Weeping fig

The weeping fig – better known under the names Ficus benjamini and Ficus benjamina – is one of the most popular plants for rooms and balconies. Lush foliage, numerous varieties, different colors and sizes can be found in stores and have something for every taste. From the small-leaved species that are suitable as bonsai to the large-leaved plants that can reach heights of several meters – the weeping fig is decorative and quite frugal. However, the ficus still needs a little care in order to develop its full beauty.

Choose the right location.

When choosing the right location, temperature and light conditions must be taken into account. On the other hand, the variety also plays a decisive role.

However, all Benjamini species have the following likes and dislikes in common:

  • Avoid full shade, blazing sun and accumulating heat
  • A year-round warm environment is preferred, normal room temperatures between 18 ° C and 25 ° C are suitable
  • Relatively high humidity, such as in the bathroom or kitchen, is required
  • Sudden changes in location are not tolerated

Depending on the cultivated form, there are also some small differences.

  • Ficus varieties with variegated leaves need a lot of sunlight, otherwise the colors will not be fully developed
  • Multicolored-leaved forms are extremely sensitive to low temperatures, even a short time below 15 ° C can cause damage – a warmer environment, on the other hand, is extremely good for them
  • Weeping figs with green and rather simple leaves are usually a bit more robust, they can withstand short-term direct sun but also partial shade and cooler temperatures
  • Rather inconspicuous leaf shapes can withstand slightly cooler temperatures between 15 ° C and 20 ° C, but they will not thrive – so the range between 18 ° C and 25 ° C is still ideal

The weeping fig on the balcony

In late spring, summer and early autumn, the weeping fig can definitely stand outside. Provided that the temperatures do not fall below 15 ° C even at night and the chosen location is adequately protected. Strong weather influences, such as heavy rain and wind, should be avoided as well as blazing midday sun.

A sheltered corner in the garden, on the terrace or balcony – if possible facing east – is usually ideal. Evening sun is also tolerated, only direct midday solar radiation is to be avoided.

Tip for the change: A slow, step-by-step acclimatization should be observed both when moving from the apartment to the outside, as well as when changing the setting in autumn. Even if both locations are perfect and almost the same in terms of light and temperature, all Ficus varieties are very sensitive to change. So it’s better to move only a few centimeters every day instead of moving the weeping fig abruptly. If this is not adhered to or cannot be carried out, the weeping fig shows its displeasure by sometimes considerable leaf fall.

weeping fig on the balcony


If the right location has been found and a suitable substrate has been selected, caring for the weeping fig becomes child’s play. More than regular watering and fertilizing is hardly necessary. Occasional blending and repotting are kept to a minimum.

Because the intolerance to sudden changes also means that the weeping fig prefer to be left alone. From time to time, however, it should be turned a few centimeters to allow straight growth and even exposure to sunlight.

A complete substrate for the healthy ficus

The choice of the right substrate depends mainly on the shape of the planting. For the Ficus benjamini in larger tubs, garden soil or special tub soil is a good choice. Ficus bonsais, on the other hand, thrive very well in bonsai soil. Commercially available soil for green plants is sufficient for indoor plants. Weeping figs are not particularly picky about this.

If you still want to do something particularly good for your Ficus benjamini, you can mix a humus soil yourself. To do this, peat and compost must be mixed together in a ratio of 1: 1.

Tip: do not rely on cheap soil. This tends to silt up quickly and can cause significant damage to the roots. It is better to stretch high-quality branded earth with some clay granulate. This is easy on the wallet and ensures good ventilation of the root ball, even if too much is occasionally watered.

Weeping fig – how to water

How often it has to be poured depends on the temperature, humidity, light conditions and the substrate chosen. On average, it is enough to water once a week. In summer or when the air in the heating system is very dry, watering must of course be carried out more often.

  • Use tempered water for watering
  • Use water that is as soft and low in pollutants as possible, such as rainwater, stale or filtered tap water
  • Only water when the surface of the earth has dried a little
  • Never water a cold root ball, it quickly leads to rot
  • Avoid waterlogging and drought urgently
Tip: If the room air is very dry or very warm, frequent watering is necessary. This can be avoided if the weeping fig is misted with fine water droplets instead. A few regular puffs from the flower sprayer reduce the frequency and amount of watering. But be careful, soft water must be used for this too – otherwise unsightly limescale stains will soon appear on the leaves.


  • Commercially available green plant fertilizer in liquid form is sufficient
  • Bonsai fertilizer can be used for small-leaved varieties in bonsai planting
  • Average dilution every seven or fourteen days
  • In the case of pre-fertilized soil or fresh, nutrient-rich substrate, additional fertilization is initially not necessary
  • At lower temperatures in winter, the fertilization can be reduced somewhat

Blend weeping figs

With good care and the fulfillment of all requirements, the weeping fig grows very quickly and can therefore take on immense proportions in a short time. It is not uncommon for a small houseplant to turn into a tree with a woody trunk within a year. However, if it is not cut in good time, it will tend to grow thin. Fortunately, the Ficus benjamini generally tolerates a blend very well. However, the approach should not be too radical.

