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Your Guide to the Different Types of Ficus Trees

There are many types of ficus trees. You can learn about all of them in this guide to one of the most popular indoor plants around.

Did you know the world’s largest banyan tree contains over 3,000 aerial roots and takes up over 4 acres of land? Would it also surprise you to learn that it’s a type of fig tree? When we think of figs, we usually picture the sweet purple fruit of a common fig tree. In reality, there are more than 900 types of fig trees (or ficus trees) around the world! Some ficus trees are tiny enough to grow indoors, while others can grow to be over 100 feet tall. Ready to learn more about this fascinating genus of trees? Read on!

1. Weeping Fig

Also called ficus benjamina, the weeping fig is one of the most recognizable types of ficus trees. The tree features small, shiny, emerald-colored leaves. It’s native to Asia and Australia but has also become naturalized in many US states, like Arizona and Florida. The weeping fig is a beautiful choice for an indoor tree and is relatively easy to care for. Water it once a week and give it plenty of direct sunlight, and it’s sure to thrive for many years.

2. Fiddle Leaf Fig

Another popular choice for home decorating is the beautiful fiddle leaf fig. Native to the tropical rainforests of Africa, you’ll spot the ficus lyrata in many interior design guides. Its leaves are big, waxy, and shaped like violins (or fiddles, if you’re in the south). Fiddle leaf figs make a stunning addition to any room in your home. Just make sure it gets lots of sunlight!

3. Audrey Ficus

A native to exotic India, the Audrey ficus (ficus benghalensis) is among the most beautiful of the world’s fig trees. Its leaves are deep green and velvety. Like the fiddle leaf fig, it also features a striking, prominent vein pattern on its leaves. In the wild, these types of ficus can grow to enormous heights and widths. But don’t worry–it’s perfectly possible to grow one inside your home too.

4. Chinese Banyan (Bonsai Tree)

If you can’t live inside a forest, why not bring a miniature forest inside your home? The same genus of trees that produce figs can also be sculpted into eye-catching bonsai designs. Start your own bonsai garden with a ficus microcarpa tree–also called Chinese banyan. When cultivated indoors, expect your Chinese banyan to grow between 18 and 36 inches tall.

5. Rubber Fig Tree 

You guessed it–the same genus that produces figs and bonsai trees also gives us rubber. Even if you’re not interested in starting a rubber plantation, a rubber fig (ficus elastica) is another stunning option for home decor. It will stay small if grown as a houseplant, but it may grow quite tall if you plant it in your backyard. Native to Indonesia and India, the leaves of the rubber fig are shiny and oblong in shape. As its name suggests, the latex sap from the inside of the tree was once used to produce rubber.

Which of these ficus trees did you find most interesting? Whether it’s a tiny bonsai plant or a massive banyan tree, the fig plant is surely one of the most diverse in the floral kingdom. Ficus trees can also make a lovely addition to your home decor scheme. Ready to keep learning about the natural world? Check out our other science posts for more great insight.

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