Ficus Benjamina Indoors: What Grow Light to Use?

Asked October 26, 2018, 3:06 PM EDT

In April I bought a fairly healthy 4' H ficus tree at a nursery, and placed it in a new pot outdoors in a semi-sunny location in the back yard. (And then retired my 15yr old ficus tree which had dropped most of its leaves after too much time indoors without enough sunlight for the past 4 winters.) Over the course of the summer the young ficus continued to grow and fill out and now is about 7' high, about 2.5' wide, and drop dead gorgeous! We brought it indoors for the winter and placed it between the living room and dining room where the elderly ficus had been. It forms a lovely divider between rooms. It is about 12' from the big picture window, so does not receive much natural light. After 5 days, I can already observe it dropping some leaves. I am afraid of what will happen over the winter. Can you recommend a grow light I can suspend from the ceiling that would keep it green and beautiful until next April? I am not looking for growth in height, but do want it to remain full and lush, if possible. I was looking at a circular or a square LED full spectrum light, with red and blue lights, but not sure we can handle a bright purple light in the living room for 10 to 14 hrs a day. How many watts should a light be, and how far from the plant should it be?

Anne Arundel County Maryland houseplants plant care weeping fig overwintering indoors

3 Responses

These are all good questions but are difficult to answer. It is not unusual for the plant to drop foliage when brought in for the winter. Once indoors they may continue to lose some leaves if the light intensity is too low. If growth conditions are adequate they will adjust to their new location. During this period of adjustment keep them a little drier than normal. Keep away from heat and air vents.

We recommend that you keep the plant as close to the window as possible. If you are considering grow lights, look for full spectrum LED lights. This plant can take lower LED light levels. You can keep the light a least a couple of feet away.
For specific information you may want to contact some specialty lighting stores.

See the attached link on weeping fig https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/weeping-ficus/

mh

MH,
Thanks so much for your response. I was mulling it over for a while. After continually sweeping up leaves on the floor under the ficus benjamina, and realizing that my incredibly lush plant was now looking less lively after 4 weeks being indoors, I had my husband move it to the living room window. It is right against the window as it would obstruct the tv if not. Hopefully this will be a more happy location for the tree. There is a heat duct about 2 to 3' from the tree, I am hoping that will be alright.

Now on to other house plants. Two weeks ago I transplanted 3 or 4 geranium plants to a house pot when cleaning out the garden. I used organic potting soil, and watered it then; no watering since. So far there are a lot of leaves drying up. Is this normal? In addition, my older geranium house plants are looking pretty leggy. Is it fine to pinch off extensive branches hard?
Thanks,

Ginny

It is normal for the new geraniums to dry up. They will eventually look like sticks. Keep near the window in barely moist soil.

The older geraniums can be pruned in February. The days are getting longer and they need as much light as possible.

mh