The ficus benjamin it originates in the tropical areas of Asia but is also very common in India, southern China, Malaysia, the Philippines, northern Australia and some islands of the southern Pacific; it is an evergreen perennial plant.
The ficus Benjamino belongs to the family of the Moraceae, which contains many species of plant coming from Asia and Africa; among the main varieties which we will explain later, we can cite: Ficus Benjamino Exotica, Ficus Benjamino Golden king, Ficus Benjamino Nuda, Ficus Benjamino Mini Gold . In the zones where it has originated, the ficus Benjamino is an ornamental-decorative plant and is the most elegant.
Being a plant of tropical origin, the ficus Benjamino needs a warm and humid climate and it should never be exposed to temperatures below ten degrees; it likes light but not direct sunlight. In the areas of origin, the ficus Benjamino can reach a height of 25-30 meters, while if bred can reach a maximum of two to three meters, therefore very suitable for growing in apartment.
The trunk of the ficus Benjamino is grey, the branches are thin, the leaves are light green when young and darker in old age, have small size and give the plant a thick foliage, smooth, have the shape of an egg pointed at the end. There is a variety of Benjamin ficus which has creamy white striated leaves, the starlinght. The fruits of this plant are called syconia, have a black color and, after being fertilized, within them give life to the seeds. This plant blooms during the hot season.
The Benjamin ficus has latex inside, a milky substance that comes out when some parts of the plant are cut.
More information on : Ficus benjamin – Ficus Benjamina – Plants Apartment – plants apartment
- Hello everyone, I have a problem with a ficus benjamina. I have it for about 5 years, I have recovered it by sticking a small twig in a pot and since then it has grown very lush up to 2.80 m. about. …
- Hello, everyone. In the living room, I have a plant of ficus benjamin give me dami to mom (she’s the third one who tries to give me) and as usual I think she’s dying, she’s lost almost all the leaves and I’m already par…
- The Ficus benjamin is a plant that is grown in apartment and has a development that lasts throughout the year. For this reason, watering must be fairly regular throughout the months. In …
- In nature, the ficus elastica is a large tree, which reaches 25-30 meters and grows in the tropical forests of Asia, in pot has erect habit, poorly branched, and reaches 200-300 meters.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the ficus Benjamino has many varieties, here are the most common:
Ficus Benjamino Exotica This variety has shiny leaves with dark veins.
Ficus Benjamin Golden King It has leaves with white outlines with grey-green spots.
Naked Ficus Benjamin It has the characteristic of having leaves of narrow and wavy shape.
Ficus Benjamin Mini Gold It has very small leaves, with white coturnum.
Soil and cultivation techniques
Usually the ficus Bengamino is to be repotted in spring, especially when you will notice that the pot that contains it is no longer large enough and the roots will come out of it. The soil suitable for this type of plant must be soft, porous, a bit acidic and with good drainage because also the ficus, like many other plants described by us, fears water stagnation; to avoid this we can put, for example, pieces of broken terracotta pots, will ensure the rapid release of excess water.
The ficus Benjamino loves warm and bright environments and can bear temperatures of even thirty degrees, during the summer period it would be better to position our ficus bengiamin outside in a place rich in shade but, be careful, not subject to draughts.
The reproduction of the ficus Bengiamino takes place by cutting (apical or foliar with part of the stem) or by layering.
Both types of cuttings must be taken from the mother plant between the months of April and August, must be about ten centimetres long and the cut must be made under the knot with a sharp and clean knife. As explained several times for this type of multiplication, now the cuttings will be deprived of the lower leaves and will be introduced in a powder which favours the development of the roots.
Now place the cuttings in a soil composed of peat and coarse sand (the latter will help the proper drainage of water), cover the container with plastic to maintain the right degree of humidity and place the container in a shaded place at a temperature of 21-24 ° C. As soon as the first shoots appear, remove the plastic and increase the amount of light but keep the same temperature, when our plants have become large enough, they can be transplanted.
If you proceed with this operation and take the cuttings in June, it will not be necessary to cover the container with plastic because it will already be warm enough. The multiplication by layering is carried out in the months of May and June on the branches placed higher up.
This operation consists in making a cut in the bark of the branch chosen for the multiplication, at this point it will be necessary to wrap of peat the part to which we have made the cut and cover everything with the film that will be pierced to allow the air to pass and to be able to bring water.
