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Ficus neriifolia

Previously known as:

  • Ficus gasparriniana
  • Ficus nerifolia
  • Ficus salicifolia
Description

The Willow-leaf fig is an evergreen fig tree native to China and the Himalayas where it can be found in coniferous and broadleaf forests at elevations of 2000 to 8000 feet. It can grow up to 50 feet tall in its native subtropical habitat, though it is commonly seen as an indoor bonsai. As a full grown tree, Willow-leaf fig has smooth, grey bark, leathery leaves up to 7 inches long, and produces 4 inch rounded, edible figs. The common name, Willow-leaf fig comes from the leaves similarity to weeping willows.

The Willow-leaf fig thrives in heat and humidity and you should keep it in a sunny, warm location with consistent moisture. At temperatures below 60 degree F., it will stop growing.  It tolerates pruning very well, is easily shaped, and is often kept to a height of about 3 feet. It produces aerial roots and the foliage tends to be dense, which only enhances its appeal as a bonsai. To grow as a bonsai, site it in full sun with as much humidity as possible. In spring, summer, and fall, place the bonsai on a sunny, south-facing, windowsill. In winter, when light level is low, you can use a grow light. Humidity encourages the plant to produce aerial roots.

It is often sold under a misspelling, F. nerifolia.  The larger F. gasparriniana var. laceratifolia, while now considered the same species, is often labeled as a separate plant due to its larger form and distinct leaves and fruits.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Fungus or root rot from overwatering. The plant can produce a sticky sap when cut that can be messy and irritate skin.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small tree#houseplant#bonsai#interiorscape#edible fruits#evergreen tree#pruning tolerant#container plant#accent#cpp
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small tree#houseplant#bonsai#interiorscape#edible fruits#evergreen tree#pruning tolerant#container plant#accent#cpp
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ficus
    Species:
    neriifolia
    Family:
    Moraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Foliage is used as animal fodder and the wood as fuel.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia including Bhutan, Burma, China, India, and Nepal
    Wildlife Value:
    Food source for the endangered black crested gibbon.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit develops from the same structure the flowers are held in. They are green and ovoid. The 31⁄4 to 4 inch diameter figs are rounded, oval, or cylindrical and grow in pairs off older branches.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Like other Ficus species, the flower is inverted. The reproductive structures are located within the teardrop shape.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The, hairless, long, willow-like leaves are between 3.25 and 7 inches long and 1 to 2.5 inches wide. They are often asymmetrical in shape.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Smooth, dark grey bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Humidity