You may cry tears of joy after welcoming the Ficus benjamina or Weeping Fig into your home. This small tree is a classic houseplant and is often found in homes, offices, and waiting rooms, where its slender branches and glossy leaves put on a stunning display. The Weeping Fig is lovely to admire, but it’s also easy to maintain, making it a good choice for relatively new plant owners with some experience. Learn all about Ficus benjamina care.
Get to Know Benjamina
The Ficus benjamina is also known as the Weeping Fig due to its gently arched branches. This plant often turns up in stores labeled simply as a ficus. The Weeping Fig naturally lives in tropical rainforests throughout India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Southern China, Papua New Guinea, and Australia.
Plants in nature can stand 60 feet high, while houseplants are often 3 to 6 feet tall. The gray-hued trunks os often braided. Braiding is done when the plant is young and more pliable, and this practice adds texture and dimension.
The ovate foliage is broad at the base and narrows to a point. Young leaves often have muted colors and a wavy texture but become smooth and glossy with age. The Ficus benjamina has solid green leaves, while cultivars like the Ficus benjamina variegata and Ficus benjamina ‘Starlight’ have medium to dark green leaves with creamy white or yellow tinted margins.
The Ficus benjamina likes to stay put. Moving the plant throughout your home can be stressful, and this plant drops leaves when it’s stressed. Most houseplants can handle some trial and error and are okay being relocated throughout a home, but ficus trees are not like that.
The ideal location will have the proper sunlight and humidity, but it will also be in a low-traffic area. Tucked into a sunny far corner, away from exterior doors and any household hustle, is a good spot. Busy areas, like entryways and kitchens, are seldom a good fit. Do your best to find the ideal place in your home from the start. Be patient and give the plant time to acclimate because even the journey from the store to your home can be stressful. Once the plant has settled in, consider making that spot its permanent home.
Weeping Fig Light Needs
The Ficus benjamina is one of those rare houseplants that can handle direct sunlight, but only in limited amounts. Bright, indirect sunlight is necessary for this looker to thrive, and some early morning direct sunlight will not harm the tree. Afternoon direct light can be more intense and may burn the foliage. Variegated varieties will lose some of their vibrancy if they receive anything less than bright, indirect sunlight.
Give the container a quarter turn every couple weeks so each side is routinely bathed in sunlight. Rotating the pot will help the tree grow a full and lush canopy and maintain an upright growth habit.
How Often to Water Ficus Benjamina
Watering can be a tricky part of Ficus benjamina care, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This houseplant likes damp conditions, but it never wants to be soggy or stuck in standing water. Feel the potting mix and water when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry. The potting mix further down in the container can be damp, but the top layer should be dry. Dormant plants need water less often, so scale back on the watering frequency throughout the fall and winter.
Water the Weeping Fig until all the soil is damp and extra water runs through the drainage holes. Remove excess water from the cover pot or saucer to avoid the soil reabsorbing the moisture.
Water Stress Signs
Overwatered Weeping Figs will develop yellow leaf tips followed by the foliage dropping. Underwatered plants will experience dry, curled leaves that will also fall. Save an overwatered plant by allowing the top few inches of soil to dry out before giving the plant water. Give an underwatered plant a drink immediately. Let the plant soak for about 10 minutes if the soil is dry and hard.
Best Soil for Ficus
Give the Weeping Fig rich, well-drained potting mix. This houseplant is not picky about the pH, and it will do well as long as the mix sheds excess water. Most ready-made general potting mixes work well for ficus trees.
Temperature for Weeping Fig
Warm conditions are a must for Ficus benjamina, which is not a problem inside most homes. Temperatures between 65° to 85° F are best. The ideal temperature will be on the high end of this range during the day and stick to the low end overnight.
Keep the plant away from areas prone to temperature fluctuations, like exterior doors, windows that are routinely opened (even if for part of the year), and heating or cooling vents, including window air conditioners. Plants that experience temperature swings may lose leaves.
Ficus Benjamina Humidity Needs
High humidity from 50% to 75% is best for Ficus benjamina care. This plant hails from tropical rainforests, so it likes damp air. The leaves will dry, shrivel, and curl if the humidity is too low. Increase the air moisture with a pebble tray or humidifier if you notice signs of low humidity. Try to be proactive and address the humidity before the plant shows signs of stress, if possible.
Weeping Fig Fertilizer Tips
Ficus benjamina plants are heavy feeders and need routine fertilizer applications during the growing season. Fertilize the Ficus benjamina every four weeks during the spring and summer using balanced, water-soluble plant food.
Does Ficus Benjamina Bloom?
Weeping Fig trees bloom, but it’s rare for houseplants to do so. Landscape plants are more likely to bloom, while the conditions inside a home are simply not conducive to blooming.
Ficus Pruning Tips
Pruning is necessary to ensure a healthy and thriving Ficus benjamina continues to fit inside your home. Trim the plant to reduce its height and improve its shape during the winter, when it is dormant. Remove dead or damaged growth at any time. The Ficus benjamina is a broadleaf evergreen, but houseplants will experience leaf drop, so remove dead foliage to keep the plant tidy.
When to Repot Weeping Fig
The Ficus benjamina is a fast grower, so plan to repot this plant annually. The start of the growing season is the best time to repot, although any time when the plant is actively growing works well. You’ll know your ficus is ready for a new container when growth slows, or you see roots growing through the drainage holes.
Ficus Benjamina Propagation
Propagate Ficus benjamina from stem cuttings. Take a stem cutting from the end of a branch. Each cutting should measure at least a few inches long and have a couple of sets of leaves. Remove the lower leaves and place the cut end in sphagnum moss. Tent the cutting in plastic or put it in a greenhouse to create a humid environment. Roots will grow in about a month. Transplant the cutting to potting mix a couple of weeks later.
Is Ficus Benjamina Pet Safe?
The Ficus benjamina is not pet-safe. Eating or chewing on a Weeping Fig can cause a cat or dog to become ill. Pets often experience gastrointestinal distress and skin irritation after eating leaves or branches of a Weeping Fig.
Weeping Fig Styling Tips
The Ficus benjamina has plenty of style to elevate a space. The tall tree is a good choice for a room with high ceilings, while the leafy canopy creates a cozy vibe in a room with a standard 8-foot ceiling. Select a natural or subdued container to coordinate with this plant’s classic good looks. A plant stand works well for young plants and creates the illusion of a larger plant.
Ficus Benjamina Care Tips
The Ficus benjamina has some quirks regarding temperature fluctuations, but this plant is relatively easy to maintain. It’s not necessarily the best choice for a first-time plant owner, but for someone with some houseplant experience looking for a small indoor tree, the Weeping Fig is a good fit. Ficus benjamina care is straightforward, and as long as the plant receives plenty of sunlight and humidity, it will do very well.