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Ficus

Martha Stewart Living, February 2003

Under the proper conditions, ficus is a very easy-care, rewarding houseplant. Chris Raimondi, houseplant expert at the Raimondi Horticultural Group in Ridgewood, New Jersey, shares a few tips to keep ficus flourishing.

Most ficus don't like direct sunlight but can tolerate bright, indirect light near a window. You'll know your ficus needs watering when it produces a lemon-colored leaf. Water the plant from the top to completely saturate the root ball, but don't let it sit in water; ficus dont like "wet feet." Most ficus prefer a simple soil mixture made of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand to provide good drainage. They don't need to be fed often, just two or three times during their growing season.

To keep your ficus healthy, be sure to prune it properly. Remove any dead or diseased branches by cutting right where the branch meets the tree. In order to keep a large-leaf variety, such as Ficus elastica, thriving, keep the leaves clean of any dirt or dust. Mix 10 parts water to 1 part mild hand soap in a spray bottle, and mist the leaves. Use Plant Paws (a soft cotton mitt), or any soft, lint-free cloth, to remove dirt and dust from leaves.

Plant List
Ficus
F. alii
F. buxifolia
Weeping fig (F. benjamina "Variegata")
India rubber tree (F. elastica)
Fiddle-leaf fig (F. lyrata)
Creeping fig (F. pumila or F. repens)

Special Thanks
Chris Raimondi
Raimondi Horticultural Group Inc.
Ridgewood, NJ 07450-2505