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Ficus Alii Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Ficus binnendijkii ‘Alii’”

Read our guide to Ficus Alii for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Ficus binnendijkii 'Alii'”
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If you are looking for a creative indoor tree for your home or office, the Ficus Alii is an interesting choice. This tree is not naturally occurring, but rather it is a purpose bread indoor plant that will offer a dramatic aesthetic touch to any room. For those looking to add a touch of elegant glossiness to their home or office, the tapered rich leaves of this ficus will offer a great talking point.

This cultivar can be grown in creative shapes such as braiding with others of its kind. This will make the Ficus Alii appear as if it a complex topiary as opposed to a tree. This is one of the reasons many property owners choose this plant to add a touch of boldness to their space. The Ficus Alii is very easy to care for, and they require much less care than their cousins. Although it is not a finicky plant, if the Ficus Alii doesn’t get enough water, it will start to shed its leaves.

Being that this is not a plant you will find in nature if you are interested in adding one to your collection you will need to plan ahead. The summer or late spring is generally the best time to find this plant up for sale. This hybrid can most often be found in gardening centers or in some cases, in online nurseries. They are quite easy to grow inside closed doors which makes it an attractive option as a house plant.

About the Ficus Alii

  • Ficus Alii is not a plan that occurs anywhere in nature, it is a completely new cultivar.
  • The leaves of this tree are tapered to a point and have a glossy finish.
  • This hybrid plant is able to get rid of airborne ticrhloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.
  • These trees can grow as tall as 3 meters indoors.
  • The Ficus maclellandii, is also called the Banana leaf fig.
  • The Ficus Alii has slender leaves that are uniquely shaped with a broad top.
  • In its natural shape the plant looks like a willow.
  • The Ficus Alii needs a humidity range of 40%-50% to thrive.
Ficus Alii
Ficus Alii

Ficus Alii Features: An Overview

  • The botanical name of the plant is Ficus binnendiijkii ‘Alii’.
  • The trunk of a mature Ficus Alii is usually bare and resembles a palm trunk.
  • Ficus Alii trees grow slowly and like to be bound inside slightly smaller pots.
  • This plant doesn’t have to worry much about pests other than scale insects and whiteflies.
  • The Ficus Alii helps to improve air quality in any indoor area it resides.
  • Most of these plants will reach an indoor height of 10 feet.

Growing a Ficus Alii

The Ficus binnendiijkii grows best when planted and provided with bright light. It should be given a generous amount of light all through the year and is very tolerant of being moved.

Too much shade can cause the plant to wilt and direct sunlight may cause leaf drops. When planting your ficus, use a high-grade house plant potting mix and aim for a room temperature that ranges between 65 degrees and 75 degrees.

This plant grows at a moderate speed and should be fertilized every six weeks during the growing season. A balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer is the best option. Make sure to dilute the fertilizer by half and only feed once bi-monthly during the cooler months.

Ficus binnendijkii ‘Alii’, From Amazon

The Ficus alii tends to grow towards the nearest source of light. Rotate the pot periodically to ensure even growth and to keep the plant from leaning. The ficus needs a moderate amount of water, but make sure to always check the soil prior to adding more.

If the top layer of soil is still moist, wait until later before watering. Aerate your plant soil on occasion to prevent compacting which can prevent proper water distribution to the roots. The soil should always maintain a consistent level of moisture, but not so much that the plant is in danger or developing root rot. For a truly easy-care routine, plant the ficus in a self-watering pot for perfect moisture levels.

The ficus alii is not overly sensitive to any climate, but it is a good idea to keep them out of the direct path of air vents and heating vents. They grow best in humid climates, and drafts of either extreme may cause the plant to go into shock. Fertilizing should occur during the growing season which are the months that cover spring through fall. You can use a liquid fertilizer or choose a potting mix with a slow-release fertilizer mixed in.

Watering The Ficus Alii

Watering this indoor tree is pretty easy. When you do water the plant, add a liberal layer of lukewarm water. Between watering sessions let the first inch or so of the soil dry before adding more water. Coldwater will shock the plant which can trigger leaf loss. If you live in an area with hard water, make sure to only use filtered, distilled, or untreated water on the plant. The Ficus binnendiijkii is sensitive to salt which is a common ingredient used in water softening.

Most homes and offices tend to have dry air. The Ficus binnendiijkii is not finicky, however, it grows best when placed in an average level of humidity. Mainlining a level of humidity that ranges from 40% to 50% is ideal for proper growth. If your air is too dry, adding a humidifier to the room will help to maintain a healthy humidity balance.

Long Leaved Fig, From Amazon

Propagating The Ficus Alii

Propagating the ficus alii is similar to most house plants, but it may be difficult for beginners. They can be propagated via air layering or through stem tip cuttings. Both methods are equally successful, but also very slow to root. This plant is slow-growing and tends to lean towards its light source.

To ensure that your ficus has even grown, turn the pot once a week. That way all sides of the plant will the sun it needs to remain healthy and strong. Dust the leave on occasion and also use this time to inspect the leaves for pest or any fungus growing on the plant.

Planting your ficus in a pot that has ample drainage holes is important. This will ensure that your plant doesn’t get root rot from soggy soil while also allowing it to get the moisture it needs to thrive.

Using a self-watering planter is one way to help establish new plants and keep them properly watered as they mature. Use high-quality topsoil and water it well to help the roots firmly set themselves up in the reservoir. You won’t have to worry about top watering your plant regardless of the season.

Ficus Alii leaves
Ficus Alii leaves

Conclusion

The leaves of the Ficus Alii are slender and very vivid. It is a new cultivar but can be found all over southeastern Asia in abundance. The dramatic look of this tree makes it a popular choice, but it is much easier to care for than its cousins.

Just like other types of ficus plants, this tree needs a generous amount of indirect light in order to thrive. Low light will cause the plant to lose its leaves and eventually die. If you have a room with an east-facing window, your Ficus Alii will grow perfectly. This indoor ficus is easy to shape in a myriad of attractive ways. You can prune it in a way that makes it look like a topiary, or you can allow it to grow in a bushier form.

The Ficus Alii is pretty stable, but even the most durable houseplant can suffer from shock on occasion. This tree needs a steady diet of indirect sunlight and being moved to a shady room may trigger environmental shock. This can result in leaf shedding and general wilting until the light is restored. Moving the plant from one well-lit area to the other will not cause the same type of side effect. Under watered Ficus Alii plants will cause brittle leaves while one that is getting too much water will start to droop. It is easy to care for in every other regard.

It is a good idea to repot your larger plants every other year. This is also a great time to consider propagating your ficus. When moving pot sizes, choose just the very next size up because this plant grows best with less root space. Trimming in the spring is best and will keep the size of your ficus in check while also encouraging healthy growth. If you are in the market for a beautiful plant that will grow in any location, consider the Ficus Alii as your next houseplant purchase.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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