MORACEAE        FIG FAMILY

INTRODUCTION:   Houseplants in the fig family consist of vines, shrubs and trees that are native to the tropics and subtropics.   The primary genus containing houseplants in the fig family is Ficus.  There are several attractive trees in this genus.  It also contains the creeping fig used extensively for topiary.  The reference to rubber plant is due to the latex that many members of this genus produce, at one time a common source of rubber. Ficus carica is the common edible fig. 
 The common rubber plant is Ficus elastica.  It has many cultivars including some which have attractively variegated leaves. 
 Ficus benjamina, the weeping fig, is the most common plant in this genus.  It is used extensively as a tree in shopping malls, bank lobbies and other public spaces. 
 Ficus lyrata is the fiddle leaf fig
 The creeping fig, Ficus pumila, is a popular vine and is commonly used for topiary. 

 
General Care of Figs:  
   

   

temperature: Average house temperature would be adequate for these tropical trees and vines.
medium: Well-drained media are best.  The general purpose medium and the foliage plant medium given above would both be suitable.
water: Keep the plants moist but not wet.  A dry spell between waterings would be a good practice.
light: Although they tolerate low light, Ficus grows better and has a denser canopy of leaves in moderate to bright light.
fertilization: Moderate fertilizer applications would be acceptable.  If this group is fertilized too often, they will grow faster and will more rapidly outgrow their location.
pests and problems: The figs attract many pests.  Scale, mealy bugs, and mites are the most common pests.  The figs are relatively free of diseases.  They burn if moved to bright light too quickly and respond  to most changes in their environment by dropping leaves.
grooming: Removing dead and dying leaves after they have translocated their nutrients.  Wiping the plants with a clean, soft, wet sponge is a good way to reduce dust and reduce pest problems.
propagation: Layerage and cuttage both work well for this group. 

 

  Virtual Garden's Directory of Foliage House Plants