Birch fig - planting, caring and cutting

The Content Of The Article:

In our latitudes, the birch fig has conquered the status of one of the most popular houseplants. No wonder, because the plant is quite robust and easy to care for.


The birch fig (Ficus benjamina) belongs to the family of the mulberry family and shows similarity to the rubber tree. It is native to India, Malaysia, southern China or the north of Australia and often found in parks or on the roadsides in the tropics. In the wild, birch figs produce spreading crowns and reach heights of growth of up to eight meters.

In order to enjoy your ficus for a long time, you need to pay attention to some care instructions, because the birch fig is not as robust as generally assumed. However, if you follow the following tips and care instructions, the Ficus benjamini is guaranteed to be a star on the windowsill.

One thing in advance:
Birch figs are poisonous in all parts of their plants. The exiting milk juice can lead to allergic skin reactions. Caution is therefore necessary with children and pets!

Origin and meaning of the birch fig

As history teaches, the birch fig is one of the oldest plants ever. Fossil remains were found that confirm the existence of the plants about 30 million years ago. The distribution area is today quite wide with Africa, Australia and South America. Wild specimens are not comparable with the domestic houseplant. Twenty meters and more, the ficus grows as a wild plant in the air. The largest known specimen is in India and has a lush crown with a diameter of more than 130 meters.

In the course of their long history, the birch fig different meanings. In the Middle East, the plant is e.g. appreciated as a tree of peace. As a link between the human and spiritual world, on the other hand, the Indonesians consider the plant. Since Buddha was enlightened under a fig tree, the birch fig in the east of Asia is even sacred.

plant Description

The birch fig grows as an evergreen shrub or tree. In its original home, the birch fig even forms lush trunk diameters of up to half a meter. In addition, the huge treetop can easily and up to ten meters in diameter! But have birch figs but relatively small leaves. After budding, the foliage initially appears light green and slightly wavy. The older leaves, however, are smooth and of a rich green color. Inflorescences are also visible in the leaf axils. From the rather inconspicuous flowers then develop the small orange-red fruits.

The flowering time of the birch fig varies among the different plant species. If the birch fig is kept in the room, it rarely flowers. At the earliest after 15 to 20 years, the flowers hidden in the interior show up in the leaf axils. All Ficus species have male and female flowers. As insects are necessary for pollination, indoor plants will generally bear no fruit.

What types of birch figs are there?

Probably the most prominent representative of ficus is the small-leaved birch fig, which is mentioned here. Ficus benjamina can, like the related gum tree, grow up to about room height and be acquired in different green and variegated varieties. But there are also other beautiful varieties. For example, this one:

Ficus lyrataThe violin fig is suitable for large spaces and grows quickly and abroad. The leaves appear wavy and lyre-shaped.
Ficus asperaThis ficus is very heat loving and comes from Polynesia. The leaves impress with their white-green marbled coloring.
Ficus retusaThis species is very similar to the Ficus benjamina and is preferably used for the Bonsaigestaltung.
Ficus buxifoliaThis is a particularly fast-growing shrub that has broad and triangular leaves and copper-colored shoots.
Ficus rubiginosaFor the brown-red rubber tree, a cooler location is a good choice. The shrubs can reach heights of growth of up to four meters in their native Australia. The plants grow slowly and prefer a cool winter.
laurel figThe laurel fig is a popular ficus species that forms thick aerial roots. The laurel fig can also bear fruit in room culture. However, these are not suitable for consumption.

So plant the birch fig right

When planting the birch fig it is important to note, because the plant is less robust than perhaps widely accepted. The ficus has certain requirements with regard to the suitable location and the preferred substrate. Birch figs with colorful leaves are usually more sensitive to relocation and temperature fluctuations.Plants with rich green leaves, however, are a bit more robust and can tolerate prolonged sunshine or cooler temperatures.


The location search you should attach special importance, because the Birkenfeige would like to move and remain at the selected location. Not infrequently, the sensitive plant reacts after a relocation with a complete leaf fall.

The plants generally prefer a bright location. However, they do not get any sunbeams. Only birch figs with eye-catching leaf drawings should be a little sunnier, as the shade of leaves is too shady. Also temperature fluctuations take the ficus rather evil. The year-round cultivation at room temperature is still possible. Those who want to allocate their birch fig to a cooler winter location, should note that the plants can not tolerate temperatures below 15 degrees. Added to this is the generally unloved relocation.

There is nothing against the fact that the Birkenfeige spends the summer on the balcony or the terrace. However, you should make the relocation carefully. Otherwise, the plant would most likely resent you abruptly. Leaf fall is the result. This can be avoided if the implementation is gradual. However, it requires tact. Move the plant a few inches each day to its new location. This should be protected in any case. The plants must not be exposed directly to wind and rain and can not stand the blazing sunlight. Morning or evening sun does not harm the plant.

❍ Substrate:

For smaller houseplants, you can use conventional potting soil. When keeping in the bucket, it is advisable to enrich the soil with compost and to provide the plant with such a valuable natural fertilizer. If you submerge peat and compost in a ratio of 1: 1, you can produce a high-quality humus soil yourself. In general, the rather demanding plants should not be planted in cheaper soil. This is often not permeable enough and damages the roots once you have poured too much. To improve the depth of the soil, a drainage from potsherds offers.

❍ Planting instructions:

Auswählen Select planter and tighten gardening gloves.
Auf Prepare the substrate as described above.
❸ Put the plant in the plant pot and protect the roots.
Ein Fill the substrate.
And Press the soil well.
Ang Water the plant.

