How To Grow a Ficus Audrey
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The Ficus Audrey aka Ficus benghalensis is a relative of the Fiddle Leaf Fig (or Ficus Lyrata) tree and pleasantly less fussy. The Ficus Audrey is also the national tree of India. In the wild, the Ficus Audrey can grow long aerial roots, which create a large canopy. Most indoor Ficus Audrey’s however can grow up to 100 feet tall. Unlike the Fiddle Leaf Fig, the Ficus Audrey has longer and rounder leaves, which can also have a fuzzy texture.
If you have struggled with Fiddle Leaf Figs (like myself) the Ficus Audrey can be a great option! The Ficus Audrey can be sensitive to overwatering but is a bit more flexible in terms of its light requirements.
Bright, Indirect Light
The Ficus Audrey is considered a tropical houseplant, which means they prefer lots of bright but indirect sunlight. Unlike the Fiddle Leaf Fig, the Ficus Audrey can tolerate lower light placements. An East facing window will make your Ficus Audrey happiest. However, a few feet away from a South or West facing window will work well too. Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, a North facing window might not provide enough light.
While the Ficus Audrey is less fussy than the Fiddle Leaf Fig, the Ficus Audrey prefers soil that doesn’t dry out completely in between waterings. Your Ficus Audrey will also appreciate not being overwatered, and sitting in wet soil for long periods of time.
A good rule of thumb is to let the top 2-3 inches of soil dry out before watering. If you’re unsure, gently press your finger into the soil, and if your finger comes out clean, it’s safe to water. If your finger comes out a bit dirty, hold off a little longer before watering.
Your Ficus Audrey will appreciate light, well-draining soil. A cactus soil with perlite mixed in will help your Ficus Audrey to thrive. Indoor potting soil will work just fine as well if that is what you have on hand.
65-85 Fahrenheit + Average Humidity
As with most houseplants, be sure to keep your Ficus Audrey away from drafts, air conditioners, and heaters. Many household temperatures work just fine for the Ficus Audrey, but a good rule of thumb is to stay between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
As with humidity, most household humidity levels are fine for the Ficus Audrey. A bright but indirect spot in your kitchen or bathroom is an easy way to add in a little extra humidity. If your kitchen or bathroom isn’t an option, consider adding a humidifier near your plants to increase the humidity.
Balanced Liquid Fertilizer
The Ficus Audrey will take no time at all to use up the nutrients in the soil. A well-balanced liquid fertilizer will go a long way in providing the nutrients your Ficus Audrey needs. A fertilizer specifically meant for Fiddle Leaf Figs will also work well on the Ficus Audrey. This fertilizer by Perfect Plants is an affordable option.
What’s Wrong With my Plant?
Yellowing leaves can mean that your Ficus Audrey is overwatered, especially towards the bottom of the plant. Yellow leaves all over the Ficus Audrey can mean that your plant is underwatered. If under-watering is not the problem, consider if your Ficus Audrey is getting enough light. Lastly, if none of the previous problems seem to be the reason for yellowing leaves, consider adding fertilizer as your Ficus Audrey may be nutrient deficient.
Your Ficus Audrey will tell you it is thirsty if the leaves are droopy. This can also be caused by recent repotting. Give it a little time and within a week your Ficus Audrey should recover.
Crispy brown spots on your Ficus Audrey indicate that your plant is in serious need of a drink. The opposite is the issue (overwatering) if you notice soft, brown spots towards the bottom of the Ficus Audrey.
Spider Mites, Mealybugs, Fungus Gnats, Oh My
Because the Ficus Audrey can be grown indoors, it is susceptible to common houseplant pests. Such as mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, and scale. An easy way to keep pests at bay is to regularly clean your leaves to catch pests before they turn into infestations.
A simple solution of 1 part 70% isopropyl alcohol to 5 parts water, with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle will help keep pests away. Consider spraying a cloth and gently wiping down the leaves. Keeping the leaves clean also add the benefit of allowing the plant to absorb more light.
The Ficus Audrey is mildly toxic to humans and pets. Ingesting the Ficus Audrey can cause mouth and stomach irritation. The sap in the Ficus Audrey can cause skin irritation, be sure to handle it carefully or with gloves on.