Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Weeping Fig, Chinese Banyan
Ficus benjamina

Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: benjamina (ben-juh-MYE-nuh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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12 positives
5 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ginger749 On Nov 16, 2008, ginger749 wrote:

Nice Plant.

Positive urshanabi On Feb 20, 2008, urshanabi from Tampa, FL wrote:

ficus can do and will survive just about anything!!! I create all kinds of different bonsai with... these are TROPICAL plants!!!
The trick with tropical plants is they like alot of water, sun, and most of all HUMIDITY!!! can do with less water, less sun but not humidity. Problem with having them indoors is they are not getting this and are becomming stagnant. Put them in the bathroom with you while you take a shower if you have too, or the laundry room. Also, if doing any serious prunning, be sure and use some type of sealant on those cut brances. Nothing else put vaseline on the cuts, or face the dreaded die-back!!! Besides ficus send out the banyans with the humidity!!!

Neutral shirleyt On May 10, 2006, shirleyt from Pearl River, LA wrote:

I had a beautiful ficus plant in zone 8b for twenty years.....It was carefully brought in every winter and taken out to the deck in the spring...... two years ago I repoted it in a larger pot and it grew even was over 8 feet tall and I had to prune the top to bring it inside.....this winter it was to large for me to handle and I did not bring it in and or course it froze.......I just wanted to warn ficus owners in this zone take care of them in winter if you love them...... I will replace it but it will not be the same.....shirleyt

Positive darylmitchell On Jun 1, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

I've had this as a houseplant for about 5 years. It is a fickle one, and it took me a while to figure out its optimal light (bright filtered) and water (moist but not soggy soil) requirements. Ever since then, it's grown vigourously - so much so that I've had to prune it several times to keep it under control. I even moved it to a different side of the room and it dropped only a few leaves in protest. Be careful when you prune ficus; the sticky latex-like sap will bleed from the cut make a mess. Fortunately the sap coagulates quickly after coming into contact with the air.

Positive handbright On May 10, 2005, handbright from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is a ten foot high hedge running along the periphery of my backyard. Aproximately 600 feet in length it acts as a wind break for our hurricanes. It is seen in costal south florida consistantly used as a hedging material.
It is considered invasive here, but to tell you the truth, I would never, ever, rip it out. The privacy it affords is invaluable, I have never seen anything to rival it! I have been told over and over that the root system will lift concrete, and never to plant it around a pool or plumbing, but I have to say I have never had a problen, as I have with other plants...when properly cared for here it can almost act as a boxwood. It can be tall and majestic, or short and sculpted...
In any indoor space I would make sure it got as much light as possible, and as much humidity as can be arranged. Like in a shower stall, with a skylight...

Positive Kameha On Apr 10, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

There are several moderate to large weeping fig trees in Orlando area. I don't know how they survive but they do. Maybe the tree is more hardy then once thought. I grow mine indoors however.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Mar 15, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is so ubiquitous In Manhattan apartments that it might be considered an "invasive alien species" except that it is always invited and adds a bit of nature to the brick, steel, concrete and mortar of the urban dweller. I once was in somewhat of a demand as a paid consultant "plant doctor," called into the apartments of friends and referrals from friends to tend to an ailing Ficus benjamina. Most often, the plant had simply dropped its leaves as a result of being moved from one location to another, usually from high light (as might be found in the grower's greenhouse) to the lower light of an apartment setting. I was usually able to placate the Ficus owner's fears by telling them the plant was going through a natural cycle and that it would, most likely, recover with continued care.

I also maintained the indoor gardens of a prominent artist in NYC. His indoor plants included two huge (about 25 feet in height) F. benjaminas planted in cedar tubs about 3 ft high and 5 feet in diameter. The plants had light from a large skylight three stories directly above and they thrived as if they were outdoors, creating the typical aerial roots from their branches.

In my current home in NE Fla, I have rescued several small F. benjaminas that were discarded as nearly leafless twigs by former owners that apparently were so "gardening challenged" (i.e., inept) that they could not even keep one of these easy to grow plants healthy. Placed in a semi-shady location and watered on a regular basis, these rescued plants have always returned to vigorous, green growth.