This is how you can cut the Ficus benjamini:

  1. Carefully prune regularly in spring, if possible before the new shoots appear.
  2. Shorten all around, but do not remove more than 20cm long sections at once.
  3. Use either a sharp knife or special plant scissors to shorten. The cutting tool should be clean and ideally disinfected. This way, no pathogens get into the fresh interfaces.
Tip: Wear gloves when cutting the weeping fig, as a milky juice will leak out. This is slightly toxic and can trigger allergic reactions and symptoms of poisoning if it comes into contact with the skin or accidentally ingested. In addition, lay out foil under the freshly cut plant for a while to protect the furniture and the floor. Rubbing some water on the fresh interfaces counteracts the escaping juices.

Other reasons for cutting the weeping fig:

  • Removal of dry or withered parts of plants
  • Shaping
  • Curb disease or pest infestation
  • Multiplication

If dry, withered or discolored leaves and parts of plants appear, they should of course be removed immediately – regardless of the season. Even minor corrections, if an instinct is out of line, can easily be carried out at any time. If possible, the large offcuts should wait until spring.


The propagation of the Ficus Benjamini requires a little tact and caution. However, if the few associated rules are adhered to, nothing stands in the way of successful new breeding.

  1. So-called head cuttings, i.e. shoot tips, are required for the reproduction of the weeping fig. These should be about 15cm, but at least 10cm long.
  2. The cuttings must neither be heavily lignified nor completely soft. Avoid crushing while cutting. A sharp knife and not scissors should be used to cut.
  3. The head cutting is cut off just below a leaf base. Then all leaves are carefully peeled off, only the top four to six leaves are allowed to remain.
  4. The cuttings are now placed in growing or pricking soil, only the leafy tip may be visible.
  5. Water the cuttings, spray them and cover with foil or a bag to maintain the humidity. Alternatively, they can also be placed in a greenhouse. Temperatures of 25 ° C to 30 ° C encourage rapid growth and are ideal. It shouldn’t be much colder.
  6. The propagation is successful when the first new leaves grow. With their appearance, the young Ficus can slowly get used to the normal room climate.
Tip: Initially, the cuttings tend to rot and mold, a short, daily airing of the cover prevents. In addition, temperature and lighting conditions should remain the same, especially at the beginning.

Windows on the south side are unsuitable due to the strong sunlight.

Weeping figs overwinter

Weeping figs overwinter

If the weeping fig is indoors all year round, special preparation for the onset of the cold season is not necessary. However, the watering can be reduced somewhat. When the air in the room becomes increasingly dry, however, the Ficus benjamini should be sprayed more frequently with water, so that the climate remains plant-friendly.

This is not the case with weeping figs that spent the summer outdoors. These should be moved gradually to their warm winter location when the temperature falls below 18 ° C during the nights.


Repotting and a complete substrate change every one to two years is not absolutely necessary, but the weeping fig is extremely good for the weeping fig. She rewards the extra effort with lush growth and lasting health.
Repotting becomes inevitable when the roots fill the pot or the substrate shows visible changes – for example, it can no longer store water or it has faded.
Tip: choose the new pot as small as possible. If there are limits to the roots, more energy is put into the growth of the leaves and shoots.

The weeping fig is losing leaves – what to do?

Probably the most well-known problem with weeping figs is the sudden loss of leaves, which in some cases leaves an almost bare plant.
Several factors can be involved:

  • A sudden change of location, for example immediately after the purchase
  • Too little or too much sunlight, the leaves often only fall off on one side
  • Too frequent or too infrequent watering
  • Temperatures too low or too high
  • Watering a cold root ball
  • Infestation with pests or diseases
  • Putrefaction

To prevent complete baldness, the ficus benjamini, its location and care must be carefully examined and the causes eliminated. If you change location, however, this is an exception – here it helps to just wait.

Tip: If leaf loss is foreseeable or has already occurred, depending on the size of the pot, place a bowl or cloth as a leaf trap under the weeping fig. That makes cleaning easier.
Weeping fig diseases and pests

Typical diseases and pests

The Ficus benjamini is susceptible to:

  • Leaf fall
  • Spider mites
  • Scale insects
  • Thripse
  • Putrefaction

The easiest way to prevent the infestation is through ideal care. If the weeping fig is also regularly checked for pests and signs of disease – preferably directly during the weekly watering – greater damage can be prevented.

Signs of disease and pests are:

  • Leaf fall
  • Wilted, dry, or blotchy leaves
  • Soiling, deposits, weaving
  • Putrid smell of the substrate
  • Decreased growth

As a first countermeasure, the affected areas and, if necessary, the substrate should be removed. Commercially available pesticides can then be used or, if necessary, changes in care can be made.

Is the Ficus benjamini poisonous?

The weeping fig is both poisonous and allergenic. In households with children and animals, it should therefore be placed carefully and naturally out of reach. It is also advisable to wear gloves when cutting the leaves and to remove any residues and falling leaves immediately.

Contact with leaking sap should be avoided as a matter of urgency. Despite all caution and attention, leaves can fall off unnoticed. A useful protective measure against this is a decorative bowl under the planter. If this is large enough, leaves can be reliably noticed. If the weeping fig is still so high that it cannot be reached by children or animals, accidental contact is prevented.

The Ficus benjamini is a multi-variety houseplant that can also cut a fine figure in the tub. In addition, it requires little maintenance, is durable and grows very quickly. Since even propagation is easy, the weeping fig is ideal even for newbies. However, caution is advised with sensitive people, children and animals – because the Ficus species are poisonous and can cause allergies.

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