Ficus Audrey Care
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 high levels of bright, indirect light or direct sunlight. This plant will need to be acclimated to long periods of direct sun and it will not tolerate 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 or office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.
As the Ficus Audrey matures it can develop beautiful aerial roots that will become part of the trunk over time if left to grow.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my Ficus have a bacterial infection or root rot?
- Probably not. Although the internet is ablaze with this diagnosis, we've found this affliction to be exceedingly rare in the thousands of Ficuses we've cared for through our sister company, Greenery NYC. It's probably another problem such as low light or overwatering. However, we have a guide on how to identify fungal and bacterial leaf spotting if you're interested in learning more.
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 the care level to be moderate.
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.
Standard Planter Instructions
There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery Unlimited—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within these two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. The presence of drainage holes and the size of the planted vessel both play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.
Plants purchased in pots without a drainage hole have been set up with a built-in drainage system. A layer of Aeration Stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled clay) 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 slowly 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 the excess begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.
Self Watering Container Instructions
The self-watering containers require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for at least four weeks, before testing the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for up to ten weeks.
TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the water reservoir until the red indicator reaches half way between the MAX and MIN 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 while using the reservoir system. 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. You may opt for adding fresh soil into the gaps between the soil and planter, so as to give the plant a nutrient boost. You may annually, or bi annually, top water the plant to flush the foot system. Only do so when the reservoir is empty and the plant is ready for more water.
Step 1: Top water for four to ten weeks. The indicator will look empty, like the picture above.
Step 2: Fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line.
Step 3: Watch the indicator over the next day or two. If it goes down on its own, it means the roots of the plant have grown into the reservoir. From here on out, ONLY water into the reservoir.
Aeration Stones promote healthy root growth by creating air pockets in the soil and absorbing excess water in the basin of your planter. These porous clay stones are a natural, efficient and invaluable material to set your plant up for success. We always suggest using these when working with a planter without drainage holes.
We've tried countless pruners over the years, and none surpass the ARS. Our team uses these pruners daily for all manor of indoor and outdoor plant work and we'll never go back to another brand.
Neem Oil is an all purpose insecticide, miticide, and fungicide used for organic gardening. It's systemic, which means the plant will absorb the neem oil into its circulatory system and poison pests from within. Be careful not to overuse, as this can weaken plants and cause discoloration.
Plants do poorly without air to the roots. Overwatering causes the air to be pushed out of the soil, compacting the soil around the waterlogged roots of the plant. Using the Soil Probe aerates the soil as it checks for moisture.
Watering cans come in all shapes and sizes, and the perfect one for your home is the one you're happiest living with. Look for long spouts and a container volume that's appropriate for your plant collection.
Fox Farm Ocean Forest contains all the features we look for when aiming to ensure the long term health of a plant: excellent water retention, breathability, texture, and is made from organic materials.
10-4-3 fertilizer is a great, gentle choice for indoor foliage. Simply mix this in to your watering can using the supplied directions every other week. Ensure that your plant is receiving a good amount of light, otherwise it won't have the energy to process the nutrients and burnt tips may occur on the foliage.