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Ficus Benjamina Care – Best Kept Secrets!

Ficus Benjamina Care – Best Kept Secrets!

The Ficus Benjamina is commonly known by several names such as Weeping Fig, Ficus tree, or Benjamin fig.

This plant is a popular choice amongst plant enthusiasts because it is tolerant to poor growing conditions.

 

 

Ficus Benjamina Care

The Ficus Benjamina enjoys being kept under bright indirect or filtered light. This plant cannot survive in temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) and must always be kept in high humidity levels of up to sixty percent. It can be grown outdoors in USDA Zone 10 to 12.

The Ficus Benjamina plant is often sold under the name “Ficus,” and it is a species of the flowering plant from the Moraceae family. This plant is native to Australia as well as Asia.

 

Basic Plant Care for Ficus Benjamina

 

Soil

The Ficus Benjamina plant likes to be kept in soil that is fast draining. This is because Ficus Benjamina does not require soil that is high in nutrients or organic materials.

When you create or buy the soil for your Ficus Benjamina, make sure it contains:

  • Perlite
  • Sand
  • Vermiculite

All of these elements allow your soil to be well-draining and reduce the chances of root rotting.

 

Water

Many plants demand to be watered every day; however, the Ficus Benjamina plant is known to be drought resistant, and that is why it is recommended to beginner plant owners.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Make sure you do not let your plant sit in water, or else the leaves of your plant will start to drop.

This is because it can also cause the roots to rot. The Ficus Benjamina drops its leaves at the start of the dry season, which is why it is sensitive to sudden changes in moisture.

To know when to water your plant, simply take your index finger and insert it one inch deep into the soil. If the soil is dried up till there, then it is time to water your plant again.

 

Light

This plant likes to be kept in a bright room under indirect sunlight. However, providing your Ficus Benjamina plant with direct sunlight in the morning, only for a few hours, will promote growth.

Benjamina grows under semi-shady conditions in its native habitat, but when grown indoors, you must provide it with bright indirect sunlight.

This indoor plant does not like to be moved around, and it can drop leaves if it is moved from one place to another. This is why it is important to find the right spot and let it stay there.

 

Temperature

Ficus Benjamina is capable of surviving in temperatures ranging from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius).

During the nighttime, it is best to keep your Ficus Benjamina under temperatures ranging from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius).

You can keep your Ficus at 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during summer (23 to 29 degrees Celsius).

You must make sure to never use heavy air conditioning during the summers since Ficus Benjamina suffer if indoor temperatures drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can control your indoor temperature by setting up a thermostat that will regulate your home temperature.

 

Humidity

The Ficus Benjamina plant prefers to be kept under high humidity levels since it comes from a tropical area. If the humidity indoors becomes too dry, then your plant will begin to lose its leaves.

Make sure that you keep the humidity levels between 60 to 80 percent. You can regulate humidity levels by using a humidifier.

You can also occasionally mist the leaves of your plant or keep a tray filled with water and pebbles present in it.

Once the water from the water tray evaporates, it will start to increase the humidity levels around your plant.

 

Fertilizer

Ficus requires a lot of fertilizer during its growing season as it is a heavy feeder. You must feed your plant with slow releasing pallets at the beginning of its growing season.

The Ficus Benjamina is a rapid grower and will benefit if you fertilize it in the spring and the summer season.

You can also fertilize Ficus Benjamina after every two months in the fall and winter.

The best fertilizer is a balanced one, such as an 8:8:8 fertilizer.

 

Repotting

A healthy and fast-growing Ficus Benjamina will need a lot of attention when it comes to repotting. If you start to notice that your Ficus is growing slowly, then it is probably time to change its pot.

The choice of repotting your plant depends on you and what your growing standards are. The Benjamina plant can be grown as topiary, braided standards, bonsai, and even a regular houseplant.

However, regardless of how you grow your plant, you will need to repot it, especially if it has started to grow slowly. You should repot your Ficus Benjamina when you notice that:

  • The roots have started coming out from the drainage holes.
  • It looks weak, or the foliage is wilting.

