Ficus is an extremely popular and diverse range of ornamental foliage houseplants. Varieties fall into a number of key species; however, the care requirements are pretty straightforward and similar across the groups, making these an ideal choice for everyone.
Ficus produces a milky white substance called latex, a natural rubber, which hardens when the plant is damaged, sealing the wound quickly to prevent infection.
Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig): Weeping Figs have loose hanging branches of glossy, narrow-pointed, oval leaves. This is probably the most popular and well-known species of Ficus.
Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant): This species is bang on trend with its dark, shiny, attractive, oval leaves. The latex in the sap was previously used in rubber production.
Ficus lyrata (Fiddle-Leaf Fig): Huge, glossy, ovate, fiddle-shaped leaves with prominent veins. Great for adding some serious greenery to your indoor living space. A dwarf variety is also available.
Ficus triangularis (Triangle Leaf Fig): These beautiful plants have deep green, glossy leaves with a fabulous triangle shape.
Ficus cyathistipula (African Fig Tree/Birchbark Fig): Dense, luscious, deep green foliage with large oval leaves. Looks a little like a cross between Ficus lyrata and Ficus elastica.
Ficus benghalensis (Bengal Fig/Strangler Fig/Banyan Tree): In its natural habitat, these trees can grow to over 30m tall with a spread of 200m and are some of the largest canopy trees in the world. Don’t panic: you can easily manage their size when grown in an indoor container. Large, thick, leathery leaves similar to those of Ficus elastica.
Ficus microcarpa (Indian Laurel): This species has many common names: Laurel Fig, Laurel Rubber, Curtain Fig, Strangling Fig. It has glossy, dark green, ovate leaves and is often grown as a bonsai.
Ficus maclellandii (Narrow Leaved Fig/Long Leaved Fig): A relatively new variety, they have long, slender leaves that taper to a point on graceful, arching stems.