Fertilization and irrigation ficus
The Benjamin ficus must be fertilized every two weeks in the spring-summer period and every two months in the autumn-winter period. The fertilizer must be liquid and mixed with watering water, it must contain a good amount of nitrogen but also all the other elements necessary for optimal development of the plant, such as: phosphorus, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum. As for watering, it should be higher in summer, about twice a week and lower during the winter period.
If in winter the ficus Benjamin will be placed in a covered and heated place, we will have to give water in shorter times, whilst if it is sheltered but at a lower temperature, we might bring water even only once a month, however we will always have to check the degree of humidity of the soil before proceeding with new watering.
In order to supply water to the plant, a quantity of it will be put in the pot but it will be sprayed also on the leaves, they have openings which bring water to the plant which can decide whether to open or close according to the necessity of the same.
Also in the summer period it would be opportune to wet also the leaves of the ficus Benjamino, if this is kept in internal and covered environment, this operation would decrease the temperature of the leaves and would allow the cleaning, freeing them from the dust which would slow down the functions of the plant; it would be opportune to administer water always not calcareous. Always avoid excessive amounts of water that could cause rottenness of the roots.
In order to have a good vegetative growth, the ficus need a good specific fertilizer for green plants. In the hot season (and with the highest growth) it is possible to proceed even twice a month. In winter, it is preferable to limit yourself to just one time.
Ficus Benjamin is pruned in spring and is necessary to contain the development of the canopy and make it more orderly and harmonious, with regard to the large branches, it would be appropriate to prune them during the winter, because during this period the milky substance produced by the plant is in smaller quantities. If we proceed only with the elimination of newborn shoots then we will talk about trimming.
The pruning is done to allow the plant to develop more compactly and to have a thicker crown. If the pot containing the ficus Benjamino has become too small, repotting will be carried out. If, on the other hand, the roots have become too large for a pot that is already large enough, partial pruning of the roots will be carried out. The repotting operation can be done at any time of the year, while the pruning of the roots would be better done around March-April.
Always remember that when the plant is young the roots develop quickly so the repotting can be done about every two to three years, when it will be a little ‘older and, as a result, the development will be less fast, the operation of partial pruning of the roots can take place even after six to seven years. The benjamin come from tropical or subtropical zones. In their natural environment, the water supply is not only given by the rains, but also by the high atmospheric humidity.
These plants have adapted and can also absorb water from leaves or aerial roots, for example. In order to meet this need, we can take various measures. First of all we can place under the container a saucer filled with expanded clay and water. The plant that we will place on it should not come into contact with water (to avoid rottenness). This expedient only serves to continuously have a quantity of water vapor in the air and keep the environment around the plant well moist.
It is also a good choice to proceed several times a day (especially in winter, since the heating makes the air very dry) vaporizing widely the leaves. These contain stomata that can be opened to absorb liquids. In the cold season we can also engage in periodic sponging of the leaves with the dual purpose of moisturizing and keeping them clean of dust and dirt.
Ficus diseases and pests
The Benjamin ficus can also be attacked by various diseases caused by fungi, parasites and insects. In the following we will explain diseases, symptoms, parasites and insects that are enemies of this plant.
The pests that most attack the Benjamin ficus are thrips, cochineals and mites. The first are small insects that sting the plant and suck its nutrients, causing the deformation of the leaves, discoloration and, in some cases, even the slowing down of development.
Mites, on the other hand, are insects that create white cobwebs in the lower part of the leaves and cause them to turn yellow, discolour and, like thrips, slow down their development; the multiplication of the latter is favoured by a dry environment.
Also brown cochineal and the floury one are part of the enemies of this plant, they attack both leaves and form on them respectively dark spots and a secretion similar to cotton, leading them to yellowing and to the drying up. Another mite that attacks this plant is the red spider, it causes yellow or brown machines on the leaves that will begin to turn yellow and to fall.
As mentioned in other articles, the reproduction of this parasite is favoured by an environment poor in humidity, thus increasing the number of nebulisations to the plant and, in case of serious infestation, administered pesticides.
If you notice that your ficus Benjamin loses its leaves, this may be a symptom of lack or lack of light If, on the contrary, the leaves deteriorate and become floppy or yellowish, this will be a symptom of an excessive quantity of water, then proceed with a reduction of watering. If the leaves have a crumpled shape, it means that the soil has not always had the right degree of humidity, in this case try to regulate the water supply.
