The weeping fig has been called the ficus tree or Benjamin fig. If you are reading this article, you probably are a new fig owner or are preparing for one. As a plant lover, you know the importance of being familiar with the light requirements of all your individual plants. We have researched the light needs of the weeping fig to create this easy-to-follow guide that can be utilized by experienced plant parents, new garden creators, and everyone in between.
A weeping fig, or Ficus benjamina, needs at least six hours of filtered sunlight per day and can in some cases handle more. If this tree doesn't get the light it needs, you will see issues growing or with its ability to drop leaves. If this fig gets too much direct light, you risk burning its leaves.
Let's take a closer look at the specifications for the light your weeping fig needs. Continue reading as we take a look at the individual care needed for both an indoor and outdoor ficus and how to work with artificial light.
Light Requirements For Your Weeping Fig
A weeping fig is known for its long, dense, green leaves. Their slender branches can start to lose these reputable leaves if the tree is stressed or their needs are not being met. Different lighting is needed for each plant, outdoor or indoor. Knowing how much and what kind of light makes your fig happy will be a crucial part of helping these beauties flourish. Let's take a closer look at the necessary lighting for your weeping fig.
How Many Hours Of Natural Light Is Ideal For A Weeping Fig?
Weeping figs naturally grow in semi-shady areas where they are native. Most of these trees outside of Asia and Australia (where it's native) live indoors. Indoor weeping figs flourish when given plenty of indirect sunlight. Your fig needs at least six hours of this filtered natural light but can handle more.
Bright, natural light can easily be filtered through curtains. To ensure your fig gets the hour of light it needs, place it near a west or south-facing window.
Is Artificial Light Okay For A Weeping Fig Tree?
Weeping figs can survive in varying indoor conditions. If you have this tree inside and natural light isn't easy to come by, you can utilize artificial lighting. These figs grow beautifully with the right fluorescent, halogen, or metal halide lights.
When using an artificial light source, your fig should be as close to the bulbs as possible. The light energy will decrease with the radius between the bulb and the plant. This space will heavily depend on how much heat your lights give off. If you are working with artificial lighting, you will need to experiment with your light setup to find what works best for your fig tree.
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How Much Light Is Too Much Light?
A ficus tree can handle long hours of filtered light. Direct, bright light is what harms the weeping fig. Too much of this direct light will lead to burnt leaves and eventually leaf drop.
These trees can handle small amounts of direct light. About 1-2 hours of direct light in the morning is more than enough. Ficus trees flourish in semi-shady areas. If you want to avoid the risk of too much direct light, avoid it altogether. Providing your weeping fig with plenty of hours of filtered light will keep your fig happy and healthy.
Where Do Weeping Figs Grow?
Ficus benjamina is known as the official tree of Bangkok. They are native to Australia and Asian countries and have been found in Taiwan. These tropical trees are found in forests. Depending on what country you are looking at, weeping figs can be found in rainforests, monsoonal forests, or mixed wet forests.
These trees can reach over 30 meters high when they are in their natural habitat. They grow best in areas with partial shade, making these dense, wet forests perfect for their growth.
Can A Weeping Fig Live Outside?
Weeping figs can live outside. Depending on where in the world you are, the care for them can be a little different. Weeping figs can live outside in the ground if you are in an area where the temperature does not drop below freezing. A bout of frost or a hard freeze will, unfortunately, kill a weeping fig. A potted fig is ideal, so it can live indoors during the cold and then be moved outside to enjoy the summer light.
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How Do You Care For An Indoor Weeping Fig Tree?
Weeping fig trees are a great addition to a home, office, or other indoor areas. These trees have one of the top removal rates for toxins in the air, making this tree aesthetically pleasing and useful. When grown indoors, these trees will reach 3-6 ft tall.
You are most likely housing your weeping fig outside their native homes. Luckily, these figs can thrive in varying environments with a little extra care. Let's take a closer look at what you'll need to meet the needs of your indoor weeping fig tree.
Figs dislike both extremely dry roots and constantly soggy roots. You want to use soil that has optimal aeration and moisture content. Typically, a fast-draining, rich potting soil is best. These trees do not require potting soil that is especially rich in organic material but do benefit from soils that are ideal for draining. Drainage can be improved by using soils that contain sand, perlite, and vermiculite.
The size of pot you use can be flexible and depends on how big you want your weeping fig to grow. You can use a pot that is 30 cm wide and deep for the ultimate pot, or you can repot every spring.
You can play around with pot size and even shape depending on how you are growing your tree. Weeping figs are decorative trees that can be grown as standard, braided standards, topiary, or regular houseplants.
Temperature and Humidity
These fig trees like warmer temperatures. They do best with a night temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a daytime temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Be mindful when using air conditioning in the summer. Daily temperatures under 70 degrees can be harmful to your weeping fig.
These trees are used to humid, wet environments. Weeping figs thrive in environments with high humidity. To aid in this, you can consider adding a humidifier to your home. Regulating the humidity is important because leaves that become too dry may fall off.
You want to keep your soil moist at all times. You want to avoid over-watering to the point where your tree is sitting in water. This can lead to root rot and an unhappy weeping fig. With a consistent watering schedule, your soil should never dry out completely or be soaked through at all times. You can give the leaves a little misting weekly on top of watering the soil.
These trees like a little food. Fertilizing is important to ensure your weeping fig is getting the nutrients and minerals it needs. You will need to fertilize frequently, especially during the growing season. Adding fertilizer to your pot once a month is ideal. In the wintertime, when growth is slow, you can fertilize once every two months.
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The weeping fig or Ficus benjamina is a beautiful tree that can add a bit of a tropical feel to any room. These trees are native to areas with quite a bit of humidity and partial light. When you are housing a weeping fig, try to have it in an area where it can receive at least six hours of filtered sunlight. These trees do great inside and can be flexible as to what container they live in. We hope you found this article helpful when caring for your weeping fig.
Looking for more gardening tips on trees? Have a look at our blog post, Which Fruit Trees Can You Espalier?