In Latin, the word “ficus” means “fig.” The ficus plant (genus ficus) include the popular ficus benjamina, ficus elastica (the rubber plant), and ficus retusa nitida (Indian laurel). They’re all known for their glossy, leathery leaves and houseplant status.
The ficus plant grows naturally all over the world, but is frost-sensitive.
Ficus benjamina, called the weeping fig, is the official tree of Bangkok, Thailand. It has become a highly popular indoor houseplant used in shopping malls and doctors’ offices nationwide.
Ficus elastica is grown in Hawaii as an ornamental plant. It yields a sap, a latex product, which has been used to create rubber but is different than the Para rubber tree, the main source of commercial rubber.
Ficus lyrata, the fiddle-leaf fig plant, is a species of fig tree native to Western Africa from Cameroon to Sierra Leone. That ficus plant grows in lowland tropical rainforest. Its leaves resemble a fiddle. The fruit is a green fig, roughly 3 cm. in diameter.
The ficus plant is often used in interior decorating. It has a variety of leaf shapes and colors. It is sensitive to cold temperatures.
Although it’s a top houseplant, the ficus plant can also become high maintenance.
One of the top complaints a ficus plant owner has is that it loses its leaves over time. There are three reasons why a ficus benjamina will lose its leaves: 1) over or under water; 2) adapting to a new environment and its sunlight; 3) insects. Ficus plants come from areas with distinct and sometimes very different seasons than those they are being adjusted to; it is often normal for a ficus benjamina to lose its leaves during a dry season or in early fall. One online gardener said it is best to place a ficus plant in the best, indirectly lit window to help the plant adapt to change – and to occasionally dust off its leaves as well.
Another complaint is that the ficus plant’s leaves can turn yellow and attract bugs with neglect. One of the best ways to remove insects is to clean leaves regularly. It enhances the quality and beauty of the ficus plant and removes insects.
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Martha Stewart lists its favorite ficus plants as follows:
. Ficus alii
. Ficus buxifolia
. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina “Variegata”)
. India rubber tree (Ficus elastica)
. Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)
. Creeping fig (Ficus pumila or Ficus repens)
The ficus plant, with care, can be a welcome addition to any home, office, or retail establishment.