Ficus benjamina, commonly called the Benjamin fig or the weeping fig, is native from India to northern Australia. It is a broadleaf evergreen tree that grows to 50’ tall. It is widely grown in the tropics as an ornamental tree or hedge. For many years, it has been an extremely popular indoor houseplant because of its attractive shape and tolerance for a variety of growing conditions. Houseplants are more often grown in the 2-10’ tall range. Pale brownish trunk with a dense cone of foliage. Trunks are sometimes braided for ornamental interest. Glossy, pointed, oval to elliptic leaves (to 4” long). Twigs arch gracefully. Stems have milky sap. This tree rarely flowers or fruits indoors. Even if flowers were produced, fruit production would still be unlikely in large part because of the absence of the necessary pollinating wasps. It is also called the Ficus tree.
Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12. Grow as a houseplant in temperate regions. Easily grown in a soil-based potting mix. Site in bright indirect light or in sunny areas with some afternoon shade. Water regularly during the growing season, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid overwatering. Reduce watering from fall to late winter. This plant may be taken outside in spring after last frost date and brought back inside in fall. Prune to shape as needed.
Growing Instructions for the Benjamin Fig
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Sow the seeds on the surface of the mix. Do not cover; the seeds need light to germinate.
- Water the seeds.
- Set the container outdoors in full sunlight or partial shade if temperatures are above 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures are too low, keep the container indoors under artificial lights.
- Keep the soil moist; do not allow it to dry out. Germination takes between 15 and 90 days.
- Transplant seedlings into individual containers when the second set of leaves, or true leaves, appear.