Keep the birch fig as a bonsai

As a bonsai, birch figs are extremely popular and easy to care for, making them a popular beginner's plant. Anyone who wants to try bonsai breeding has found an ideal candidate with the cheap and fast-growing birch fig. The plants should be kept exclusively in room culture. A light location is important because lack of light can lead to total loss of leaves.

Pour the bonsai regularly and evenly. The soil must not dry out. But it must also be no waterlogging. During the growth phase you can administer a bonsai fertilizer. The upright design or multiple stems are the preferred design options. You can wire the plants year-round. However, care should be taken so that the wire can not hurt the bark.

The most important care tips at a glance


To water:

The casting of the birch fig requires a bit of tact. In spring and summer, the need for water is greatest. Nevertheless, you should pour rather moderately. The plants do not tolerate waterlogging. At room temperature and dry heating air naturally increases the water demand. Allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again. This will help you to avoid too much moisture. The sensitive roots are then attacked very quickly and the plant loses its leaves. The same thing happens, however, even with ball dry.

The irrigation water should never come directly from the line. Since the plants do not tolerate too calcareous water, it is advisable to water with rainwater. Also filtered tap water offers itself. You should estimate the average casting rate based on the following factors:

  • ambient temperature
  • humidity
  • lighting conditions
  • Quality of the substrate

Tip: A regular spray of rainwater or low-limp tap water helps to keep the heating air from getting too dry.


If you have planted the plant in a peat and compost enriched substrate, no additional fertilization is required. Otherwise, between March and September, you can provide the plants with a commercially available whole plant fertilizer every 14 days. In winter, you must then stop the fertilization.


When repotting the plants, it should be noted that the plant pot should not be too large. Birch figs have the peculiarity of appearing particularly bushy and attractive when the roots are not given too much space.Regular repotting is beneficial, as replacing the substrate gives the plant a boost in growth. Spring is the best time to repot the birch fig.

Rear section:

Dry plant parts and withered leaves can be removed all year round. The Birkenfeige also tolerates a pruning quite well. This should preferably be done in the spring, before the new shoots show up. To make the plant bushy, you can shape it all around. Do not remove the shoots for more than 20 centimeters. If necessary, a new cut can be made in summer. If pruning is necessary due to disease or pest infestation, you can do it regardless of the season.

When cutting occurs a slightly toxic milk juice, which can lead to skin irritation. Spread some water on the interfaces to stop the sap flow and be sure to wear gloves during the pruning.


The birch fig should be left as far as possible in winter. Between autumn and late winter you only need to water more sparingly. To prevent dry heating air from damaging the plant, you should spray the birch fig frequently with lime-free water. If the plant was outdoors in the summer, the habituation to the winter season should be slow and gradual. Temperatures below 15 degrees are to be avoided in any case.

Detect and combat diseases and pests

Avoid care mistakes, the birch fig is quite robust and can remain free of disease and pests for many years. You will recognize the following criteria if something is wrong with the plant:

  • Leaves wither
  • leaves fall
  • Growth remains limited
  • rich leaf green is lost
  • Deposits and deposits on the leaves

Triggers for diseases are often too dry heating air or draft, a change of location or too much or too little. But even pests can tamper with the plant. Here are the most common causes of a sick Birkenfeige at a glance.

❍ leaves rain:

Of these, probably all owners of Birkenfeigen can sing a song. If the plant can not cope with its location and receives too much or too little water and nutrients, the ficus shows its displeasure in a partly prompt and radical leaf fall. Before the winter, however, the leaf fall can have natural causes.

What should I do?
If the birch fig loses its leaves, check the soil moisture, ensure sufficient nutrients and avoid locations directly above the heater or in the blazing midday sun.

❍ Scale insects:

The turtle prefers to use the bark of the birch fig as a shelter. The family of the Schildläuse consists of lice, Wollläusen and Schildläusen. The sap that is sucked from the host plant serves as food for the scale insects.

What should I do?
Scale insects are difficult to combat. First of all check the plant regularly and watch out for soiled and sticky leaves. Then isolate the affected plant from the other houseplants, as the scale insects spread quickly. Then make a lye of curd soap and warm tap water and sprinkle the whole plant with it. Leave everything on overnight and rinse the leach the next day again. The soapy water settles in the respiratory tract of the scale insects and ensures that they suffocate.

❍ Thrips:

Thrips are also targeting the cell sap of the plants. The fringed wingers drill into the leaf surface for this purpose. Affected leaves appear silvery with time. If at the same time dark discolorations are visible, the plant was also attacked by fungi. Since the insects can hardly be detected with the naked eye, the infestation often goes unnoticed for a longer period of time, which can cause great damage to the birch fig.

What should I do?
Affected plant parts must be removed immediately. Since the insects feel particularly comfortable in a warm and dry environment, you should spray the plant over and over again with water. Indoor plants can put a foil bag over or wrap with household foil. The resulting microclimate destroys the animals. Of course, thrips can be controlled with nematodes, which can be added to the irrigation water.

To multiply birch figs - this is how it works

❶ The multiplication of the birch fig succeeds by cuttings. These are preferably cut in spring and should be about 15 to 20 inches long. When cutting, be careful not to choose a completely lignified shoot. Soft cuttings are only partially suitable.

❷ At the bottom of the cuttings, you must remove the leaves. Leave only a few leaves in the upper area.

Nun Now place the cuttings in potting soil. The leaves left should protrude from the substrate.

Anschließend Then cast the cuttings well and, if possible, apply a plastic hood or foil. At temperatures of 25 to 30 degrees, the growth is faster.

Erste If the first new leaf tips show up, this is a sign of successful multiplication. Once this is done, you can remove the cover and place the plant in a larger planter.

Video Board: How to Prune (Not Kill) Trees and Shrubs.

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