Ficus Benjamina Cage
Ficus trees are a common plant in the home and office, mainly due to the fact that they look like a typical tree with a single trunk and a spreading canopy.
There are several varieties of this plant that are grown as houseplants. Among these are the ficus benjamina or weeping fig, the ficus lyrata or fiddle head fig, and the ficus elastica decora or rubber tree.
Origin: South and West Africa
Height: 4-6' (1.2-1.8m)
Light: This plant NEEDS light, if you do not give it enough light it will drop it’s leaves or it will not produce any variegation in it’s growth. It will definitely start dropping it’s more variegated leaves if it does not get enough light. I also believe that it needs consistent light—if it’s doing well in one spot, don’t move it. Ficuses are known to dislike being moved. I would not put it in direct sunlight unless you’re somewhere super tropical (andddd I can’t ship international, sorry!). Hint: mine was under a grow light for ~10 hours a day, and so were the rooted cuttings. That way they get consistent light.
Temperature: These guys need humidity as much as they need light, especially when they are still young (for example, if you buy a cutting). The plant will produce more leaves and grow faster if you give it consistent humidity. My rooted cuttings developed large roots within 3 weeks inside a humidity dome, I misted them once a week. In all honestly, a young cutting should stay in a dome or cloche until it has at least 6-10 leaves on it (to be safe) and once outside it should be very near a humidifier to keep producing foliage. By putting it in some humidity dome, you are ensuring it gets consistent humidity. They do not tolerate cold or drafts.
Water: This one is tricky because my mother plant was really large—your small potted cutting will most likely need more frequent waterings, especially if it’s in terra cotta, but again it depends on how much light it’s getting as well. I do thorough waterings once a month, or untill I can stick my whole index finger down the soil and it’s not wet or damp. If I’m really not sure, I usually wait one week from the time I think it’s time to water. If your plant is super thirsty though it may start dropping leaves.
Fertilizer: I have been fertilizing my large plant once a month with 50% diluted organic fertilizer and he seems to love this. My trick is to thoroughly water first without fertilizer and then right after, add the fertilizer mixture. Getting the fertilizer right for this plant will help it grow lush and happy. I plan to fertilize once more in October then stop for the winer. As for soil, the cuttings grew in an organic potting mix which i then threw in extra perlite for added drainage, they seemed to like this. Drainage is key!