 

The Ficus Benjamina plant must be repotted every year when kept indoors. To repot your Ficus Benjamina, follow these steps:

  • Carefully remove your Ficus Benjamina from the existing pot.
  • Do not tug on your Ficus Benjamina; you must squeeze both sides of the container and turn it upside down. Tugging on it can damage the flowers and the foliage.
  • Tap on the bottom side of the pot to loosen the plant, and then proceed to gently pull it out.
  • Take a new pot that is slightly larger than the root
  • You should then place a one-inch (2.5 centimeters) layer of rock at the bottom of the pot. This will promote drainage.
  • Then add in the new soil mix of perlite, vermiculite, and sand.
  • Place your plant into the soil and water it.

 

Pruning

Pruning your Ficus Benjamina is necessary if it has become too large or does not look neat. Timing is important when it comes to pruning, and you must prune Ficus Benjamina when it is no longer actively growing.

This leafy friend is actively growing during the spring and summer seasons. This is why you should prune it during the winter season since it will be dormant and less susceptible to injury while pruning.

To prune your plant, follow these steps:

  • Take a sharp sheer and sanitize it. Sanitizing it will prevent the plant from developing fungal infections and stop the spread of diseases.
  • Then start to prune away any dead leaves, branches, and flowers.
  • You can also prune off a few stems if the plant has become too large. Make sure to prune the stem just before the growth node so that new growth will sprout there.

 

Propagation

The Ficus Benjamina is easy to propagate from stem cuttings, even without the use of a rooting hormone. It is best that you take a stem cutting during the spring season as you can easily supply it with warmth and moisture.

Ficus Benjamina rarely grows from seeds when placed indoors, and indoor Ficus Benjamina rarely ever grows fruits or yields seeds.

To propagate your FIcus, follow these steps:

  • Take a cutting that is at least 3-5 inches long and has at least two to three sets of leaves. Make the cut one by the fourth inch below the leaves.
  • Remove any leaves present on the lower half of the cutting. You can also coat the cut end with rooting hormone, but this is not necessary.
  • Insert the cut end of the cutting into a pot that is filled with moist peat moss.
  • Cover the pot with a plastic bag and make sure the plastic bag does not touch any part of the cutting.
  • Tie the bag around the bottom of the pot.
  • Place your pot in an area where there is bright indirect sunlight present.
  • Make sure to keep the temperature at 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) or above.
  • Mist the cutting every day to keep the humidity levels high and moisten the soil if it feels dry from the top.
  • In two to four weeks, your cutting will develop roots, and you can cut slits on the bag to allow the plant to get used to room conditions.
  • After about six weeks, you can transplant the cutting into a six-inch pot and allow it to grow into a small tree.

 

Blooms

The Ficus Benjamina has flowers that do not look like flowers. This is because the flower is known as a “false fruit” that contains both a tiny male and female organ.

Once pollination occurs, this false fruit turns into a small fig. The false fruit color can range from yellow to red.

However, indoor Ficus Benjamina is known to rarely flower as providing it with the optimum conditions is difficult indoors. But it does not mean that it is impossible to do so.

 

Growth

The Ficus Benjamina has stunning glossy green leaves, and it eventually grows into a small shrub or tree. The pointed leaves present on this plant can approximately grow up to four inches long and three inches wide.

Once this plant has matured, it can grow up to three to six feet tall indoors. But if grown outdoors, it can grow up to sixty feet tall.

The branches and leaves can often arch over, and the trunk can grow in a twisted form similar to Banyan trees.

This gives the plant a stunning look and can be the most eye-catching plant in your collection.

 

Common Problems for Ficus Benjamina

 

Mealybugs

Mealybugs often attack indoor plants such as the Ficus Benjamina. Once spotted, it is important to get rid of them immediately as they can spread out to other plants as well.

Mealybugs are known to grow fast in number, which makes them harder to deal with once their population grows.

However, if you spot them early, then this process becomes much easier.

Make sure your check under the leaves of your Ficus Benjamina as mealybugs love to remain in hard-to-spot areas.

