Ficus Audrey: How To Grow and Care For Ficus Benghalensis

Ficus Audrey is a selected variety of Ficus Benghalensis [FY-Kus, Ben-gal-EN-sis]. This evergreen tree is known as the strangling fig and belongs to the family Moraceae.

Its cousins are the popular Ficus benjamina (Benjamin tree) and Ficus pandurata (fiddle leaf fig). 

Attractive leaves of Ficus Audrey (a select variety of Ficus Benghalensis)

This tree is native to Pakistan and India, and its leaves have a fuzzy surface. 

The specimens of this outdoor plant in India are the largest in the world and offer canopy coverage.

In India, this tree is considered sacred as it is believed to be a tree under which Buddha received enlightenment. 

The common names for Ficus Audrey include:

  • Banyan Tree
  • Peepal
  • Bahupada
  • Indian Banyan
  • Banyan Fig

Ficus Audrey Care

Size & Growth

The Ficus Benghalensis has a spreading crown and grows 65’ – 98’ feet long. When grown as a potted house plant indoor specimens reach 5′ – 10′ feet tall.

Audrey has a light colored trunk with velvet green leaves and pale leaf veins running through the leaves.

Typically this plant starts its life as an epiphyte as it grows in another tree’s branch. 

As it starts growing, the aerial roots are sent down to the ground, which quickly forms roots. 

The roots start becoming more vigorous and thicker rapidly.

Flowering and Fragrance

The Banyan Tree does flower but the flower are insignificant.

Light & Temperature

Just like the rubber tree, this tree grows best under plenty of bright indirect light. 

Ficus plants don’t tolerate prolonged periods of low lights or direct sun. 

Therefore, pick a spot where it receives indirect light, like near an east-facing window.

These plants also don’t tolerate drafts or low temperatures. 

It is essential to ensure the temperature stays above 60° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C). 

For optimal growth, the temperature should be above 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C).

Cold drafts through air-conditioners, doors, or windows will harm the plant. 

Avoid placing them in a drafty spot. 

This plant prefers a humid environment, so mist its leaves regularly or add a pebble tray with water at the bottom of the pot of the floor plant.

The USDA hardiness zones of this plant are 10 – 12.

Watering and Feeding

The Ficus tree doesn’t like overwatering. 

Before watering, check the soil for its moisture level. 

If the soil is not moist under the surface, then water the plant.

The Audrey Ficus grow best in evenly and consistently moist soil, with small drought periods between watering. 

Ensure 2″ – 3″ inches of the soil surface is dry before you water.

Fertilize the plant at the start of its growing season using slow-release pellets

These plants are fast growers and benefits most when fertilized every month during the summer and spring seasons, and once after two months during winter and fall seasons.

Soil & Transplanting

The Ficus Benghalensis requires fertile soil with plenty of drainage holes when being grown in a pot. 

The ideal potting mix for this plant is soil-based as it provides the plant with the right nutrients it needs for optimal growth.

When this plant is healthy, it quickly outgrows any pot and even the house. 

Repotting annually is recommended to slow down its growth and maintain a manageable size of the plant. 

Utilize high-quality potting soil when repotting.

Grooming and Maintenance

The plant care for the Ficus Audrey is far easier to maintain and care for in comparison to other trees. 

It is more tolerant to shifts in the environment than the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. 

While excess water is not suitable for this plant, it easily bounces back to health.

To maintain its shape and size, prune the plant during the winter season when its growth is slow.  

Use a sharp pair of scissors and wear gloves when pruning. 

Cut the plant back a little above the node to encourage new growth.

How to Propagate Ficus Benghalensis

The propagation of the Audrey Ficus is done using tip cuttings and seeds.

When growing this plant with tip cuttings:

  • Use a rooting hormone, and opt for non-woody stems. 
  • Include at least half an inch of stem above and below the leaf. 
  • Place the cuttings in a rooting mixture, and the roots will start developing after a few weeks.

If growing as an outdoor plant, once the new leaves start emerging; transplant it in its permanent position.

When using seeds to propagate this plant, it is recommended to let the seeds dry before removing them from the plant. 

However, growing the Banyan tree through seeds takes a longer time.

Ficus Benghalensis Pest or Diseases

The Ficus plants might face issues with thrips, root-knot nematodes, spider mites especially during winter, scale insects, and mealybugs

Moreover, the plant might experience Southern blight, twig dieback, crown gall, and leaf spots due to bacterial and fungal problems. 

Be sure to treat it immediately.

Ficus Audrey Uses

The Ficus Benghalensis is used as an ornamental tropical plant, and it works well with the rubber plant, Ficus Lyrata and Ficus Benjamina (Weeping Fig). 

This floor plant provides materials and timber for tying.

The Indians plant this tree for religious purposes as the Ficus Benghalensis is considered sacred. 

It is also grown along roadsides, and in large gardens and parks to provide shade.