There is no need to fear pruning the outer branches. These plants can actually be pruned to something resembling round topiaries if the pruning is done on a regular basis. Like all the figs, the F. benjamina will weep a milky sap when the branch is cut, but there is no major harm to the plant from an occasional pruning.

I have had great success with propagating new F. benjaminas by sticking the pruned branches into moist garden soil and continuing to water. I did this as an experiment last summer, jabbing the cut end of a pruned branch into the garden soil around my ginger plants where I knew the pruned ends would stay moist. Within a few weeks, most of the pruned branches had rooted to make new, small F. benjaminas that I potted up before the winter.

Other than the plants I've adopted as street rescues and the new ones propagated from the old, I have one F. benjamina about 6' in height that I've had for about 8 years and repotted several times. It moves from the patio in the summer to the greenhouse in the winter without leaf drop because both situations have similar amounts of light.

This past summer, I had an infestation of tiny, unidentified bugs that caused leaf curl on the newest green leaves all over the plants. I don't like to use pesticides (though an organic soapy solution might have worked O.K.), so I fastidiously snipped off all the infected branch tips and disposed of them. I was able to eliminate the problem by this method. The new leaves that emerged after the pruning were healthy.

Update:2/21/07 -- The unidentified bugs turned out to be thrips. They kept returning after I attempted to prune off all the infected fresh, green leaves. I finally did use some spray on insecticide combined with a systemic. There is improvement, but the thrips keep hanging in there.

If you have one of these plants in an indoor situation, put it near the sunniest, largest window available and LEAVE it there. It will most likely drop all its leaves when it first moves in with you, but if you reduce the amount of water during the leaf drop period (there are fewer leaves so transpiration is diminished and less water is needed), and have enough patience to share your space temporarily with a leafless twig that more resembles a Charley Brown Christmas tree than an apartment adornment, and you can bear the brunt of your house guests snide remarks about your lack of gardening skills, and can proudly and faithfully display wisdom by proclaiming to them, "it's not dead, it's only dormant," you will have a tree that will remain with you for many years with a minimum of care.

Update: 12/21/07 -- I got tired of the F. benjamina needing to be hauled in and out for the winter months, so I planted them in a protected area under the eaves of my front porch. They survived temperatures as low as 28 F for several hours on a few nights last year. There was some leaf damage, but they returned beautifully this year (except for the dern thrips causing leaf curl on the newest leaves). They are getting well established now and I think they will survive all but the occasional freak winters when our temperatures go down to the teens F.


Neutral KerryLynn On Aug 21, 2004, KerryLynn from Edmonton
Canada wrote:

We had this plant for 20 years. It has come back from near death several times. It does not like direct sun nor does it like to be moved. The stalk has remained slender (totally indoor plant) however, it has now reached 7 feet high with a very broad leaf area. It is literally taking over my office. I would love to prune it back but am clueless on how to do that without killing it.

This plant has a definite personality and doesn't hesitate to let me know when it is unhappy or even if it actually likes its environment. ( l live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Very arid climate and this plant is not suited to our outdoors)

Positive jorjie On Aug 15, 2004, jorjie from Odessa, TX wrote:

After spending a winter indoors, my ficus was a stick. I set it outside on the patio along with 2 more plants and called it death row. I continued to water. All 3 came back. The ficus is just as pretty as it was when I bought it. So this year, I put it outside again. I place it where it gets morning sun only.

Positive foodiesleuth On Aug 14, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

There is a stretch of street in Hilo called Banyan Drive for the huge Banyans that line both sides.....According to records the first trees were planted in 1935 and survived the two Tsunami that devastated Hilo's bayfront.

Banyan Drive in Hilo, Hawaii
Known for the giant Banyan trees that line the street, the trees along this drive were planted by visiting celebrities and each tree is marked with plaques where visitors will find such famous names as Amelia Earhart, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Cecil B. deMille, Louis Armstrong, Babe Ruth, Richard Nixon (before he became president), and King George V of England

Positive punaheledp On Jul 12, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

There are many fabulous banyans in Hawaii with massive root systems and I rate positive if they are planted where there is lot of room, negative if they are in a parking area...the fruit makes a mess. Don't leave your potted tree out on the ground for any length of time. Its roots will go out the drain holes and the tree will plant itself.

