Scientific name: Ficus benghalensis
Synonyms: Ficus Audrey, Bengal Fig, Strangler Fig, Banyan tree, Banyan Fig
Ficus Benghalensis is the fun natured cousin of the much loved Fiddle Leaf Fig, who certainly can be a bit more of a Drama Queen, whilst Ficus Audrey is the more quiet, pretty family member, with easier care requirements . Making the Ficus Audrey a must for beginners looking for a statement plant.
The Ficus Audrey, much like the Ficus Lyrata, has beautifully veined foliage, but is slightly smaller with a little fuzzy, and sports a smooth grey stem, which adds to its minimalist appeal. In addition to its striking appearance, its easy care requirements make ownership a breeze
These Figs are native to India and Pakistan, where they grow on other trees to support themselves, hence the name Strangler fig. The plants' tolerance of varying light levels and watering requirements contributes to their low maintenance nature. Unlike the Fiddle Leaf Fig, which often requires very bright light to thrive, the Ficus Audrey is less finicky about irregular watering and more adept to filtered light. Despite this, they do prefer some humidity, and this can be achieved by placing your plant with other houseplants, or by placing them on pebble trays, which will create a humid localized environment around the Plant. When it comes to watering, Ficus Audrey is less fussy than many of its counterparts. It does, however, appreciate even moisture throughout. It is best to water after the top 5 - 10cm of the potting soil has dried.
An attractive indoor tree, the Ficus Audrey is perfect for filtered light positions, and looks good if you are looking for something minimalistic. Almost any bright room would benefit from this tree's elegance. Additionally. this delightful plant makes an attractive tabletop display when young, where one can appreciate the foliage up close.
Note: Please be aware that the plant is not pet friendly and is harmful if eaten, so keep out of reach of children.
Ficus Audrey Common Symptoms
- Sudden loss of leaves: There are a few potential causes for leaf drop with Ficus plants, the most common is overwatering! They can also go into shock if moved from one environment to another (especially if the room conditions are different). Don’t panic - they will adjust over time. The other potential cause is over fertilizing, so make sure to read the dilution instructions carefully.
- Yellowing leaves: A natural part of the life cycle of this plant, older leaves at the base of the plant will yellow and drop.
- Brown edges on foliage: A number of issues can manifest themselves in this way but the most common cause is dry air; if your Ficus Audrey is near a heat source, air conditioner or draught. Inconsistent watering is another potential problem.
- New leaves are small: If your plant is producing continuously small leaves, it’s likely it’s not be getting enough light/humidity so move it to somewhere brighter. It can also signal the plant needs repotting.
- Spots/patches on leaves: There are potentially a few reasons here; if the spots are brown and soft the likely cause is over-watering. Lighter coloured patches can signal shock from cold water; tepid (room temperature) water is always best. Click for more on Identifying Over Vs Under Watering.
- Scorched foliage/ dry shrivelled leaves: Your plant is getting too much direct light, or the compost has been allowed to dry out; move to somewhere more shaded and water regularly.
- Pests: Incorrect care and lack of humidity are the main reasons pests may appear on your Ficus, red spider mite and scale are ones to be particularly aware of in warm, dry conditions. Keeping the humidity up is the main deterrent, but if pests are present, this houseplant can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Repeat weekly and keep plant in isolation until completely pest-free. Click for more on identifying Common Houseplant Pests.
Ficus Audrey Care Instructions
- Origin: Native to India and Pakistan, found growing in the tropical forests of the subcontinent.
- Height: Approximately 2 metres height / 1 metre spread potted indoors. In their natural habitat, Audrey is one of the largest canopy in the world! She can grow to over 30m tall and an even larger spread.
- Light: A bright spot is ideal, as is indirect filtered light near a window. Protect from very harsh sun which can scorch the foliage. In darker conditions growth will slow and leaves will be small.
- Water: Water moderately during the growing season ( Spring through Summer), allowing the top layer of soil to dry out between watering. In their rest period (Winter), water lightly to prevent the plant from drying out but don’t overwater.
- Humidity: Moderate humidity and regular misting during Summer will be beneficial. A good level of humidity contributes to healthy growth and larger leaves on your Ficus Audrey.
- Temperature: Ideal temperatures range between 16-25°C, try to avoid sudden drops in temperature and be wary of draughts and open windows.
- Soil: A free-draining organic potting mix with added perlite which allows breathability for the roots is ideal, and this houseplant also grows extremely well in coco chips or bark.
- Fertilizer: This houseplant responds well to regular fertilising during the growing season. Use a balanced fertiliser twice a month during Spring and Summer and be sure to dilute correctly as over-feeding can cause some damage to the plant. If the potting medium is particularly dry, water lightly before feeding to avoid fertiliser burning the roots.
- Repotting: Ficus Audrey doesn’t require frequent repotting, and quite likes being slightly root-bound. Once every two years or so is completely fine; the ideal time to re-pot is early Spring when the plant has actively started growing after its winter rest. Roots ‘circling’ around the bottom of the nursery pot is an indication that repotting is needed. Increase pot size by just a few centimetres.
- Pruning: Pruning is rarely required with these houseplants, but you can cut the top off the plant to encourage branching, in turn creating a bushier ‘tree-like’ plant. You can then propagate the cutting…(read below!)
- Propagation: There are two options here. The most popular way is using stem cuttings; place in water to root and wait until the roots are a few centimetres long before potting on. This can be a fairly slow process! If the stems are very woody you can air layer them (a more advanced propagation process).
If in stock, shop for Ficus Audrey here.