If there is a drying up or a burning on the leaves, it means that they have been exposed to direct sunlight.
I pests more frequent are thrips, mealybugs and red spider mites. The former manifest themselves with a discolouration of the leaf and dark spots on the back. They are fought with systemic insecticides or, in any case, by contact and ingestion. Cochineal is also very common. Usually it can be seen on the trunk. They can be hard animals or with a slight white down. They damage the plant by nourishing of its sap.
The ideal thing is to protect the plant in time with a systemic insecticide (the contact insecticides do not always manage to penetrate the external part of this animal) and then intervene, if necessary, by distributing a mineral oil which prevents breathing. It is more difficult to intervene in the case of a red spider. Unfortunately, the products on the market at the hobby level are not very effective.
The ideal is to try in every way to prevent the problem by keeping the humidity around our plant always high.
In the regions of origin the ficus benjamina can become a large tree and is widely used in urban parks or on the sides of roads. In temperate areas, however, it is mainly grown in pots. It has become very popular because of its airy and elegant appearance and its ability to tolerate adverse conditions.
Substrate and vase
Ficus benjamina are generally very adaptable plants. Although they do not disdain poor soil, they prefer and vegetate better in a rich and possibly sub-acidic substrate. Ideally, they should be provided with a forest earth-based compound mixed with manure and a little clay. Otherwise you can also use a soil composed of decaying leaves or peat mixed with something heavier and richer. Water stagnation must be avoided.
These plants, as we shall see, love to have their roots always moist and fresh, which does not mean, however, that they should be completely soaked in water. It is therefore important that the soil is not too heavy and that a thick draining layer of gravel and shards is prepared at the bottom of the pot. In the absence of these, it is possible to use expanded clay even if at times it is accused of soaking too much water and being the source before the proliferation of fungi.
It is therefore advisable to use it for this purpose as much as possible in moderation. It is also important to ensure that the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot are free and that the water can flow easily.
The ficus benjamin loves very bright exposures, but without direct light. In the house it is therefore good to keep it near a large window perhaps screened by a curtain of a light color.
Remember to rotate the plant periodically towards the light source so that the canopy can grow evenly. In the summer, as we have said, we can move the plant outside, but we must always keep this need in mind. It will therefore be excellent to position it in an area where the light is slightly filtered. The verandas, pergolas or the shade of tall broadleaf trees are therefore excellent. Direct light can cause serious problems such as leaf burns.
In the middle of summer it can be enough just one day to heavily damage a beautiful specimen. It is therefore advisable to carefully evaluate the positioning.
Benjamin finds in our houses, especially in winter, an environment very similar to that of its place of origin. It requires in fact that during the day there are at least 18°C, even if the ideal would be from 20 to 22. During the night the temperatures can go down even up to 13°C as it is one of the most adaptable ficuses in this respect.
In any case, we must try to avoid absolutely abrupt changes in temperature and air currents that could significantly damage our specimen.
We have pointed out that this plant needs an always moist substratum. However, the irrigations must be regulated according to the rhythm of the seasons. During the growing season, from April to October, it is necessary to water frequently. It is more difficult to give information on the frequency of interventions during the winter months. It should certainly be commensurate with the environment in which the specimen is kept.
If it lives constantly in a heated apartment then it will be necessary to water it with a certain frequency. If, on the other hand, it overwinters in a rather cold environment (about 10°C), we can intervene even once or twice a month. However, there is nothing better than to see for yourself the humidity of the substrate by inserting a finger in depth. Remember that for water with ficus is always better to be more parks than too generous as the only, but frequent problem is the root rot.
Ficus benjamin come from tropical or subtropical areas. In their natural environment, the water supply is not only from the rains, but also from the high atmospheric humidity. These plants have adapted and can also absorb water from leaves or aerial roots, for example.
In order to meet this need, we can implement various measures.
First of all we can place under the container a saucer filled with expanded clay and water. The plant that we will place on it should not come into contact with water (to avoid rottenness). This expedient only serves to continuously have a quantity of water vapor in the air and keep the environment around the plant well moist. It is also a good choice to proceed several times a day (especially in winter, since the heating makes the air very dry) vaporizing widely the leaves.
These contain stomata that can be opened to absorb liquids. In the cold season we can also engage in periodic sponging of the leaves with the dual purpose of moisturizing and keeping them clean of dust and dirt.
