Ficus benjamina, commonly known as the weeping fig, benjamin fig, or ficus tree, is a plant native to Asia and Australia. It has been naturalized in several other parts of the world, though, including the United States and the West Indies. While most people think of the weeping fig as a small tree perfect for indoors, it can grow up to 98 feet tall! In tropical regions, the weeping fig is used for parks and urban areas, where doves and pigeons feed on its small fruit.
Most people know the weeping fig as a houseplant, not a stately outdoors tree. Many bring weeping figs into their homes and offices because of their graceful drooping leaves, which add an elegant touch to any room. According to a NASA study, weeping figs are also great at cleansing the air from certain harmful air pollutants emitted by common household products.
Photo via @mayurvk
While weeping figs generally tolerate poor growing conditions, they can be quite finicky. Here are a few care tips that will ensure your ficus remains bright and healthy:
The weeping fig thrives in sunny conditions. Lots of indirect light, and maybe a bit of direct light everyday as well, will keep your weeping fig happy.
There’s a reason why this beautiful houseplant is called the weeping fig. Weeping figs do not like changes in light exposure. If you wish to relocate your plant, do so gradually. Otherwise, the plant will lose its leaves, or “weep,” and you will weep right along with it as you watch your plant become little more than a huddle of skinny branches.
Temperature and Humidity
Weeping figs like temperatures over 75 ºF and lower than 85 ºF. If the temperature is below 60 ºF, it might weep. Weeping figs also thrive in humid environments. Consider getting a humidifier to regulate the humidity around your weeping fig. You can also mist its leaves regularly.
Make sure your weeping fig is always moderately moist, but do not overwater it. If your weeping fig is sitting in water, it will weep.
Soil and Fertilizer
While you can use any fast-draining pot soil for your weeping fig, it does need to be fertilized monthly. Weeping figs are rapid growers, and they need extra nutrients to sustain them!
Since weeping figs are such fast growers, they might need yearly repotting. If you notice your plant is no longer fitting in its pot comfortably, it’s time for repotting!
Weeping figs can be a bit dramatic, but if you’re looking for a stylish plant to liven up a space, why not take the challenge? We promise it’s worth every tear!
Photo via @flauntyourleaves
Fun Facts about the weeping fig:
- The weeping fig can grow so large that it is often used for hedging! Especially in Florida, they’re commonly planted as shrubbery in between houses to increase privacy.
- While they’re a popular choice for homeowners who want shrubs to isolate their yards from their neighbors’, the weeping figs’ fast growth can cause problems. Their roots have been known to break pipes, pools, and pavement.
- Weeping figs can be easily ripped out by strong winds. As a result, in some areas of Florida where hurricanes are an annual threat you do not need a permit to cut down a weeping fig.
- Weeping figs are not pet friendly. Cats and dogs can suffer health complications from merely touching them!
By Maria Veronica Perez