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We all know love the fiddle leaf fig for its gorgeous foliage, but the truth is, they're finicky plants. Luckily, its cousin ficus Audrey has similar broad, veiny leaves, but is so much easier to care for. Miss Audrey is pretty beginner-friendly, so it's the perfect choice for new plant parents or those who are green-thumb pros. Add some modern, minimal vibes to your plant collection with this striking beauty.
- Botanical Name: Ficus benghalensis
- Common Name: Ficus Audrey
- Plant Type: Tree
- Mature Size: 65 to 98 feet tall (outdoors), 5 to 10 feet tall (indoors)
- Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
- Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
- Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.0
- Toxicity: Toxic
Ficus Audrey Plant Care
When it comes to water, always go with less rather than more. The ficus Audrey prefers to dry out a bit between waterings, so only give it a good soak when the top two or three inches of the soil are dry. However, if you let the soil completely dry out, expect some of the leaves to drop—this isn't a plant that can tolerate being dry for too long. Continually check the soil to see when those couple of inches at the top are dry, and before you know it, you'll make a pretty routine watering schedule.
Just like other plants, you want to also make sure your Audrey's leaves are free of dust and debris so they can photosynthesize correctly. Using warm water and a couple of drops of dish soap on a microfiber cloth is the best way to wipe down the leaves.
Never use leaf shine on your ficus Audrey. The leaves have a tiny layer of fuzz on them, which can be damaged by a leaf shine solution.
Not unlike its cousin the fiddle leaf fig, ficus Audrey prefers bright indirect light from an east-facing window or a couple of feet from a south- or west-facing window. Once you find the sweet spot in your place, let your ficus stay there for as long as possible, giving it the occasional turn to keep their foliage coming in evenly.
To keep your tree lush throughout the year, fertilize it during growing months (think the spring through the fall) with an organic houseplant fertilizer. This will help your plant put out more foliage and grow strong, healthy roots. As it ages, you may even notice some aerial roots on your plant, which will eventually wrap around the trunk or main stem.
Best Growing Conditions for Ficus Audrey Plants
The ficus Audrey plant comes from a warm, humid climate, so it's best to try and mimic that to make it feel at home in your home. Try to keep it away from drafty windows, AC units, and heaters, which can cause the plant to either catch a chill or dry out too quickly. If you want, you can even add a humidifier to up the ante and keep your Audrey especially happy.
If you don't want to invest in a humidifier, placing other plants and bowls of water near by can also increase the humidity around your ficus audrey.
Normally, Audreys start as small little plants with a few leaves, similar to the fiddle-leaf fig. As it gets taller, you can choose to keep the plant bushy, or you can remove some of the lower leaves to encourage it to grow more like a tree. It's all about what look you prefer!
Ficus Audrey Varieties
While there aren't any specific varieties of the ficus Audrey plant, ficus Audrey itself is a ficus varietal. Like its cousins ficus elastica (rubber tree) and ficus lyrata (fiddle leaf fig), Audrey has slightly pointed leaves that are somewhat almond-shaped. Most have defined veining in their leaves, and they often thrive in bright light, humid conditions, and warm temperatures.
If you are looking for a more colorful ficus, check out the ficus Tineke (variegated rubber tree) which has pink, white, and green leaves, or the ficus elastica (rubber tree), which has beautiful burgundy leaves.
How to Propagate Your Ficus Audrey Plant
Thankfully, propagating a ficus Audrey is rather easy. You can simply take a cutting near the main stem (one with three or four leaves), and place it in water. However, the plant does produce a white sap that can irritate your skin (and it's toxic to animals), so wear gloves and wipe the sap away with a paper towel. In fact, you can even place a piece of paper towel over the area you cut on the mother plant, using it as a sort of bandage to help stop the sap from dripping.
If you're feeling ambitious, you can also try air layering, which is another type of propagation method. To do this, make a small cut with a sharp blade where a branch meets the trunk, and insert some sphagnum moss into the cut. From there, secure the moss to the tree with twine, plastic wrap, or rope. Over time, you will start to see little roots peak out of the moss, which means you can take the branch off and plant it on its own.
Common Growing Problems
It's rather easy to tell if your Audrey needs some special attention. Keep an eye out for signs like lower leaves drying up and falling off, which can mean you're under-watering. Or, if you're lacking humidity, you may also notice the tips of the leaves starting to turn brown and crispy. This is a sign to give her a spritz or add some bowls of water around to up the humidity.
On the opposite end, you can also give your Audrey too much water. In this case, leaves will often turn yellow and drop en masse. Always be sure to check the soil to see if your plant needs watered or not. If the soil stays wet all the time, that can lead to root rot, which will kill your plant.
As with any plant, always give the leaves, especially the undersides, a good check every once in a while. Pests like to hide out under there, and they can be easy to miss if you don't look closely. Just be sure to treat them as quickly as possible if you do find them.
Potting and Repotting Your Ficus Audrey Plant
Ficus Audrey likes to stay in their pots once they are comfortable. Until you notice roots popping out of the top or bottom of your plant's pot, it can stay there.
Of course, every plant is different, but moving it into a bigger pot too quickly can actually shock a plant. Try to stick to this rule: only repot your plants in a vessel that is no more than two inches larger in diameter than its current pot. This will ensure they have space to grow, but that they aren't overwhelmed in their new environment.