Ficus benjamina is also known as a weeping fig tree or rubber tree and is a tropical plant that can grow up to heights of 50 feet outdoors. Because of its size, the roots of the outdoor ficus tree can cause damage to foundations and septic tanks, making them more of a nuisance. Growing them indoors in containers allows their size to be controlled and their beauty enjoyed. Ficus trees can be finicky and need some extra care, yet their beautiful green, shiny foliage makes them worth the effort.
Water your ficus tree consistently so the soil stays moist, but does not become soggy, which can cause root rot. Water once a day or when the soil is dry to the touch about 1 inch deep. Be careful not to let the soil dry out completely or the leaves may start to turn yellow and drop. Also be sure the container your tree is growing in has drainage holes in the bottom to allow for good drainage.
Give your tree good bright light by placing it in front of a south-facing window. During the wintertime you may need to use overhead shop style lights or fluorescent lighting when there is less daytime sunlight.
Keep the temperature around 75 to 85 degrees F during the day because ficus trees thrive in warm conditions. If temperatures drop below 50 degrees F or the tree is in a drafty area, it can slow its growth. Also provide humid conditions by misting daily or setting the pot on a pebble-lined tray filled about one-third full of water.
Feed your tree with a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer annually in the early spring. Ficus trees generally do not need a lot of fertilizing since they are slow growing. Adding compost to the soil when planting will help keep the tree in top condition.
Watch for pests that can infest your tree, such as aphids, scales and mealy bugs. Prevention is the best way to keep your tree pest free. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the leaves to keep the pests off or remove them. Signs of pests are a whitish coating on the underside of the leaves.
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