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Types Of Ficus Trees You’ll Love

Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Plant Mom Care

Ficus Tree Varieties

Ficus is a genus with more than 850 varieties of trees, commonly called figs or fig trees, they are endemic throughout tropical areas, with a few species growing in temperate zones. 

Many put out aerial roots and have a distinctive shape or growing habit. F. carica is a species indigenous to temperate regions of Afghanistan to Portugal and cultivated since ancient periods for its fruit. 

The fruits of most species are rarely eaten although they are important food sources for fruit bats, primates, birds, and caterpillars that feed on the leaves.

Ficus Retusa Bonsai

how to water Ficus Retusa Bonsai

This strong tree is used in bonsai cultivation and is highly prized for its adaptability and resistance. It has robust dark green leaves and a remarkable trunk. In addition, the aerial roots give it a unique advantage that enables the tree to spread and occupy huge areas of land. 

When grown as a bonsai, it produces new buds rapidly and can easily be pruned and shaped. It is easy to care for and maintain and is less susceptible to pests. Protect it from cold and use a glass cover or fish tank to maintain a humidity level of close to 100% or use a humidifier.

  • Light: full sunlight.
  • Soil: basic Bonsai soil mix.
  • Height: 12 – 24 inches tall
  • Growth Rate: fast

Read Our Ficus Retusa Bonsai Plant Guide

Ficus Triangularis

Ficus Triangularis plant

This South African native named for its triangular leaves, is great for beginners to grow. It’s not a fussy plant and grows well indoors.

It grows as an upright bush with branches covered with beautiful glossy mid- to dark-green leaves. It can grow around 8 feet tall but is usually kept smaller indoors, at around 4 feet high with pruning. 

It can be cultivated outdoors in warm climates and can also thrive as a potted patio plant, although it should be moved indoors before winter starts and if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even try growing it as a bonsai tree.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: well-draining soil.
  • Height: 4 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: slow to moderate.

Read Our Ficus Triangularis Plant Guide

Ficus Umbellata

how to care for Ficus Umbellata plant indoors

This dainty ficus has tall, elegant stems and large, broad, textured cordate foliage and originates from West Africa. It is popularly grown in Japanese households, but difficult to find in North America. 

When this plant is happy, it puts out a new leaf every week. It can also be pruned to encourage different growth habits. For example, to make the plant look bushier, prune off the top growth on a stem. This encourages the plant to put out horizontal branches.

Although this plant is a fast grower it roots slowly, so be patient with new seedlings, keep their soil moist, and ensure they get lots of indirect light. Once new growth emerges, usually after several months, they can be transferred into individual pots.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: 4 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Read Our Ficus Umbellata Plant Guide

Ficus Pumila (Climbing or Creeping Fig)

Creeping Fig in pot

This East Asian native is an energetic fast-growing vine that climbs more than 15 feet when grown outdoors in zones 9 – 11, tolerating some cold weather; however it grows better in warmer regions.

Young plants put out small cordate leaves about an inch long, producing larger and thicker green leaves as it matures. Eventually, the leaves grow 4 inches long with an oblong shape. It is frequently grown as groundcover in gardens or as an indoor houseplant or in a greenhouse. While it can produce flowers, this rarely happens if they grow indoors or in cold climates. Mature outdoor plants produce 2.5-inch long fuzzy pear-shaped fruit.

If kept in pots or hanging baskets, this plant will hang down over the sides but will need frequent pruning to keep the vines under control.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: around 3 feet long with pruning.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Read Our Ficus Pumila Plant Guide

Ficus Elastica Ruby

Ficus Elastica Ruby leaf

This attractive perennial has beautiful variegations of cream, strawberry pink, red, and white on its glossy, large, almond-shaped blue-green leaves that have variegations. 

Each leaf can get about 13 inches long with a width of 2 – 6 inches. It can grow more than 40 feet tall outdoors.

This plant is endemic to tropical areas of India and Malaysia, although it is now naturalized in other locations, including Florida and the Caribbean. Wipe the leaves regularly to remove dust.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting
  • Soil: Rich and well-drained soil. 
  • Height: 6 – 10 feet tall. 
  • Growth Rate: slow.

Read Our Ficus Elastica Ruby Plant Care

Ginseng Ficus Bonsai (Microcarpa) 

Ginseng Ficus Soil

This plant is popularly used for bonsai due to the unique appearance of its trunk. It originates from China and other tropical areas of Asia and Australia, where it is frequently cultivated for shade.

Its beautiful pot-bellied trunk, numerous roots, dense waxy foliage, and long lifespan (50-150 years) make it a good plant for bonsai as it thrives well indoors. This plant can reach more than 40 feet high when growing outdoors in tropical climates, but it’s best to keep it indoors as a small bonsai at around 16 – 40 inches tall. 

This requires constant pruning by removing twigs and foliar growth to achieve a pleasing appearance. Every time ten or so new leaves appear, cut twigs back to remove 4 – 6 new leaves. This type of pruning or defoliation helps reduce leaf size.

  • Light: indirect or full sun.
  • Soil: Bonsai soil mix.
  • Height: 16 – 40 inches tall.
  • Growth Rate: slow.

