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Ficus benjamina, or Weeping Fig, has long been popular as the “indoor shade tree.” This is the only indoor plant that can give you that “tree” look, and despite its habit of shedding leaves when it is
relocated, it is an easy houseplant given adequate light. The weeping fig grows in full sun in the
tropics, where it becomes a huge shade tree with shiny light green leaves and wild, twisting aerial roots flowing from branches to ground, completely surrounding its trunk. As a houseplant,
however, its size and shape is easily controlled by pruning. There are many F. benjamina cultivars, including a few that are prized as bonsai subjects, such as F. ‘Toolittle’, F. ‘Kiki’, and F. exotica. Another pretty cultivar is F. ‘Starlite’, with green and white variegated leaves.
Other ficus to try include the long-leaved Ficus ‘Alii’ and the big fiddle-leaved Ficus lyrata. Then there is the low maintenance Rubber tree that is super easy, with large thick glossy leaves. The cultivar F. ‘Burgundy’ is especially pretty. Pruning a rubber tree will produce branching, preventing it from
becoming a single tall trunk with a few leaves at the top as portrayed in cartoons. Rubber trees in the tropics resemble big, beautiful magnolia trees. Keep all ficus trees happy with bright light and moderate moisture.