The Long Leaf Ficus Tree, also called Ficus Alii, is a new type of fig tree, notable for being both unique and attractive in appearance, and also for not shedding its leaves when it is moved around, as other indoor trees can do. It also tolerates lower light levels than many other houseplants, so it is ideal for a slightly darker area.
This tree is a beautiful addition to any indoor environment. It has long leaves, about 5 inches long and an inch or so wide, slightly curving into the shape of a sabre. The leaves are rich-green, leathery, glossy, and tapering to an elegant point. The tree has a central trunk, and a crown of branches covered in those beautiful leaves, which hang down in a very attractive way. The trunk has a smooth, soft-gray bark, so overall, this is a very attractive tree that will bring beauty and interest into your home. The foliage is of course evergreen, and since this is a fig tree, sometimes small fig-like fruits will be seen. These are not edible, and they can be left as a curiosity, or removed as you wish.
Growing Long Leaf Ficus Trees
When planting your Long Leaf Ficus Tree, choose a location in your home with bright to medium light levels, out of direct sunlight, for your Long Leaf Ficus Tree. In medium light levels, it will grow more slowly, but it will not shed leaves as other trees often will, so it is much more adaptable. If the light is coming from some distance away, you might see the branches growing towards it, making your tree look unbalanced over time. To avoid this, turn the tree a quarter-turn each week, and it will stay beautifully symmetrical.
Care and Maintenance
The care of your tree is very simply. Wait until the top half of the potting soil has dried before watering. Always water thoroughly, so that some water flows out the drainage holes. Those drainage holes are essential, and you should never grow a plant in a pot without them. If you have an attractive pot you want to use, without holes, then place an inch or two of gravel in the bottom to trap the drainage water, without leaving your plant standing in water, and place your tree in a drained pot on the gravel. This tree should never be left standing in a saucer of water, as the roots will quickly rot. Use liquid foliage houseplant fertilizer once a month, at the recommended dilution, in spring and summer. Check that the fertilizer you buy does not contain the element Boron, as this tree is sensitive to it.
When to Bring Outdoors
You can place your tree is a shaded spot outdoors to decorate your terrace or balcony when outdoor minimum temperatures are above 60 degrees. The tree will enjoy being outside, but be sure to bring it back inside before cool nights return. This tree likes to have its roots completely filling the pot, so there is no need to repot into a larger pot until it has grown significantly larger. If you want to control the size of your tree, or keep it to a particular shape, trim the branches back to a leaf in late winter.
History and Origins of the Long Leaf Ficus Tree
The Long Leaf Ficus Tree, Ficus maclellandii, was up until recently confused with another, very similar tree, Ficus binnendiijkii. You will still often find it listed under that name. These trees grow wild fron western China, through Bangladesh into India, and also down into south-east Asia, including Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. They have two different kinds of leaves, depending on their size. Young trees, and lower branches, have long, narrow leaves, and older trees and higher branches have shorter, broader ones. One the leaf size has developed, a whole tree can be grown from that branch and it will keep the leaf size. The Long Leaf Ficus Tree is grown from branches with long, narrow leaves, which is why it has such beautiful foliage, and why it is also sometimes called the willow-leaf fig.
This tree can be planted outdoors in zone 10 – and of course in tropical countries around the world, where it will grow into a large evergreen tree. The cultivar ‘Alii’ was found and developed in Hawaii, and is notable for having especially beautiful and graceful foliage. The name means ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ in the Hawaiian language. Our trees are produced from those original plants, and are guaranteed to be true to type, not random seedlings, which would be cheaper, but could develop into any different form.
Adding Long Leaf Ficus Trees to Your Home
This great new houseplant is becoming better known, and very popular. Because it does not easily shed its leaves, tolerates lower light, and because of its striking and beautiful foliage, the demand for trees is very high, and although our growers are working hard to keep up with it, this graceful tree is in short supply. So order now while our stocks last. We also invite you to consider other popular houseplants we have available, like the Cast Iron Plant and the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.