Positive jcangemi On May 25, 2004, jcangemi from Clovis, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The Weeping Fig grows beautifully in the extreme temperatures of the San Joaquin Valley, California, in a container. Summer highs reach into 100's for days on end in the summer. And winter temps drop to upper 20's and near freezing in winter. With protection under a patio or porch, this tree does well. I've had mine for 3 to 4 years and received it pot bound. They also grow in the ground in more temperate climates of California and flourish.

Neutral HollyBerry On Apr 29, 2004, HollyBerry wrote:

As a Canadian, I do most of my growing indoors. I found this tree will drop leaves if moved, and will continue to drop leaves for weeks after being moved. I bought a young Ficus benjamina for $5 dollars, because it was in such bad shape. Yellowing, brown leaves, it needed to be repotted, and fertilized. I just learned that it is an acid loving plant, so I will start trying to meet its acid needs better. I bought it a month ago, and it seems to be slowly recovering. Fingers are crossed.

Positive Monocromatico On Jun 3, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

We have some gargantuan F. benjamina near work (Rio de Janeiro). The trunk gets so large that 20 people can form a circle around then, and they are around 30m high. We dont have the wasps that promote the fertilization of its figs, so it never came to be a problem for public buildings (like bridges, highways, sidewalks) like other big fig trees, like F. microcarpa, although it may force everything around while it grows. You may see it breaking vases when it grows and the roots become larger (its not the kind of plant that "cries", hoping that you will know that they lack space in their vases... it just breaks it. A plant with attitude).

Positive jacaranda On Feb 1, 2003, jacaranda wrote:

This tree is really impressive. The Ficus of any variety, grows to incredible proportions in their natural habitats, the tropics.

Indoors they become focal plants, in my opinion. In NY for example, most members of the Ficus family sell well and many people keep them in their apartmennts. They are easy to take care considering their ability to deal with little light in fall/winter, dry, hot air. However, if you water without care, root rot will destroy them.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 26, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows slowly. Used mainly indoors. Tolerates drought conditions. Can tolerate some salt conditions.

Neutral BotanyBob On Aug 9, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

This tree is commonly grown as an indoor plant, having a lot of versatility in its light requirements. Often it is sold as three intertwined trees that make an especially nice indoor plant. If planted out doors, these trunks will eventually 'melt' into each other and become an ordinary tree, so don't spend the extra money on these if you plan to stick them outdoors.

Also commonly available are variegated forms of this plant that perform nearly as well as the normal variety, only seem to grow a bit slower.

Planted outdoors in the Southwest, this makes an exceptional street or avenue tree, forming a large, thick, white trunk and retains a full head of leaves all year round. However, the roots, like most larger Ficus species, become very large and invasive, and can lift up curbs, sidewalks, streets and driveways. Be careful where you plant it. As big as they get in Southern California, they do not usually 'banyan', or form much in the way of arial roots, the way they do in more humid climates, as in Florida or Hawaii. In warm, humid climates, Ficus benjamina will eventually become massive banyan trees, forming numerous arial roots, that eventually reach the ground and make new trunks. The resulting trees can have 'trunks' many many yards in diameter. Be very careful if planting banyan trees in these climates.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bellflower, California
Brentwood, California
Clovis, California
Fallbrook, California
Mission Viejo, California
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Reseda, California
San Pedro, California
Santee, California
Temecula, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Bartow, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Tampa, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Hilo, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honomu, Hawaii
Canton, Illinois
Lafayette, Louisiana
Pearl River, Louisiana
Saint Louis, Missouri
Saint Marys, Pennsylvania
Wexford, Pennsylvania
Broaddus, Texas
Brownsville, Texas (2 reports)
Galveston, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Portland, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
Falls Church, Virginia
Kalama, Washington

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