THE LEAFLET

Plant Care  |  August 21, 2019

Ficus Audrey Care

Placement

PRO TIP: A thin layer of fuzz lines the leaves of the Ficus Audrey. Do not apply leaf shine as it can damage the leaves. Instead wipe them down with water mixed with a tiny bit of dish soap.

The Ficus Audrey (Ficus benghalensis) is the national tree of India. In its natural habitat its canopy can cover a lot of ground and provide great shade in its warm climate.

Similar to most Ficus trees, the Ficus Audrey prefers a spot where it will receive plenty of bright, indirect light. This plant will not tolerate long periods of direct sun or low light conditions. Ideally, place your Audrey directly in an eastern facing window, or a few feet removed from a southern or western facing window.

If you are unsure of the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.

Ficus Audrey aka Ficus Benghalensis Leaf

According to legend, the Ficus Audrey is the tree under which the Buddha sat for 49 days to achieve enlightenment.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: The Audrey has a thin latex-like sap which will drip rapidly from the tree when pruning. To keep this sap off of your furniture and floors, place small pieces of paper on the freshly pruned stems — like a shaving cut — and allow to dry overnight.

Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. Also, consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.

Ficus Audrey prefer soil that is consistently and evenly moist, with small periods of drought between waterings. Allow the top 2”-3” of the soil to dry between waterings. Allowing the soil to dry more than a few inches will lead to leaf loss. In contrast, too much moisture in the soil can lead to root rot and also cause leaves to drop. Be sure to check in with the soil regularly until you develop a routine with your plant. These plants do particularly well in the self watering containers.

The best way we have found to obtain an accurate moisture reading is with the Soil Sleuth Soil Probe. With it, you can check the soil moisture in the different strata of the soil in your pot, while simultaneously aerating the roots and keeping your fingernails free of dirt!

Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Ficus Audrey and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. The presence of drainage holes and size of the vessel play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole have been set up with a built-in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir for any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the excess water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants potted with drainage, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

Always be sure to assess your plant's watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for your plant’s specific moisture requirements. 

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir first in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks. Then the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the water reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the red indicator goes down, meaning the plant has started drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after a drying out period of a few days, be sure to refill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Ficus Audrey difficult to care for?

  • The Ficus Audrey is easier than its sister, the Ficus Lyrata (fiddle leaf fig tree). It acclimates well to new spaces, is less finicky when it comes to water needs, and it doesn’t require quite as much light. We consider it medium tree in terms of difficulty.

Why are the leaves of my Ficus Audrey dropping?

  • Typically this is caused by either over, or underwatering. If your tree is showing brown tips with yellow edging then you are likely over watering. If you see fully yellow leaves, and some crispy brown tips without yellow edging then it is likely due to underwatering. Always feel the soil to see if its conditions match your diagnosis, and consider the recent care you have given.

Can I place my Ficus next to an AC or heating vent?

  • It is best not to. Ficus are sensitive to hot and cold air drafts. They prefer humidity and warm temperatures, so anything to aid in maintaining a tepid environment will help keep your plant happy and healthy.

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot, as the plant is at its strongest.

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