Ficus Audrey. This Ficus Benghalensis tree is native to Pakistan and India, and its leaves have a fluffy and somewhat glossy surface. This Ficus Audrey evergreen tree belongs to the family Moraceae.
Ficus Benghalensis or Ficus Audrey has oval-shaped leaves similar to those of Ficus elastica. The leaves are large, thick, and leathery. The leaves color match with the pale pink-green veins.
Naturally, Ficus Audrey can grow to more than 30 meters tall with a spread of 200 meters. It can become the giant canopy trees in the world. You can easily manage their size by hand pruning.
Best grown in warmer climates such as those found in USDA plant hardiness zones 10-12.
Ficus Audrey plant profile
The common names of this plant are Banyan Tree, Peepal Bahupada, Indian Banyan, and Banyan Fig. Scientific names are Ficus Audrey and Ficus Benghalensis.
If there is a light shade, the plant can still tolerate such a condition. Avoid direct sunlight, or the plant gets sunburn of the leaves.
Ficus benghalensis or Ficus Audrey prefers a location where the plant will receive plenty of bright, indirect light. It will not tolerate long periods of direct sun.
It will not also tolerate low light conditions. The ideal place is in an eastern facing window. You can also place the plant a few feet away from a western or southern-facing window.
Growth and flower
The Ficus Benghalensis can grow up to 65 to 98 feet long. The plant has a spreading crown. If the plant is grown in container indoor can reach 5′ to 10′ feet tall.
The plant does a little flowering but it is not the main focus of the appearance.
Prevent the plant from getting cold drafts from doors, windows or air conditioners. These drafts may kill the plant. So you must avoid placing the plant in a drafty site.
If planted outdoors in winter months, you must relocate the plant indoor because it will not tolerate low temperatures.
The lowest temperature it can tolerate is above 60° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C). For most potential maximum growth, you should place the plant in the temperature above 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C).
This plant prefers a relatively high level of water vapor in the atmosphere. You might want to mist its leaves regularly. The other method is to add a humidity tray with decorative rocks or a pebble tray with water at the bottom of the pot.
The USDA hardiness zones of the Ficus Benghalensis plant are 10 to 12.
How to grow and care for Ficus Audrey
The Ficus Benghalensis requires rich soil and fertile soil. Usually, it must contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
The soil must also consist acceptable in quality or quantity of minerals such as boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, sulfur and zinc. These minerals can stimulate plant nutrition and health.
If planted in a pot or container, the pot must have drainage holes to keep out excess of water.
The best potting mix for this Ficus Audrey plant is soil-based. The potting mix gives the plant with the right nutrients it needs for potentially optimal growth.
You can mix 1 part peat moss or mature compost, 1 part garden loam or topsoil, one part clean builder’s sand or perlite. The organic material in the mixture provides the sand and structure to improve drainage.
For better results, you can also add slow-release organic fertilizer into the mix.
Pot or container
You can choose between a plastic pot or a terracotta pot. Both must feature drainage holes at the bottom.
The drainage holes are to make sure the plant does not get soggy soil.
Because a terracotta has a porous feature, it is a better usage than the plastic pot.
Like many plants, the Ficus Audrey tree is not happy when it gets overwatering. Make sure you check the moisture level of the soil using soil test kits.
After you determine the moisture level that the soil is not moist, you can begin watering the plant.
Generally, soil moisture will range from 10% to 45% but will be higher after the watering. Make sure the soil in between that level when checking with a soil test kits. This is because the Audrey Ficus grows best in evenly and consistently moist soil.
Notice that if the soil surface is wet, you can not water the plant. Make sure 3″ inches of the soil surface is dry before. If it is dry then you can water the plant.
Fertilize the plant at the beginning of its growing season (spring and summer months). The best fertilizer for Ficus Audrey is slow-release pellets.
Fertilize the plant once a month during the spring months (March to June). You can continue the fertilizing once a month during summer months (June to September).
By applying slow-release fertilizer, the plants stimulate themselves to become fast growers and benefit most when fertilized once each month between March to September.
Once the summer months ended, you can fertilize the plant once in two months from winter months to fall months.
To maintain the shape and the size of the plant you can prune the Ficus Audrey. You can do the pruning only in winter months (December to February) or when it is not growing or slow-growing.
Make sure you use sharp and clean pruning shears. To make it safe, wear gardening gloves.
Besides maintaining the shape and size of the plant, pruning a little above the node for encouraging new growth.
When Ficus Audrey is healthy, it just rapidly outgrows its container or pot. It even outgrows the house.
To slow down its rapid growth, you should practice repotting annually. Repotting can also a way of maintaining a controllable size of the plant.
Utilize the soil-based soil mentioned above when repotting.
Pests and problems
The Ficus Audrey can encounter pests issues with thrips, root-knot nematodes, spider mites (during winter), scale insects, and mealybugs.
To get rid of those pests, generally, you can use Neem oil as the best natural killer. Spray the Neem oil to the infested plant. The pests can be killed in a few minutes.
Other problems would be the plant might experience Southern blight, twig dieback, crown gall, and leaf spots due to bacterial and fungal problems.
To get rid of Southern blight, you can treat the soil with heat (including solarization), fungicides or fumigants, cultural manipulations, applying organic matter, fertilizers, or biological treatments to control.
To get rid of twig dieback you can use fungicides.
To get rid crown gall problem, remove the infected plant and prune out gall tissue. Soak the entire root system and damaged areas for 15 minutes in a mix of 2 tablespoons of Actinovate with 2-1/2 gallons of water.
To get rid of bacteria and fungal problems, remove all infected plant parts, or entire plants. You may fungicide.
There are many commercial products available for treatment. You can choose organically with copper, sulfur, and baking soda.
These treatments will prevent the germination of new fungal spores. Applications before the outbreaks will give the most effective control.
Do not wait, make sure to treat them immediately.
How to propagate Ficus Audrey
The propagation of the Audrey Ficus can be done by tip cuttings and seeds.
When propagating this plant with tip cuttings, use a rooting hormone, and non-woody stems. The half an inch of stem above and below the leaf must be including when cutting.
After that, stick the cuttings in a soil-based soil mixture. In about 3 to 4 weeks the roots will begin establishing.
For outdoors, once the new leaves start to show up, transplant the new plant to a permanent pot.
Dry out the seed under the sunlight for 2 to 3 days. After that, you can dig a hole and plant the seed in the hole.
Unfortunately, it would take more than 4 weeks to grow the Banyan tree through seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it hard to take care Ficus Audrey plant?
There is no stopping you from taking care of the Ficus Audrey. The plant can adapt to a new location. It doesn’t need as much light.
Why are the leaves of the Ficus Audrey plant dropping?
The most common cause of this problem is underwatering or overwatering. Overwatering the plant would turn the leaves to brown tips with yellow edging.
If the brown tips are without yellow edging then it is caused by underwatering.
Can the plant relocate in drafty spot or near heating vent?
This condition will harm the plant. Ficus Audrey plants are sensitive to hot and cold air drafts. They are happy in humidity and warm temperatures.
How often the plant should be fertilized?
Fertilize the plant once a month from spring to fall. Fertilize with an organic slow-release houseplant fertilizer.