Ficus benjamina has been getting along with humans very well for centuries. As a houseplant it’s a loyal companion that will grow alongside you for years.
Colours and shapes
Lavishly endowed with leaves, available in sizes from a mini shrub to an indoor tree, and also easy to look after - it’s no wonder that Ficus benjamina is one of the most popular houseplants. Depending on the species, the shiny oval leaves can be plain green, or marked with burgundy, creamy yellow, silver-white, green, yellow or pink patterns. The plant is available as a natural-looking bush, but is also grown on trunks which can be straight, interwoven or twisted. In most cases the branches droop slightly, giving it an elegant green appearance.
Ficus benjamina grows along a wide band extending from Portugal to Afghanistan, as well as in South-West Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. In the wild the plant can reach a height of 30 m. The largest plant is in India, with a crown diameter of 131 m and more than 1775 aerial roots. It doesn’t achieve that scale as a houseplant, but it can certainly be quite a personality in your home. The plant is a member of the Mulberry family, and has been growing on Earth for a very long time: fossil remains have been found dating back 30 million years.
Ficus benjamina is also known as the weeping fig. The figs that grow on it in the wild means that Ficus is seen as the tree of peace and abundance and the Middle East. The seeds in the fruit represent unity and universal understanding and knowledge. Large wild figs are holy in East Asia: the Buddha gained enlightenment under such tree. And in Indonesia weeping figs are seen as the link between the human and spirit worlds.