House Plants/my new fig tree
I just bought a fig tree from my local grocery store. Its only about a foot and a half tall, it has small tear-drop shaped leaves. I was wondering if you knew which kind of fig I have, and also any indoor care tips. The florist told me to keep it in a well lit window, it grows very slowly and the soil should drain well and dry out an inch deep before I water it again. She also said I should wait a year before re-potting the tree into a bigger planter. Any truth to this?
Thanks so much
Your new plant is a Ficus benjamina. Your florist gave you better instructions than most.
It will do best in your sunniest uncovered window. The more light is receives, the faster and larger it will grow. I recommend that you get a plastic saucer that is 1-2 inches wider than the base of the pot and put that under the plant.
Allow no more than the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering enough that a bit trickles through the drainage holes into saucer. Do not repot at this time, but when you find that the top half-inch of soil is drying out every couple of days following thorough waterings, then it would be appropriate to move it up one pot size only. Depending on how much light it receives, that could be more or less than a year.
New Ficus trees often shed interior leaves as they adapt to the light in their new location. Don't stress over that. New growth will come in at the ends of the stems and that new growth will be adapted to the light in its new location. Therefore, it is best to find a location where you can leave it permanently.
Ficus trees respond very well to pruning. Any stem can be pruned back at any time that you feel it is getting too tall or too wide or too spindly. Pruning never harms this plant and you do not have to worry about doing it incorrectly.
If you prefer to keep it in a more attractive pot, then use a pot that is large enough for you to place the existing pot inside. This disguises the existing pot without repotting it unnecessarily.
I have written detailed articles on repotting, pruning and on Ficus care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.
Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
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