Ficus benjamina 

(fii' cuss ben-ja-mii' nah)

Common name: Weeping Fig

Family: Moraceae, Mulberry

Height x width: 6-18' x 2-10'

Foliage: ovate-elliptic, thin leathery, dark green above generally, glossy, 2-5' long

Flowers: insignificant and minute, borne in a hollowed out stem (receptacle) in axils, spherical ½" "figs" produced but seldom indoors

Light: bright

Temperature: average

Watering: moderate to slightly dry

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: high

Soil: average, well-drained

Pests and Problems: leaf spots, crown gall, twig dieback (Phomopsis), scales, mealybugs, spider mites; leaf yellowing if too wet; leaf loss if too dark or drafty or too dry

Growth habit, uses: indoor foliage large shrub to small tree at maturity

Other interest: from the Latin word for fig; native to Southeast Asia, southwest Pacific and northern Australia; several other related species found in commerce; several young seedlings often planted together, with stems twisted together or "braided" as they mature, often with a rock, golf ball, or other object held between them; sap may irritate skin or cause discomfort if ingested

Other culture: adaptable indoors if sufficient light, quite popular and common

Propagation: tip cuttings, air layer, seeds

Cultivars: much less commonly seen than the species, with 'Variegata' most common; several other species in Europe
Often more common cultivars:
'Amstel King'--upright, long leathery banana-shaped leaves, actually from maclellandii species
'Citation'--curled leaves
'Florida Spire'--narrow upright, green leaves, better known as 'Spire', originally promoted by Univ. FL
'Golden King' ('Jaqueline')--gray-green centers, lighter or golden irregular borders
'Indigo'--compact, thick dark green leaves, good for low light
'Midnight'--like and related to Indigo only more upright
'Mini Amstel'--similar to Amstel King, leaves half as long, from benjamina species
'Mini Midnight'--dwarf and compact form of Midnight
'Monique'--small plant, dark green leaves, narrow, rippled along edges
'Natashja'--light green leaves, often used for braiding and bonsai
'Nikita'--dwarf 1-2' tall, small leaves, white variegated
'Rianne'--irregular habit resembling bonsai, good for low light and humidity
'Stacey'--larger and darker green leaves, more closely spaced
'Starlight' ('Fantasia')--
'Variegata'--leaves with white and gray-green along edges, new leaves often begin white and age with more green
'Wiandi'--similar to Rianne only smaller leaves
'Wintergreen'--dark green leaves

Less commonly found:
‘Bushy King’--dense and compact plant, small leaves, narrow yellow edge
‘Daniëlle’--weeping, sturdy and thick deep green leaves resist leaf drop
‘De Gantel’--leaves with wide white margins
‘Exotica’--weeping, light green leaves with slight twist
'Golden King’--creamy yellow irregular margins to leaves
‘Golden Monique’--habit like 'Monique', leaves like 'Reginald'
‘Judith’--dense shape, green leaves with creamy border, tolerates lower light
‘Midnight Lady’--compact and weeping, dark and curly leaves
‘Reginald’--weeping, leaves variegated creamy lime with darker green splashes near center
‘Too Little'--dwarf habit, small recurved and glossy leaves
‘Wasana’--irregular and weeping habit, shiny green leaves with white markings

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | PSS121 course