FICUS BENJAMINA

  • Known as: Weeping Fig, Starlight (variegated)
     
  • Place of origin: Native to Asia and  Northern Australia
     
  • Description: The Benjamina is one of the most popular of the Ficus family. It grows slowly reaching ~ 30m tall.  Variegated forms are popular for indoors and bonsai arrangements. Change in lighting, temperature, and humidity shocks this Ficus with the tree shedding leaves to give bare look.  Roots are very invasive and destructive growing under and lifting sidewalks, walls, patios and driveways.
     
  • Grow best: Fixing the right location and not changing the conditions are crucial to ensure survival in your home. These are:

    •Warm temperatures ~ 24°C.

    •Bright and partially shaded location.

    •Allow compost to dry at the top between each watering. Misting the leaves in the summer is advised.

    •A fast draining soil mix is advised.

    •Fertilize monthly.

    •Pruning necessary.

    •Propagate with good branch cuttings (from the tip), placed into soil .

  • Use: Good at filtering  pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. Large plants look great standing within corners or inside a patio. Ideal for displaying in hotel foyers, in offices or shopping malls. The bonsai plants can sit on shelves or table tops where there is enough bright light.
  • Note: Source of indoor allergens triggering rhino conjunctivitis and asthma attacks while the latex sap can induce anaphylactic shock.