Ficus is a great centerpiece plant for your home. Fig trees are luscious, green, and can come with ornate trunks. Learn the different varieties of ficus! Click here for more information on gardening from Ashcombe!
The Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) has 2 to 4 inch long pointed, shiny, leathery leaves and many twigged slender branches that arch gracefully. A variety of the Weeping Fig called the Java Fig, F. benjamina exotica, grows in a pronounced weeping manner. Each of its leaves has a slight twist that adds to the gracefulness of the plant. Both the basic species and the variety are usually grown as 4 to 6 foot trees.
The Mistletoe Fig (Ficus deltoidia) makes a bushy little plant, 8 inches to 2 feet tall, with long-lasting leathery dark green leaves. The leaves, roundish and 1 to 3 inches across, combine with 1/4 inch woody inedible yellowish red fruit to give the plant the appearance of mistletoe.
The basic India Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) pleased gardeners for many years with its glistening dark green oval leaves that open from pointed rosy sheaths and become 4 to 10 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. But its popularity waned in the late 1940’s with the discovery of a type whose dark green leaves were more broadly oval and had a richer texture – the broad leaved India Rubber Tree, F. elastica decora. Its leaves emerge bronze-colored from bright red sheaths and grow up to 6 inches wide and 12 inches long; a prominent central rib is white on top and red on the underside.
Another handsome variety is Doescher’s India Rubber Tree, F. elastica doescherii, whose leaves are the same size as those of the basic India Rubber Tree but are mottled with gray green, creamy yellow and white; its central ribs and leaf stems are pink. All types of the India Rubber Tree are usually sold as 2 to 4 foot plants with one or more trunks. The plants eventually reach ceiling height; since by that time they will have lost some of their lower leaves, they should be either pruned or propagated.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) grows to about the same height as the India Rubber Tree. Its 12 to 18 inch leaves are shaped like the body of a violin and have such a gleaming leathery texture that they always seem freshly waxed.
The Indian laurel (Ficus microcarpa), an elegant species, is often sold as a 4 to 6 foot tree. Its upright branches are densely clothed with blunt ended oval dark green leaves, 2 to 4 inches long that feel waxy to the touch.