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Fascinating ficus 

Add interest indoors or out

FICUS HAS LONG BEEN a popular houseplant, but it’s important to choose a variety that best suits your needs. 

At one time, one of the most popular varieties was Ficus benjamina, also known as the weeping fig. It’s still a good choice. Then Ficus lyrate, the fiddle-leaf fig, became popular. Thankfully, that trend was short-lived, because the fiddle-leaf fig is temperamental and difficult to grow indoors. Today a not-so-new ficus is trending, and it’s beautiful and easy to grow—Ficus benghalensis Audrey

If you successfully grew the weeping fig before, you will be equally successful with ficus Audrey. Known for its tolerance of a variety of growing conditions, its flexibility helps it succeed. It needs bright light and performs best when grown outside in the spring and summer and brought indoors for the fall and winter. 

Audrey’s distinctive white trunk and emerald green leaves with white veins make a stunning addition, regardless of your indoor or patio style. It works well with traditional, mid-century modern or contemporary decor. As with all living plants that are grown inside then outside, it should be placed directly in front of a window or natural light source for the winter months. Placing it next to a window or in a windowless corner is equivalent to placing it in the dark. 

Take care to not overwater your ficus while it’s inside. It is important to reduce your watering for almost all your houseplants during the winter months to match the naturally lower light levels. Ficus Audrey is incredibly tolerant of winter’s natural low light, indoor dry winter air and sometimes-inconsistent watering. With a little effort, you will be rewarded with a beautiful ficus that lives and grows with you for many years to come.

SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.

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