7 types of Ficus for large gardens

Ficus are very large trees, but the truth is that it is very easy, perhaps too much, to find them in nurseries labeled as indoor plants, which is a problem. And it is because, first, there is not a single plant that is indoor, but there are many that, due to the climate, cannot be outside the home, and second, these plant beings that I am going to tell you about need a lot of space, except for a few species.

They do not fit inside a floor, unless with time we want to have a clear jungle . It is totally true that a potted plant will not grow as much as if it were in the ground, but it is still important to choose well which ones we are going to buy to avoid problems. So now we are going to see different types of Ficus for large gardens.

Ficus benghalensis

Image – Flickr/ Bernard DUPONT

Known as the banyan or strangler fig, it is a tree that begins as an epiphyte endemic to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is a plant that develops aerial roots that allow the branches and therefore the leaves to grow and strengthen. When these roots touch the ground, their growth rate accelerates and the life of their host begins to be in serious danger.

Eventually, the host’s trunk dies and rots, but the strangler fig will have already formed a trunk of roots – now called fulcreas and not aerial ones. By then it may have reached a height of 30 to 40 meters, but if it is not content with having killed one plant it will go for the next. Thus, it is not uncommon to find specimens occupying an area of ​​up to 12 thousand square meters in their natural habitat.

It does not resist cold or frost.

Related article:The immense strangler fig

Ficus benjamina

Image – Wikimedia/ Alejandro Bayer Tamayo

The Ficus benjamina is known as boxwood, Indian laurel, amate, rubber benjamina or matapalo. Native to South and Southeast Asia, and South and North Australia, today it is the official tree of Bangkok, Thailand.

Despite its surname ‘benjamina’, do not be fooled: it is one of the smallest of the genus, but it is a tree that reaches a height of 15 meters, with a thick trunk 40-60cm in diameter. The leaves are oval, measuring 6-13cm long, and produce small fruits that, in their habitat, are food for various birds.

Resists up to -7ºC.

Related article:Ficus benjamina, the perfect tree to provide shade

Ficus elastica

Image – Flickr/ Dinesh Valke

Known as gomero or rubber tree, it is a tree native to northeast India and western Indonesia that can reach 40 meters (rarely 60m) with a trunk up to 2 meters in diameter. It is included within the group of epiphytic Ficus, that is, the Ficus that begin their life as epiphytic plants, growing on other trees, and as they produce aerial roots, they create buttresses that keep them well anchored to the ground.

The leaves are broad, bright green in color, and 10 to 35cm long by 5 to 15cm wide. The fruit is small, 1cm long, and contains a single viable seed.

There are many varieties, such as the Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ or simply Ficus robusta, which has the largest leaves, or variegated leaves (green and yellow). In any case, they are plants for gardens with a tropical or temperate climate, without frosts or weak down to -7ºC.

Related article:The Ficus elastica or Gomero

Ficus macrophylla

Image – Wikimedia/ Mattinbgn

Known as the Moreton Bay fig, it is a strangler epiphytic tree native to Moreton Bay, in Queensland (Australia). It usually begins its life by germinating on a branch of another plant, which ends up becoming its host. Over time, the roots of the Ficus strangle it, but by the time its host dies it will already have a well-formed trunk with aerial roots.

It can reach a height of up to 60 meters, with a thick trunk up to 2m in diameter. The leaves are long, elliptical, and are 15-30cm long. It produces fruits of 2 to 2.5 cm in diameter, which can be eaten but are bland.

It resists frosts down to -7ºC.

Related article:Ficus macrophylla

Ficus microcarpa

Image – Wikimedia/ Forest & Kim Starr

Known as Indian or Yucatecan laurel, it is a species native to South and Southeast Asia that can reach a height of 15 meters, sometimes 20m. Its crown is very voluminous, composed of leaves 4 to 13cm long, dark green and leathery. The fruit is small, 1cm.

It is considered an invasive plant in Hawaii, Florida, Bermuda, Central America and South America. Resists up to -7ºC.

Related article:Ficus microcarpa

Religious ficus

Image – Wikimedia/ Vinayaraj

Known as the pagoda fig, sacred fig, pipal or bo tree, it is a tree native to Nepal, India, southwest China, Indochina and eastern Vietnam that, unlike those we have seen so far, is deciduous or semi-deciduous for living in a tropical climate with a marked dry season.

It can reach a height of 35-40 meters, with a trunk up to 3 meters in diameter. The leaves are cordate, with a characteristic tendril at the tip, and are 10 to 17cm long by 8 to 12cm wide. The fruit is small, measuring 1 to 1.5cm in diameter.

Resists cold and frost down to -7ºC.

Related article:What is the Bodhi tree?

Ficus rubiginosa

Image – Flickr/ Pete

Known as the Port Jackson fig, small leaf fig or moldy fig, it is a tree that begins as an epiphyte native to eastern Australia that reaches a height of up to 30 meters. The leaves are ovate to elliptical, and are 6-10cm long by 1-4cm wide. It produces small fruits, about one centimeter.

It is very similar to Ficus robusta, but they differ by their leaves, which are smaller in F. rubiginosa.

It is widely used as an ornamental plant, but you should know that if you live in the United States there it is considered an invasive species in some points. It resists weak frosts down to -7ºC.

Related article:Ficus australis (Ficus rubiginosa)

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