The most commonly used technique for reproducing these plants is undoubtedly cutting. It must be done in mid-spring. It is necessary to take some apical portions of branch of about 5-10 cm, at the height of a node. They are then to be freed from the leaves in the lower part. Those higher up, on the contrary, are to be cut in half in order to reduce the transpiration. They are then to be inserted in a compound of sand and peat, or of peat and agri-perlite, which will always be kept humid.
They must be placed in a greenhouse that guarantees a constant temperature of at least 15°C with high and constant humidity. After usually two months you can see the first cuttings that begin to grow.
As we have said, ficus benjamina is a very common plant in apartments all over the world. Therefore there has been a careful research to obtain interesting cultivars, various and also more resistant and adaptable. Some of them are well known: Danielle, Naomi, Exotica and Golden King. Some varieties can offer different shades of green for the leaves and also golden or silvery variegations.
The variegated cultivar “Starlight” has won the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit, one of the biggest awards in the world. There are also miniature varieties that are great for creating bonsai, such as “Too little”.
Ideal for purifying the air
The air we breathe, at home or in the workplace, is presented as a set of gases that, if polluting, can pose serious risks and seriously damage our health.
In order to improve the quality of the air in the environments in which we live and work, it is possible to use particular plants, which perform the function of emitting oxygen, ionizing the air and absorbing the polluted one.
These include the Ficus beniamino plant, capable of emitting oxygen during the day, also absorbing and acting as a natural shield of the various electromagnetic fields and all those toxic gases emitted by electrical and printing equipment.
The ideal location for Ficus, so that the air is well purified, could be a study or an office.
Ficus with yellow leaves
One of the questions we are most frequently asked is about the yellow leaves of the ficus. Many people write to us to complain that their ficuses are starting to have yellow leaves. The causes of this yellowing can be different but it is important to recognize them immediately to prevent the problem from getting bigger and compromising the health of the plant.
Before we can get too close to the real cause of leaf yellowing, we must try to understand how and to what extent these leaves are yellow. It is not the same thing to have yellow leaves only at the edge or to have all yellow leaves.
The causes of leaf yellowing can be many and range from poor irrigation to a lack of nutrients in the soil but can also be problems related to light and exposure of the plant.
As far as watering is concerned, the ficus is a plant that needs to be watered in the right quantity, which must not be neither too much nor too little. You must be very careful not to soak the soil with too much water and to let the soil dry between one watering and the next.
Almost all Ficus in Italy are grown in pots and therefore one of the possible causes of leaf yellowing could be the lack of nutrients in the soil. After 2-3 years with the same soil, in fact, the plant can deplete the nutrients going into decline. A good rule of thumb is therefore to repot every 2-3 replacing most of the soil with new, high quality soil. Alternatively, you can make frequent fertilizations to replenish the nutrients lost from the soil.
Another possible cause of leaf yellowing may be insufficient light. If we give too little light to the plants, the leaves can become yellow, but not only in the area of the edge, but in the whole leaf. To avoid this problem, simply place the ficus in a bright corner of the house where there is a lot of diffused light.
Temperatures can also cause rapid leaf yellowing. If the ficus remains in a cold environment or takes a cold blow of air it can go against a rapid defoliation and therefore it must be avoided that this happens.
Bengiamino – Ficus Benjamina: Ficus benjamin in winter
In winter the ficus benjamin, especially in northern Italy, is a plant that needs to be repaired or more often taken indoors. When choosing the location for the winter shelter of the plant it is very important to consider well some aspects that are essential for the survival of the ficus even during the bad season.
The first aspect to consider is the temperature: the plant of ficus should be placed in a room with a temperature range ranging between 10 and 18 ° C. This temperature is suitable for the maintenance of the plant and allows even in winter an excellent vegetation of the ficus.
The second aspect to take into account is exposure as you need to find an area of the house that is bright enough to ensure adequate photosynthesis of the plant. The best areas are those close to the light sources, so close to glass doors and windows. However, you must be very careful in choosing the third aspect of the position to be considered, i.e. avoid cold air currents.
In fact, in the vicinity of doors and windows, the coldest air currents are generated more frequently because of the winter air exchange and therefore plants must be placed in areas of the house that we do not open often or in areas that are not directly affected by the air flow that is generated in the house.
Staircases in general and in particular the dark corners of stairs are not recommended, where in addition to the lack of light there will be the problem of air currents that could cause thermal shocks to our plants.