Intro to Ficus Trees
Different types of ficus trees have made statements in homes for years. With their relative ease of care, drastically varying foliage, and impressive tree-like heights at their maturity, it’s no wonder why people are drawn to them; you’re basically bringing a tree indoors. With the recent boom in popularity of the Fiddle-Leaf Fig, there is more attention than ever on ficus plants. Despite the popularity, however, Fiddle-Leaf Figs are a little more high-maintenance than most. In this journal, we’ll also look at alternatives to the Fiddle-Leaf Fig, detailing their needs and characteristics.
The Audrey ficus, or Ficus benghalensis, is one of our favorites. Its velvety, deep green leaves featuring prominent veins give the drama a Fiddle-Leaf provides while being significantly less finicky. Native to India, these plants can grow to massive heights and widths. Thankfully, the Audrey Ficus won’t grow nearly as tall or wide indoors. A good soak when the top few inches of soil is dry and some bright, indirect light is all this beauty needs to thrive in your home.
Ficus elastica, more commonly known as a rubber tree, is one of the more well-known types of ficus. Its wide, dark green leaves and maroon veins make this plant a showstopper. Also native to India, this plant grows to enormous heights in the wild, and the sap produced by the plant can actually be used to make low-grade rubber. Rubber trees are arguably one of the more easygoing types of ficus, needing water when the soil is dry a few inches down. As with pretty much every ficus tree, bright, indirect light will help your plant grow the best it can.
The Ficus Alii, or Ficus maclellandii, is a newer variety of ficus. Out of all of the ficus trees, this one has a little bit more of a tropical flair with its clustered and pointed olive green leaves. Originally grown in Hawaii, and now also native to Southeast Asia, the Alii can reach about ten feet tall in its natural habitat. Unlike other types of ficus trees, however, this one doesn’t throw leaves everywhere when moved to a new location. Watering approximately once every week and giving it bright, filtered light will give the Ficus Alii the best care it can receive indoors.
The Weeping Fig, or Ficus benjamina, is a classic, being one of the more recognizable types of ficus. Its small, tapered, and shiny emerald leaves are a departure from the typically larger leaves of other kinds of ficus trees. The Weeping Fig is not only native to Asia, but also to Australia; it’s even being naturalized in states like Florida and Arizona. This particular ficus is notorious for dropping leaves while being acclimated to a new home, growing them back once situated. Like most ficus trees, watering about once a week when the soil is dry a few inches down and giving it plenty of bright light will ensure it’ll live a long life.
Without a doubt the most popular ficus tree right now is the Fiddle-Leaf Fig, or Ficus lyrata. This particular ficus is native to the lowland tropical rainforests of Western Africa and the covers and articles of design publications everywhere. The Fiddle-Leaf Fig is gorgeous, yet it’s also tricky to take care of. Once the soil is dry a few inches in, thoroughly drench it to the point where water flows out of the drainage hole in the container. Couple this with tons of bright, ambient light, and the Fiddle-Leaf Fig should thrive for years to come.
With its thick, waxy, oval-shaped leaves, the Ficus Daniella, or Ficus Moclame, is one of the cuter varieties of ficus trees. Like some other types, this one is native to Western Africa, growing to immense heights in nature. The care is pretty standard here—water approximately once a week when the soil begins to feel dry, and give the Ficus Daniella plenty of bright, filtered light to keep it happy.
Written by: Egan Thorne
Photos & Illustrations by: Emily Kellett