus tree grows, it may drop its lower leaves revealing a bare woody trunk, giving this tree a palm-like appearance. Sometimes its trunks are braided by growers making it look like a topiary. It makes a bold statement in any brightly lit room.
Care is easier than for many of its relatives. You'll find it's less temperamental than F. benjamina, that drops its leaves when it doesn't get what it wants. However, leaf drop is possible with 'Alii' if it doesn't get enough light and regular waterings.
Repot only when necessary in spring, using the smallest pot that will contain its roots. Ficus plants are slow-growing and prefer to be slightly pot-bound. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.
Ficus Alii seems resistant to pests. However, watch for whiteflies and scale insects that tend to bother ficus plants. Treat any infestation immediately.
You'll find alii ficus plants for sale in garden centers or online nurseries in spring and summer. Although this exciting hybrid has only been available for a few years, they're becoming popular because of their adaptability to growing indoors.
And good for you, too. Ficus are among the best for improving air quality indoors. They're triumphant in removing toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from tainted indoor air.
Height: Up to 10 ft (3 m) indoors. Pruning ficus will control its size.
Light: Give Ficus binnendiijkii bright light year-round. It's not as fussy about being moved around as other ficus house plants, but it may drop leaves if suddenly moved into a shady corner or full sun.
Water: Water soil thoroughly, then allow top 1 in (2.5 cm) to dry out between waterings. Use lukewarm water because cold water may cause leaf loss. Avoid using softened water -- it contains salts which can harm ficus plants.
Humidity: Average room humidity (around 40-50% relative humidity). Take a look at these easy ways to increase humidity for your houseplants.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C.
Soil: Good-quality potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every other month spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Stem tip cuttings and air layering. Propagating ficus trees is not easy for the amateur to do at home. These trees are slow to root from either method.