The incredible edible Ficus

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6/13/2015

Many people are familiar with the edible Ficus.  They may not realize that this family predominates in the indoor arena.  This family is one that has a number of species of the Ficus family.  Many of these plants are used as indoor houseplants.  The edible fig is somewhat interesting in that its flower is a fruit like cavity with an opening on the end.   Once an insect pollinates the flower, the fruit forms around the inner flowers; this is the fruit that we eventually eat.   For houseplants, often we have a number of species like the weeping fig, the fiddle leaf fig, and even the small little ficus pumila or creeping fig.  These can be seen growing in malls and in dark halls because they are adaptable plants.   This is also one reason it has become the most grown indoor plant. Remember most Ficus, and for that matter, other houseplants grow best when there is a fairly high light level.   When the light level is too low, the plant is on a one-bean-a-day diet.

Remember, we get rubber from ficus and also shade.  Some members of the large Ficus family have been known to travel up to a quarter-mile in distance.   In South Florida, Ficus have often been used as huge trees that will be 80-90 feet across and reach 60-70 feet in height.  Anything that grows this large will have a massive root system; because of this, I often encounter people and advice against planting Ficus too close to their homes.  As an indoor plant, they are most popular.   Occasionally, you will get some yellow leaves and dropping of leaves; this can be normal.  If possible leave your plant in the same spot for best results, don’t play musical chairs with your indoor plants. Trees under stress will normally drop leaves as a protection mechanism. If you do see brown tips on the end of your Ficus leaves, it may be attributed to a water problem.  Make sure the whole root system gets a good soaking and dries between the next watering.

One of the most important species for man, the Ficus was mentioned back in the first chapter of the Bible and has been found near the walls of Jerico.  In other words, it has been hand-in-hand with man throughout history.


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