Jun 152016
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Ficus benjamina

How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular variety. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all Indoor Plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

The weeping fig is an incredibly popular plant that is regularly seen as topiaried balls on sticks, full trees, trees with plaited stems, bonsaied, variegated forms, mid green and dark green. They are very versatile and can be formal or informal. They looks great as a stand-alone plant or in a group.

Watering

Adjust watering to suit the season. This is easy, in the warmer months it tends to put on growth and needs more water. Water so that the potting mix is never completely dries out, aim for a nice even moistness. In winter however, allow the surface to dry out slightly before watering. They must not sit in water. Good drainage is essential or the plant will drop leaves.

Light

Bright indirect light all year round. Can take a little direct morning sun.

Temperature

Weeping Figs like temperatures above 10C, however, at BAAG our shop drops to below 10C and they seem to cope OK. Some humidity is preferable. If grown in a group of houseplants, that environment usually creates its own humid microclimate, otherwise you can mist frequently.

Fertilising

These are surprisingly heavy feeders. You should fertilise fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser during the warmer months and monthly at other times. Once a year, flush out any salts that may have accumulated by watering thoroughly and deeply with clean water.

Maintenance

Remove dead leaves and dead twiggy branches to keep your plant neat and help prevent the spread of pests and diseases. You can take them outside periodically and hose them off to keep them clean.

After a while they will outgrow their pot. They can be repotted easily, but be prepared for a bit of leaf drop before they settle down. Don’t forget to fertilise regularly.

Problems

Sudden leaf drop is the major complaint with this plant. It tends to shed leaves when moved and when the watering regime changes. Allow the plant to settle down and will be fine. They also need more fertiliser than is common in house plants, good fertilising will help reduce leaf drop. Adding extra magnesium and manganese can also help.

Aphids, mealy bugs, scale can all be an issue. Treat them early with white oil.

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