Indoor weeping fig tree supplemental light requirements, grow lights, rooting and transplanting. How to prune a Ficus benjamina. How to combat scale insects. Fig tree pictures.
The graceful, weeping growth habit and small, glossy leaves of Ficus benjamina have made it a favorite of house plant collectors. It also has the distinction of being the easiest plant of the Ficus family to grow.
Leaves of the weeping fig tree in the image above.
The leaves of the most popular variety are solid green but there are also several variegated cultivars.
'Starlight’ has white leaf margins.
‘Golden King’ features just a bit of creamy yellow at the edges of its leaves. ‘Reginald’ has bright yellow and green leaves.
F. benjamina can grow to 7 or 8 feet tall when growing in a pot. In ground plants will grow much larger. The bark of older trees takes on an attractive silver birch appearance.
Leaf drop is the unfortunate response this tree has to any stress.
Moving it, keeping it too wet or too dry, a sudden change in temperature or a lack of humidity can cause this.
If the plant is healthy the leaves will
grow back once the problem has been rectified.
Like all ficus plants, these trees like bright light. Direct sun coming through glass will be too strong. Filter it with a sheer curtain. When the light level changes in the winter, the plant may drop many of its leaves.
A good friend of mine once pulled a 7 foot Ficus tree out of the dumpster outside her apartment. It had no leaves and its previous owner most likely thought it was dead.
My friend watered it and waited...
A few months later, her patience was rewarded with a flush of lush green growth. This rescued tree is now the centerpiece of her house plant collection!
Variegated Ficus plants will need more light to maintain their coloring than solid green-leaved types. Research has shown that plants will grow under both incandescent and fluorescent lamps.
Combining the types works better than using only one or the other.
Special grow lights are not necessary. Avoid placing incandescent lamps too close to the foliage. For the best growth, you may need to provide supplemental light for 12 hours per day.
So much depends on how much natural light comes into the staging area. A plant growing in a south-facing window will require less supplemental light than one growing in a north-facing window, etc.
You will need to experiment at bit to get the mix just right.
When the tree is young, if the growth is too pendant and it looks like a shrub, tie the main stem to a stake. This will encourage more upright growth.
If you want a braided trunk, cut away all but the three strongest most upright stems at the soil level. Remove all side shoots from these stems. Braid them and tie them at the top with a piece of jute to keep the braid from coming undone.
Eventually the stems will fuse together.
As the tree gets taller, keep removing side shoots until the trunk is as tall as you want it to be. At this point pinch out the growing tips to encourage branching. Pinch them again each time the tree puts on 6 inches of new growth. This will make the canopy full as the stems will branch every time you pinch them.
This tree can take any amount of pruning. It will bounce back from a hard cutting back.
The easiest way is to root cuttings of new growth in water.
Place the cup of water in bright light and wait for roots to form.
This takes a month or so. Change the water every couple of days.
The new roots will be delicate.
Be careful when transplanting the cutting into a pot of soil.
Place it in slightly less light until it takes.
If these hard-to-eradicate insects attack your tree, move any other plants near it to another area to prevent the pests from infesting the rest of your collection.
Wipe the bugs off with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol, then spray the tree with a horticultural oil solution. Repeat this process each week until the scales are gone.
Protect the plant from direct sun during the treatments.
Ficus benjamina is toxic to cats and parakeets and can cause skin and eye irritation in chameleons if they eat a lot of it.
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Your plant guides,
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