Ficus benjamina (Benjamin Fig)


  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0049
  • Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina 
  • Common Name: Benjamin Fig, Weeping Fig, Weeping Chinese Banyan
  • Cultivars: 'Exotica' is discussed in this post, but several cultivars exist.
  • Family: Moraceae
  • Native To: India, Southern China, and the Solomon Islands.
Ficus benjamina
Photo by Matthew Gaston

Landscaping Information

    • Plant Type: Tree 
    • Texture: Dense, Open
    • Form: Weeping/Pendent 
    • Height (on average, in landscape use): 45'- 60'
    • Height to Spread Ratio: 1:2
    • Growth Rate: Medium
    • Landscape Values: Background, Border, Edging, Facer, Filler, Foundation, Framing, Hedge, Indoor, Lanai, Patio, Screen, Shade, Sculptural Form, Specimen, Erosion Control
    • Outstanding Quality: Form/Silhouette, Foliage Characters 
    Ficus benjamina
    Photo by Matthew Gaston
    Ficus benjamina at the UH Manoa Campus
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Botanical Descriptions

    • Figs: 0.25"-0.75", ripens from green to yellow. sessile, in pairs.
    Ficus benjamina unripe fig
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Foliage Color: Young/immature: Light Green. Mature: Bright Medium Green to Dark Green and Variegated in 'Exotica'. 
    Ficus benjamina 'Exotica'
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Foliage Tip: Acuminate
    • Foliage Base: Rounded to Attenuate
    • Petiole: 0.25"-1.25"
    • Stipules: small, lateral
    • Margins: Smooth to Undulate
    • Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    • Leaf Shape: Oblong to Elliptic
    • Leaf Type: Simple
    • Leaf Texture: Both sides waxy, smooth, and leathery. Wavy edges give an undulating texture.
    • Leaf Special Notes: Leaves often have a noticeable angle at the central leaf rib causing a wide V-shape. Short to long petioles have been observed. A tapering at tip of the leaf is also notable. 'Exotica' features cream to light yellow variegation at the margins.
    Ficus benjamina adaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Ficus benjamina abaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Bark and Trunk: Smooth, Gray to Brownish-Gray bark. Few aerial roots, if any.  
    Ficus benjamina bark
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Horticultural Information

      • Light Preference: Semi-Sun, Full Sun.
      • Light Tolerances: Semi-Sun, Partial Shade
      • Soil Preferences: Loam, Organic, Moist, Well-Drained
      • Tolerances: Humidity, Regular Watering, Drought (once fully established) 
      • Water Requirements: Enjoys moist soils, but once established it is considered somewhat xeric and drought tolerant. 
      • Notes on Maintenance: Makes a good shade tree, but should not be planted near buildings or pavement due to intrusive roots. An evergreen, but when conditions change either through moving climates or transplanting, the plant will shed leaves. It is sensitive to change. Once established, it can be considered xeric and somewhat drought tolerant, but rather sensitive at first. Sometimes trimmed into a hedge. As an indoor plant, growth is slower and limited in size by the parameters of the growing conditions (pot size, water, light, nutrients, et cetera).
      Ficus benjamina 
      Photo by Matthew Gaston

      • Propagation: Cutting
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 12b
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): 4, Evaluate

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