Weeping Fig Light Requirements
Weeping fig (Ficusbenjamina) is a common houseplant, but can grow outdoors in United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b through 11. Indoors and out, weeping figs are grown for their 5-inch long leathery, glossy green leaves on droopy branches. Outdoors the weeping fig grows up to 60 feet tall, but indoors the tree can grow in a container and be pruned to control size or trained as a bonsai. Like other plants, weeping fig has certain light requirements for optimum growth.
Light and Temperature Requirements
Outdoor weeping figs grow well in full sun to partial shade and the trees are shade-tolerant. Indoor weeping figs grow best in bright sunlight filtered by curtains. When growing a weeping fig indoors, set the plant near a south- or west-facing window. The plants need warm temperatures to thrive with nighttime temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and daytime temperatures between 75 and 85 F.
Leaf Drop and Lighting
A common problem with weeping figs is leaf drop. This can occur for several reasons and inadequate lighting is one of them. When the plant experiences a change in light from bright to dim, this often causes significant leaf drop. You can move the plant to a brighter location, but introduce the plant to more light gradually and allow it to get acclimated to the brighter area in stages. For an outdoor container-grown weeping fig, place the plant on a shaded patio or porch for a few days before bringing indoors to reduce the risk of leaf drop.
Sunlight Duration and Intensity
The duration of sunlight is as important as the intensity. Indoor plants, like weeping figs, need at least six or more hours of sun daily. If the plant does not get enough sun, it may have problems with growth and leaf drop. Because weeping figs require filtered light, placing them in area with bright, direct light or too close to a sunny window can cause the leaves to burn.
Weeping figs can reach up to 15 feet tall when grown indoors and this can cause problems with self-shading. You may have the plant in an area where it receives the appropriate amount and duration of sunlight, but because of its size, one part of the tree is getting sunlight while shading the rest. You may notice leaf drop on only part of the tree. You can provide light to the shaded portion of the tree by using spot lights around the base of the tree or use vertical grow lights that provide light from top to bottom. You can also place the tree next to a large window, such as a patio door.