A guide to Ficus Benjamina Care
The Ficus Benjamina is a great house plant for beginners and enthusiasts alike. Its slender branches arch gracefully from a light gray trunk that is sometimes braided to improve its ornamental value. With dense, glossy dark-green, broad leaves this evergreen houseplant is a common sight in home and office design.
The overall effect is a houseplant that has gently downward facing foliage that give the Ficus Benjamina its common name of the ‘weeping fig’ When grown indoors, this plant is normally pruned to keep them around three feet to six feet tall.
What kind of soil does my Ficus Benjamina need?
The main thing to consider when potting your Ficus Benjamina in new soil is that it has a good balance between water retention and drainage. The best combination is a potting soil that contains perlite, sand and vermiculite. The soil doesn’t need to be high in any specific vitamins or nutrients for your Ficus to thrive.
How much light does my Ficus Benjamina need?
The Ficus Benjamina is a tropical houseplant that can be found in the wild growing under the canopies of larger trees. It has adapted to these conditions so should be put in a location that receives bright, but indirect sunlight throughout the day.
To keep your plant’s growth and colour even, you should rotate the plant pot by 90 degrees each week to ensure even coverage. You can judge if your Weeping Fig is getting enough light by looking at the leaves: if they are drooping they need more light, if they go yellow or start to blister they are receiving too much light
How often should I water my Ficus Benjamina?
The main thing to keep in mind when watering your Ficus Benjamina is consistency as it is very sensitive to change. In the wild this plant will shed its leaves at the beginning of the dry season so any change will cause it to lose its foliage. You should water your plant just enough that the soil remains moist, but not wet. Any standing water in the pot will cause root rot that will damage and eventually kill the plant.
Do I need to fertilize my Ficus Benjamina?
The Ficus Benjamina will need plenty of feeding throughout the growing period to replicate the soil of its native soil. You can feed regularly with a diluted liquid fertilizer once every two weeks, but for better and more consistent results you should feed with slow-release fertilizer pellets in the spring which should last throughout the year. If your plant is fed, but the leaves continue to droop you may need to supplement with small amounts of magnesium and manganese.
Pruning Ficus Benjamina
You should prune your Ficus tree once a year to maintain good, even growth and more regularly to remove dying or diseased growth. The Weeping Fig is prone to suffering from injury so make sure you always use sterilized shears, and only prune when the p[lant is dormant. The ficus benjamina goes dormant when the temperature changes in late autumn-winter. At this time you should remove any spent or discolored foliage, and remove dead branches.
How much humidity and heat does my Ficus Benjamina need?
The Ficus Benjamina should be kept at an ideal temperature between 18 and 21 degrees celsius. They can survive slightly higher temperatures, but will decline quickly in colder temperatures. You should do your best to maintain a constant temperature in your room so avoid placing it near radiators or cold draughts.
The Ficus is a tropical houseplant that is native to the more humid areas around the world. It has adapted to thrive in high humidity environments so would make an ideal house plant for the kitchen or bathroom. Low humidity can cause the leaves to shrivel up and drop off. If your plant is not in a naturally humid room you should mist the leaves regularly with water or place your plant on a pebble tray.
What diseases or pests affect Ficus Benjamina?
Root rot - root rot is caused when the soil is too wet for a long period of time. The first sign of root rot in your Ficus is that it drops its leaves without any warning. This may be caused by other reasons, so if you suspect root rot you can check by gently listing the plant from the soil to check the roots.
Healthy roots are white and stiff, but infected roots will be black, discolored and smell rotten. To fix this issue you will need to prune away any affected roots and repot the plant into new soil. If you catch the problem in time it is easy to fix, but may cause some stress to your plant.
Fungal disease - The Ficus is prone to fungal infections and diseases when being pruned. You will first notice this as white, sometimes hairy, spots on the stems. To solve this issue you should immediately remove any part of the plant that has been affected with sterilized shears. If the disease continues to spread you may have to spray your plant with a houseplant friendly fungicide.
White fly - Whiteflies are sap-drinking flies that infest the leaves of plants. They are easily identified as they will climb over and lay their eggs on the leaves. If not dealt with, these plants can quickly slow down the growth of your plant and cause damage to the leaves. To remove a whitefly infestation, spray the plant with water or a houseplant friendly insecticide until they disappear.
How often should I repot my Ficus Benjamina?
If given good growing conditions, the ficus is a fast-growing houseplant that will outgrow its pot quicker than some other plants. On average you will need to repot your Ficus every two to three years when your pot grows too small for your plant. You can tell that your plant has outgrown its pot when its growth slows. Choose a pot that is one to two inches wider than your current one.
Fill the bottom of the new pot with soil with a small mound in the middle. Remove the Ficus from the old pot and loosen the soil around the roots. Place the plant in the new pot with the roots down the side of the mound. Pack new soil around the roots and water the plant well. In the first few weeks after repotting, the plant may droop slightly as it gets used to its new environment.