Caring for an Indoor Fig Plant
A fig plant can add a lovely touch to any type of home décor. Whether you are looking for a nice plant to add a soothing touch to your kitchen or a bold tree to add a bit of pizzazz to your living room, this genus of plant could be right for you! Many people hear the word fig and think of the delicious fruit that comes from the large southern trees. Well, the truth is that the trees which produce the fig fruit and fig plants which are commonly referred to as “ficus plants” are from the same family, but are different species of trees. Plants within the fig family range from small creepers, similar to ivy, to medium-sized shrugs, all the way up to the huge fruit-bearing trees which can reach heights of up to fifty feet! We are going to talk about the two most popular types of fig plant suitable for growing inside the home.
The first ficus plant we’re going to talk about is the ficus benjamina, or weeping fig. This tree is classically beautiful in that it combines the aged look of the trunk with the glossy bright green leaves. The dwarf version of this species is a popular choice for bonsai gardeners. The ficus benjamina can grow nearly 100 feet tall in an exceptional outdoor environment, however when grown indoors it can be maintained to keep a small stature. This is largely due to the lack of light that indoor houseplants tend to receive, but this species of ficus will require vigorous pruning while it is young to keep it shapely, and regular trimming as a mature tree to keep it from growing too tall.
While this tree will tolerate partial shade, it will do best if placed by the sunniest window you can find, as figs LOVE sunlight. The ficus benjamina should be watered only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Simply stick your fingertip about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry to the tip, add some water. The tree will also benefit for regular misting. Just use a spray bottle to mist the leaves twice each day.
Ficus pumila, or creeping fig, gains its nickname from its ivy-like climbing trait. This is a vine plant best grown in a hanging pot, because it really does tend to spread out. If it is placed against a wall or lattice work, it will climb right up without any qualms. It is highly recommended that you do not allow it to climb up an interior or exterior wall as the vines are very invasive and can damage the building. Creeping fig is very hardy and grows pretty fast, so if you are a bit of a novice to houseplants or have an underdeveloped “green thumb”, this might be a good starter fig plant for you.
The leaves of this vine plant are green with a thin line of white around the outside of the leaves. If left to grow unchecked, it can get as high as 20 feet, therefore it’s important that you be prepared to do a bit of trimming when this one gets a little too bold. Creeping fig shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely between watering, therefore you should be sure to use the finger test to check the soil for moisture. Misting with a spray bottle will also help this ficus to flourish. Other than watering and the occasional trim as the plant matures, you can simply place it in an area with indirect sunlight and let it be.
Both of these ficus plants are excellent indoor plants, and can even be moved outdoors during the spring and early summer for a growth boost. Just bear in mind that these plants will need to remain in an area where the temperature will not drop below 60 degrees F or exceed 78 degrees F. If you’d like to give one of the abovementioned ficus plants a try, speak to an employee at your local garden nursery to inquire whether they have any ficus plants in stock. If they don’t, you might ask if they can order one for you, or you can look online to order one yourself.