Ficus Benjamin is certainly one of the favorite plants all around and deserves to be taken care of diligently.
Name – Ficus benjamin
Family – Moraceae (mulberry family)
Type – indoor plant
Height – 10 feet (3 meters) indoors, 100 feet (30 meters) outdoors
Soil – indoor plant soil mix
Exposure – bright light but no direct sunlight
Foliage – evergreen
More about Ficus Benjamin
This Ficus is the most common indoor shrub.
It is appreciated for its aesthetic appeal but also for its highly adaptive survival traits that let it thrive in the most varied settings of our homes, apartments and offices.
The term Ficus means fig and there are over 1000 different species that have evolved into different shapes, some of them shrubs, some of them trees, and others closer even to vines.
In the Western world, about two dozen varieties are available for sale for indoor use, and the most common and famous of these is Ficus Benjamin. But also interesting is the Ficus elastica, known under the name rubber ficus and also Ficus retusa, often grown as a small bonsai.
Great tips to take care of your precious decorative green friend
Place your Ficus Benjamin in a bright room, but not in direct sunlight
Ficus enjoys light, sure. Still, bear in mind that direct sunlight, especially if the plant is moved outdoors in the hot summer days, may result in scalding of the leaves and leaf loss. A full sun-drenched day out might damage even the healthiest Ficus tree. It is best to keep it near a window, and regularly rotate the vase so that the full foliage can benefit from the sun rays previously screened by the glass surface. Just remember: speaking of Ficus Benjamin, dropping or yellowing leaves is then caused by unlucky placements inside your flat.
Avoid temperature inversions
It being a tropical plant, Ficus Benjamin needs warm and humid weather. Although it is quite hard to duplicate Bangkok’s dumpy weather in our apartment, we can be sure that, as soon as the plant is kept indoors, it will be fine. Ideal temperatures range from 18 to 22 degrees, so be careful in winter!
Water it frequently, but not too much
When it comes to water, the Ficus Benjamin shows a quite peculiar feature: it is subject to root rot. So if in doubt, Melius deficere Quam abundare! Seen that the exact amount of water depends on the temperature factor, we might generally conclude that abundant watering is recommended in summer (at least once a week). With increasingly colder temps, watering shall be progressively reduced: to put it simply, if temps fall to 10 degrees, a monthly watering session is just enough.
Ficus Benjamin “drinks” from its leaves
You heard it right. As any respectable tropical plant out there, also Ficus Benjamin gets all needed water supply from both rainwater and atmospheric humidity. It is important to spray or sponge water onto the Ficus leaves, so that – apart from washing the dust off and polishing the surface – the plant would be perfectly hydrated (especially in winter, when house heating significantly lowers the humidity level). Sponging is also useful to get rid of “red spider” mites, which makes leaves turn yellow and drop.
Choose the right type of soil and dung it regularly
Indoor ficus performs best when provided with regular applications of soluble fertilizer to replenish the nutrients in the potting. Although a robust, time-resistant plant able to adapt to poor soil, Ficus Benjamin enjoys humus-rich moist best. In order to avoid root rot, the plant shall not be sitting on the water and be regularly nurtured with fertilizer once a month. It is the best to keep the soil most from drying out or soaking wet by cleaning all holes of the container adequately or putting a layer of pebbles and crocks at the bottom of the vase (an easy, efficient shot!).
Diseases that impact ficus trees
Ficus trees are vulnerable to mistakes made while growing it, and to certain insects and parasites. Here are the main mistakes that must be avoided and how to treat a diseased ficus tree.
Ficus losing its leaves
Quite common for ficus trees, this is normal as long as the loss is regular and not too many leaves are falling.
If your ficus lost its leaves, check that it is well watered, and eventually proceed to topdress the pot.
- This may also be connected to a change of pots or of place.
- It may also lack light, in which case you must provide more light to it.
- Finally, the ficus tree hates drafts and that may be enough to cause it to lose its leaves.
Ficus Benjamin leaves turn yellow
This is often caused by a mite attack.
- Simply treat it with organic mite killer sold in horticulture stores.
- Avoid other chemical products, especially for an indoor plant.
White blisters appear on leaves and get all sticky
This is usually due to mealybugs or scale insects. The ficus tree’s leaves are covered in sticky white blobs.
White flies invade the ficus tree
These are whiteflies. Shower off your ficus in the bathroom, that should solve the problem.
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But if you can’t move your ficus around easily, spray water on the leaves once or twice a day until the whiteflies disappear.
Pruning Ficus Benjamin
Many seem to say that Ficus trees hate pruning; actually, the opposite is true: ficus bears pruning very well. If it has grown too tall, or has invaded your living room, simply prune the ficus tree.
Reach for your hand pruner and follow our advice:
- You can prune once a year in any particular season.
- No need to cut the tree back severely, light pruning is enough.
- It will help the foliage grow more dense and beautiful.