Ficus - Sunny Fig
- Botanical Name: Ficus Pumila
- Origins: Southeast Asia
- Light: Medium Light
- Watering: Every 2 to 7 Days
- Growth Speed: Fast
- Grower: Novice
- Style: Table Top, Hanging
- Home Decor: Country
- Variety Code: 92
Main Plant Library
Product Description - Sunny Fig
Ficus Benjamina is the backbone of most house ficus varieties. In nature this graceful tropical tree of dense growth, naked celebs forming aerial roots, and with branches of somewhat pendant habit originates from India, Southeast Asia and Australia. Its fruits are small, round blood-red berries when ripe. The name Benjamina is the Latinized form of the Sanskrit name for banyan. Ficus is commonly called Weeping Fig or simply Ficus. In nature, Ficus grow where there are dry and wet seasons so it is natural for them to drop their leaves in times of drought. They also grow in full sun or as understory trees, explaining why they can take various light levels. In greenhouses they are grown under 2000-5000 foot candles. In the home most varieties can grow under 150-250 foot candles, although vigorous growth can not be expected under such Low Light levels.
Pythuim, or Root Rot, is one of the most common diseases that affect the roots of Ficus. This arises from the fact they are finicky about water requirements. Mealy bugs and spider mites are the most common insects. Leaf drop is normal. This is due to soil moisture fluctuations, being moved around, and less than optimum light levels. It is best to have a system to water them in place so as not to move once they have become adjusted to their space but do not let plant set in standing water as this will cause an anaerobic situation in the soil and bring on Pythium. When purchasing a Ficus, look for one that has thin, lush leaves. If the Ficus leaves are thick and brittle, they were grown outside and will drop all leaves when moved inside. If your Ficus drops all its leaves, do not over water or fertilize and they will sprout new leaves that are adjusted to indoor climates. The varieties that HEG grows are bred to tolerate lower light levels and lower humidity found in the home, and are all grown indoors to promote proper leaf type necessary to flourish in the home. Also, Ficus prefer to be slightly pot bound, so be careful not to repot too soon and/or in a pot that is more than 2 inches in diameter larger than original pot size. Ficus are not recommended for the first time foliage purchaser.
The Weeping Fig has 2 to 4 inch-long pointed shiny leathery leaves and many-twigged slender branches that arch gracefully. A variety of the Weeping Fig called F. benjamina Exotica grows in a pronounced weeping manner and each of its leaves has a slight twist that adds to the gracefulness of the plant. Both the basic species and the variety are usually grown as 4 to 6 foot trees. The Mistletoe Fig makes a bushy little plant, 8 inches to 2 feet tall, with long-lasting leathery dark green leaves. The leaves, roundish and 1 to 3 inches across, combine with 1/4-inch inedible yellowish-red fruit to give the plant the appearance of mistletoe. The basic Rubber Tree pleased gardeners for many years with its glistening dark green oval leaves that open from pointed rosy sheaths and become 4 to 10 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. Its popularity waned in the late 1940s with the discovery of a type whose dark green leaves were more broadly oval and had a richer texture--the broad-leaved Rubber Tree, F. elastica 'Decora'. Its leaves emerge bronze-colored from bright red sheaths and grow up to 6 inches wide and 12 inches long; a prominent central rib is white on top and red on the underside.
Another handsome variety is Doescher's Rubber Tree, E. elastica 'Doescherii', whose leaves are the same size as those of the basic Rubber Tree but are mottled with gray green, creamy yellow and white; its central ribs and leaf stems are pink. All types of the Rubber Tree are usually sold as 2 to 4 foot plants with one or more trunks. The plants eventually reach ceiling height; since by that time they will have lost some of their lower leaves, they should be either pruned or propagated. The fiddle-leaved fig grows to about the same size as the rubber tree. Its 12 to 18 inch leaves are shaped like the body of a violin and have such a gleaming leathery texture that they always seem freshly waxed. The Indian Laurel, an elegant species, is often sold as a 4 to 6 foot tree. Its upright branches are densely clothed with blunt-ended oval dark green leaves, 2 to 4 inches long that feel waxy to the touch.
Plant CareFicus species do best in bright indirect or curtain-filtered sunlight; if only artificial light is available, provide at least 400 foot-candles. Night temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees and day temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees are ideal. Keep the soil barely moist at all times. Newly purchased or newly potted plants should not be fertilized for six months; once established, plants should be fed at six-month intervals. Do not be too quick to repot Ficus species, for they do very well in relatively small containers even though their roots are crowded. When the plants become too crowded, as evidenced by a general lack of flourishing and new leaves that seem stunted, repot in early spring using a mixture of packaged general-purpose potting soil. Plants that become too large for their space can be cut back to within a few inches of the soil in early spring; they will soon make new growth. Propagate at any season by the method known as air layering. Watch all Ficus for spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects.
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