Read Our Ginseng Ficus Bonsai Plant Care

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Fig Watering

This native of tropical West Africa is popular for its glossy, upright, large leaves shaped like fiddles/violins (hence the common name) that emerge from its smooth trunk. It makes an eye-catching focus of attention indoors if kept in a container that allows the plant to grow about 6 feet tall. 

While it thrives in very wet and warm conditions, making it somewhat challenging, it is a relatively tough plant that can tolerate less-than-perfect conditions for some time. Rotate the plant every three days so all foliar parts face the light to promote even growth. This will prevent the plant from growing toward the light. 

Clean the leaves every week or so with a wet cloth to remove dust to help photosynthesis. Cutting off the tip of the main stem will make the plant bushier.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: 6 – 10 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: slow.

Read Our Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Guide

Ficus Maclellandii (Ficus Alii)

This perennial ornamental is a recent cultivar added to the Ficus world. This beautiful tree grows upwards and has thick, long, narrow olive-green leaves that hang downwards. It can grow 10 feet tall with 3 – 10-inch long leaves indoors. 

The plant originates from the warm climates of India, China, and Southeast Asia. It first appeared in the horticultural world around the late 1980s. It can grow 65 feet tall outdoors and produce small fruit, although as an indoor plant it might reach about 6 – 10 feet tall with pruning to keep its size under control if necessary. 

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: 6 – 10 feet tall. 
  • Growth Rate: slow.

Ficus Elastica (Rubber Plant)

rubber plant in our houseplant garden

This Southeast Asian native is a long-lived tree with waxy oversized oval leaves that start in coral pink, eventually changing to rich dark green. 

It can grow rapidly, reaching around 100 feet tall in its natural environment; however it’s often grown as an indoor houseplant with proper care and pruning to keep its size more manageable as the plant grows, it will become heavy and start drooping, so you must support it with a long wood or bamboo pole to keep it upright.

Light: Bright indirect lighting.

  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: 10 feet high.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Read Our Ficus Elastica Care Guide

Variegated Rubber Plant

how to care for Variegated Rubber Plant

This plant has splashes of pink all over its otherwise green and white leaves. While rubber trees are generally sturdy, this Southeast Asian native needs more care as it is sensitive to temperature fluctuations and cold air drafts, responding by dropping leaves. 

It needs bright light to prevent it from losing its variegation. It can grow around 3 – 12 feet indoors but can exceed 50 – 100+ feet outdoors.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: well-aerated and well-draining soil.
  • Height: around 6 – 10 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Read Our Variegated Rubber Plant Care Guide

Weeping Fig (F. Benjamina)

This large evergreen tree grows more than 60 feet tall in its native habitat, but it is often kept at about 3 – 6 feet tall when grown as an indoor houseplant in homes and offices. 

It has glossy dark green broad leaves growing from willowy branches that arch out gracefully from its light gray trunk. When it is grown indoors, the trunks are braided sometimes for decorative purposes. This plant is sometimes planted and pruned to grow as a hedge.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: soil that drains well. 
  • Height: 3 – 6 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Ficus Altissima

This beautiful evergreen Southeast Asian native begins life growing on other plants as an epiphyte, later becoming a regular plant by sending down roots into the soil from whatever tree is supporting it, allowing the plant to grow independently.

Another interesting fact about this beauty is that Buddha gained enlightenment under this tree in India and it is considered sacred and forbidden to be cut down around Buddhist temples. 

This plant can grow to 60+ feet high and has a spreading crown of 100+ feet, reputed to be one of the world’s largest canopy trees in its natural environment; however indoor plants reach an average of 6 – 8 feet tall. 

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: 6 – 8 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Ficus Shivereana

This new rare hybrid of F. elastica has unique thick, shiny, oval leaves with sharp tips that are variegated with white, cream, and green freckles. 

The plant needs bright light to thrive, even though it tolerates low lighting it might suffer from leaf drop and loss of variegation and reduce leaf size. It can grow almost 7 feet indoors. If grown outdoors, it can reach more than 60 feet tall.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: almost 7 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Ficus lyrata Bambino (Fiddle Leaf fig)  

This is a smaller, bushier, and more compact variety of F. lyrata. This plant has remarkable dark green leaves like its full-sized relative, although their leaves are smaller and thicker, grow closer together and are slightly rounder. 

This plant works well as a feature plant on tables or shelves and won’t outgrow its space.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: 3 feet tall.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

Ficus Audrey

This relative of the fiddle leaf fig is easier to care for and grow indoors. While it has similar growth habits and looks, it can be differentiated from the fiddle leaf fig by its smaller, oblong, and slightly fuzzy vibrant green leaves with light green veins leaves and its smooth, lighter-colored trunk. 

Indoor plants can benefit from regular pruning to keep their size and shape under control.

Designated as India’s national tree, it is commonly called the banyan tree. 

Outdoors, this tree grows almost 100 feet high and produces long aerial roots that extend from the canopy to the ground, eventually becoming supporting trunks. This helps the tree spread wider over time, with some mature trees stretching several thousand square feet.

  • Light: Bright indirect lighting.
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. 
  • Height: 5 – 10 feet high.
  • Growth Rate: fast.

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