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Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina

Phonetic Spelling
FY-kus ben-jah-MEE-nah
Description

The weeping fig is a member of the Moraceae (fig) family. A broadleaf evergreen, it is native to southeastern Asia and Australia, with its range extending into the southwestern Pacific. The tree may reach a height of 40 to 50 feet and a spread of 25 to 30 feet. As a houseplant, however, it is usually kept in the range of 2 to 10 feet tall.

This ficus performs best in bright indirect sunny locations but will also survive in shade. It is very sensitive to light, so if the plant is moved, it may drop leaves and produce new ones that are accustomed to the new light conditions. It grows well in a soil-based potting mix. Water just often enough to keep the soil from completely drying out. It is intolerant to cold and should be kept away from drafts. Light pruning for shape and size is best done in late autumn or winter. It may benefit from light fertilization after new shoots form and at the end of summer

The weeping fig is a very popular houseplant because of its attractive appearance, low maintenance, and tolerance of poor growing conditions, and its stems may be intertwined for an interesting effect. Indoors it is usually grown in large containers, thus dwarf forms may be better suited in this setting. Miniature cultivars like ‘Too Little' are popular for bonsai.

Outdoors this tree may be grown as a specimen plant or a focal point in a tropical garden.  It tolerates shearing so is often seen pruned into a hedge or a rounded shrub, though this heavy pruning decreases the longevity of the plant.  

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaf is elliptic with long, acuminate tip
  • Interior tree has drooping branches
  • Stems are flexuous and are often braided/trained

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Watch for scale, aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and spider mites. Some dieback and leaf spots may occur.  Very frost sensitive.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Danielle'
  • 'Exotica'
  • 'Golden King'
  • 'Naomi'
  • 'Too Little'
    Dwarf popular for bonsai
  • 'Variegata'
'Danielle', 'Exotica', 'Golden King', 'Naomi', 'Too Little', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#small tree#houseplant#specimen#bonsai#low light#tough plant#bright light#interiorscape#hedges#fantz#shiny leaves#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-h#problem for dogs#problem for horses#tropical feel#container plant#hsc#hsc-f#insect problems#lenticles
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Danielle'
  • 'Exotica'
  • 'Golden King'
  • 'Naomi'
  • 'Too Little'
    Dwarf popular for bonsai
  • 'Variegata'
'Danielle', 'Exotica', 'Golden King', 'Naomi', 'Too Little', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#small tree#houseplant#specimen#bonsai#low light#tough plant#bright light#interiorscape#hedges#fantz#shiny leaves#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-h#problem for dogs#problem for horses#tropical feel#container plant#hsc#hsc-f#insect problems#lenticles
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ficus
    Species:
    benjamina
    Family:
    Moraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical & Subtropical Asia and Northern Australia
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-trunked
    Weeping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    24-60 feet
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Green
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Flowers and fruits are enclosed in a fleshy sac that turns from green to orange-red to red and then purplish black. A globose to slightly oblong fig, in pairs, green maturing to reddish then purple-black.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Black
    Green
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers and fruits are enclosed in a fleshy sac that turns from green to orange-red to red and then purplish black. Minute, unisexual, enclosed in fleshy receptacle (fig), entered by apical orifice and pollinated by fig wasps.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, long-tipped, and glossy, 2-5 in. Ovate-elliptic to oblong, acuminate, rotund, entire, glabrous, coriaceous, 8-12 pairs of lateral veins. Folded in towards the midrib and droop down towards the ground. Variegated cultivars exist.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Lenticels
    Bark Description:
    Raised lenticels, sometimes with adventitious roots. Newer stems have small furrows.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Drooping branches slender; older specimens with pendulous aerial roots.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses