Ficus of Many Kinds Decorate Indoors

Lush green leaves indoors make the cold and dark days of winter outdoors seem more bearable. Few plants are as easy to grow that produce this lush tropical feeling than plants belonging to the Ficus genus. We best know Ficus plants as figs and the edible figs are produced by Ficus carica. However, this group also includes the rubber plant, variegated rubber plant, weeping fig, fiddleleaf fig, climbing fig and Indian laurel which can be grown indoors. Although not houseplants, this same group of tropical plants includes strangler fig, the Banyan tree, Sacred Bo-tree, and the sycamore fig, referred to as sycamore tree in the Bible. The plant we grow indoors and call rubber plant is derived from the same trees that produced rubber for the world long before synthetic rubber was discovered.

Probably the most popular houseplant from this group is the weeping fig, Ficus benjamina. The glossy dark green evergreen leaves are smaller than those of many other ficus, allowing the plant to be used as a small tree indoors. It is also frequently used in malls or other large indoor spaces.

6′ Ficus Silk Tree

This tree is not bad for the price. You have to shape it when it comes out of the box and it will look good after it sits for a few days and naturally unfolds after you shape it. Looks pretty real too!

Weeping fig is able to tolerate fairly poor light, but can also be grown in bright light. Indoors it may drop leaves when moved from bright light to lower light. Growth will also be more dense and compact when light is good. If this plant is exposed to temperatures below 40 F, but above freezing, it will exhibit chilling injury which results in leaf drop.

The large leathery leaves of the many varieties of rubber plant, Ficus elastica, are known to almost everyone. This plant has been extremely popular for many years. Leaves in some varieties may be as long as 12 inches. The ‘Decora’ variety has broader more oval leaves with reddish pigmentation beneath. The main problem homeowners encounter with this fig indoors is that is often gets too tall for the space available. When rubber plants get too tall, they respond well to the propagation technique known as air layering by which the upper portion may be rooted while still on the plant. Stems may also be cut back. New shoots will develop from the base for a fuller, multiple-stemmed and shorter plant.

Another fig that is used for indoor landscapes or homes is the fiddle-leaf fig, Ficus lyrata. This plant grows much like the rubber plant, but has larger leaves that may be anywhere from one to two feet in length. Their shape roughly resembles the shape of a violin. They are waxy-green, quilted and wavy with yellow-green veins. These need more light than the two Ficus species mentioned earlier.

Once adjusted to available light conditions, figs have few problems unless improperly watered. Although all figs need adequate moisture and should not be allowed to wilt, they can be damaged by constantly wet soil or standing in water. For this reason, figs may become fairly large in relatively small containers. Do not replant until plants become top-heavy or very frequent watering becomes necessary to prevent wilting. Always allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings so the soil surface feels and appears dry. Deeper in the pot, however, soil moisture should still be apparent. Never allow any of the plants of this group to stand in saucers of water for extended periods. Root damage will result which will be followed by leaf drop and twig die-back.

Fertilization for these plants does not differ from that of many other houseplants. Any good houseplant fertilizer should do the job when used according to directions. More frequent fertilization may be done in late spring or summer when plants are growing most actively, but reduced in winter when growth slows or stops.

Brussel’s Gensing Grafted Ficus Bonsai

Ginseng Grafted Ficus trees embody strength, with substantial exposed roots that support sturdy, thick-based trucks. Grafted branches display full clusters of compact foliage and glossy, oval leaves. These indoor bonsai respond to a wide range of light conditions.

Few pests attack these plants although they may be invaded by common houseplant insects such as scale, mite or mealybug. Scale is often the most serious and damaging. The sticky ‘honeydew’ this pest excretes often drops to lower leaves or the floor and is one of the first and most obvious signs that it is present. When possible, pruning out badly infected branches, washing leaves and several applications of an insecticide approved for indoor use may be necessary to clean up plants and prevent further damage.