They are not visible to the naked eye, but if observed closely, you can spot white appearances on the plant.

These white appearances on the plant can be mealybugs. To remove them, simply take a cotton swab and apply alcohol to it.

Wipe down all of the plant’s leaves with the alcohol swab to get rid of every mealybug. You can also use organic solutions such as neem oil since this is less harmful to the plant.

Once you have wiped down every leaf, spray pesticide on the plant and keep a close eye on your Ficus Benjamina.

 

Whiteflies

Whiteflies are another pest that often attacks indoor plants, such as the Ficus Benjamina. These insects love to suck out the sap from your plant and also like to hide on the bottom side of the leaves.

You can get rid of whiteflies by gently shaking the infested plant. But it is important to do this in an area where other plants are not present.

Whiteflies will damage your plant no matter what stage of growth they are in. They do this by sucking out all of the nutrients in the plant and can cause stunted growth.

Because of these insects, your plant can become weak, and this can lead to further diseases. Once whiteflies are done feeding on your plant, they will leave honeydew behind.

This honeydew attracts other insects or causes fungal growth, which is why it is important to wipe down your leaves with neem oil.

 

Scale

Scales are some of the hardest pests to spot on plants, especially those with an abundance of leaves, such as the Ficus Benjamina. These pests are difficult to get rid of since they have armor that protects them from pesticides.

Thus, killing them with pesticide spray is extremely hard since the spray does not go through the armor. The best way to get rid of scales is by removing them by hand.

This may be a bit difficult if you do not like pesticides. But once you have gotten rid of them, you must spray the leaves with pesticide spray.

Continue to observe your plant for a few more weeks to check if all of the scales were gotten rid of.

 

Thrips

Thrips are insects that can fly and spread from one plant to another. However, thrips love to travel and stay in groups.

This means if you spot them on one plant, then it is likely the rest of your plants are safe. To get rid of thrips, simply take your plant outdoors and shake the pot.

This will cause the thrips to fly off of the plant and swarm the air. Both adult thrips and baby thrips are attracted to white and yellow flowers, which is why they are often seen on Ficus Benjamina.

This attraction to the blooms causes the thrips to spread necrotic spot viruses from one plant to another.

You can also get rid of thrips by removing any grass or weed surrounding the plant. This will eliminate any possible host surrounding the plant.

Make sure to observe your Ficus Benjamina for the next few weeks and keep an eye on the surrounding plants as well.

Cut off every damaged area of your plant or the parts that were infested with thrips.

 

Tips for Growing Ficus Benjamina

The Ficus Benjamina is known to grow well, even if neglected. Thus, taking care of it is simple and will not take much effort.

You can easily grow it into a stunning full-grown plant by following these simple tips:

  • Provide your Ficus Benjamina with bright indirect sunlight.
  • Keep it under humidity levels of sixty to eighty percent.
  • Make sure to keep your plant in the same place throughout its lifetime since Ficus Benjamina does not like to be moved around.
  • Provide it with temperatures ranging from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius).

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Ficus Benjamina

 

Can my Ficus Benjamina bloom indoors?

Ficus Benjamina is difficult to bloom indoors as they are not being kept under their optimum conditions. However, it is not impossible to make them bloom if you are able to provide it with everything it needs.

 

Are the berries on my Ficus Benjamina edible?

The fruits present on Ficus Benjamina plants are edible. However, some of them can taste more bitter than lemons.

 

Is Ficus Benjamin toxic for cats?

The Ficus Benjamin plant is toxic for cats and dogs. If your cat has digested any part of the plant, then it can experience irritation, salvation, and vomiting.

 

How fast will my Ficus Benjamin grow?

If provided with proper living conditions, your Ficus Benjamin plant can grow as tall as twenty-five feet in ten years.


 

Conclusion

Ficus Benjamina is a stunning plant that is not found easily everywhere. Their unique features can catch the eye of any plant enthusiast.

Buying a Ficus is one of the best investments to make as they are not high maintenance and will be the perfect addition to your plant collections as you can never go wrong with them.

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