Ficus Alii-How to Grow and Care for

Could you tell me what this plant is and how to help it grow better.

Hi Louise,

Your plant is called a Ficus alii (also called a Ficus maclellandii of Ficus Amstel King).

Here is a picture of one in tree form with slightly wider leaves.

Care tips:

Light: Ficus Alii plants do well in bright, indirect light; however, they can survive in medium light. The lower the light, the longer a ficus Alii takes to produce new leaves. Rotate it weekly to maintain the plant’s shape.

Water: Water when the top 1″ of the soil has dried out. If the plant is in a container larger than 12″ wait until the top 2″ of soil has dried out. Water deeply so that the excess water drains out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. Immediately empty excess water and do not allow a ficus Alii to sit in water. New growth turns black and green leaves fall off from over -watering. Leaves become brown and crunchy, drop off, and may turn yellow when the plant needs water.

Plant Food: Feed monthly in the spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing, with a balanced fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.. It is not necessary to feed the plant during the winter and fall. Avoid using any plant foods that contain the chemical boron.

Prune a ficus during the winter to maintain the shape of the plant and encourage a bushier plant.

You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.