5 low-maintenance ficus trees to replace your violin leaf


CTaking care of your plants by watering, pruning and repotting can give you a legitimate personal connection to them. And in light of that connection and the effort put into keeping them alive, the event that a plant dies can be a serious disappointment, which is why some people have come to shun especially picky vegetables, such as the infamously troublesome fiddle-leaf fig. If you’ve had a hard time with fiddle leaf figs or just want to avoid the undue stress they can cause, the good news is that there are other options for scratching your fiddle leaf figs itch. Enter: low-maintenance ficus from the ficus leaf fig family.

Know that you would be in good company with this branching of plant species; Plant company Bloomscape predicts that in 2022 there will be a lot of shopping in low-maintenance ficus. “Ficus houseplants tend to draw a lot of attention, whether for their stately shape, interesting foliage, or unique color,” says Lindsay Pangborn, a gardening expert at Bloomscape. “They also thrive in indoor environments and don’t need much care outside of regular watering.”

So find below expert suggestions for low-maintenance ficus trees to brighten up any space.

5 low-maintenance ficuses that aren’t fiddle leaf figs

1. ficus elastica, also called rubber tree plant

“The rubber plant, or ficus elastica, is one of the oldest varieties grown as a houseplant in the United States,” says Pangborn. The rubber tree can tolerate more direct sunlight than other ficuses, Pangborn adds, making the plant the perfect addition to a south-facing window.

If you’re looking for an eye-catching plant, enjoy the burgundy rubber tree, which is more shrubby and has dramatic, dark foliage. Rubber trees can grow quite tall, even indoors, so they take up just as much space as your fully grown fiddle-leaf fig.

2. Ficus benghalensisalso known as ficus Audrey

This is probably the closest thing to the appearance of a fiddle leaf fig, but you’re less likely to be disappointed because, as one of the many low-maintenance ficuses available, this plant isn’t as easy to kill.

Part of the reason ficus gives Audrey fig vibes is because of the thicker veins in the leaves, says Brandon Hurst, owner of Brandon the Plant Guy in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. When choosing this plant, Pangborn wants you to keep in mind that “this tree does well in a spot with medium to bright indirect light.”

3. ficus benjaminaaka weeping fig

ficus benjamina is really cool if you want something more like a Bonsai tree,” says Hurst. “They are really great to have for oxygen. They don’t need a lot of water. They don’t need much care other than the right lighting.”

If you’re looking for something with a little more height, Pangborn recommends ficus Danielle, a variety of weeping figs with a rounded canopy and small, glossy, bright green leaves. However, before you add anything to your cart, you should know that this plant needs indirect bright light.

4. Ficus triangularisalso known as triangular ficus (fur)

Hurst thinks that what people go to the ficus triangularis is the shape of its leaves. As the name suggests, the leaves of this plant are triangular, which is a little different from the look of your average houseplant.

While you can’t go wrong with choosing the triangular ficus as one of your new low-maintenance ficus, Hurst recommends shopping for a variegated triangular ficus. “It has more of a two-tone tone, like a creamy one and a green one,” Hurst says, adding that the variegated version is “a little nicer” than the non-variegated plant.

5. Ficus umbellataalso known as umbrella ficus

According to Pangborn, this plant can “add some height and drama without taking up a lot of floor space,” meaning it would be a perfect purchase if you’re working with a smaller space.

The plant grows up rather than out and has textural, heart-shaped leaves. In terms of low-maintenance ficuses reminiscent of fiddle-leaf figs, the umbrella ficus may well have the best of both worlds. “Although it looks similar to the fiddle leaf fig, it’s not as fussy,” says Pangborn. “Its leaves hang when it’s ready for a drink and it enjoys a room with bright light.”

Of course, low maintenance does not equal no maintenance on any plant. To properly care for your low-maintenance ficuses, become familiar with their specific requirements, including light, water, fertilizer and repotting (ideally before purchasing the plant to reduce the risk of dying).

Pangborn and Hurst say that you should ideally keep your ficuses near a window, where they can be exposed to indirect sunlight. In terms of nutrition, these tree-like plants are usually watered once a week or fortnightly. Fertilizing and repotting requirements vary from plant to plant, so try to ask about that when purchasing your new plant baby.

Which plants should be placed in which rooms based on the lighting needs? Watch the video below to find out.

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