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Ficus benjamina
Ficus benjamina

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Zones 13, 23-25, 27, H1, H2
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Full, Partial
Regular Water

Ficus benjamina

Weeping Fig, Benjamin Tree
Evergreen, Trees


The average gardener would never expect to find the commercial edible fig, small-leafed climbing fig, banyan tree, and potted rubber tree under one heading—but they are classed together because they bear small or large figs (inedible in most species). Ornamental types are discussed here; for sorts grown for tasty fruit, see Fig. Many ornamental species make good houseplants. Generally, they thrive on rich, steadily moist (not wet) soil, frequent light feedings, and bright, indirect light.

Ficus benjamina

From India and Malaysia. One of the most popular house plants, this is easily held to 7 ft. high and 4 ft. wide indoors. Outside, it's large: In Hawaii, it's fast growing to 60 ft. tall with an even greater spread. Good shade or specimen tree for larger gardens or parks, since it requires space for its invasive surface root system. In Southern California and Arizona, plant reaches about half the size it does in Hawaii and is often used as entryway or patio tree; also good as screen, espalier, or clipped hedge. Leathery, 5-in.-long, shiny green leaves densely clothe drooping branches.

New plants are easy to start from cuttings taken between late spring and early summer. Give a frost-free, wind-protected location in sun or shade. 

Sudden leaf shedding is a common problem, often resulting from plant being moved to a new location. If shedding begins shortly after a move, be patient; leaves usually grow back. If leaves that fall are green, insufficient water is another possible cause; try to keep soil evenly moist. If fallen leaves are yellow, overwatering may be to blame. If shedding is accompanied by sweet smell and sticky leaves, look for and control scale insects.

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