For those who have loved and lost the finicky fiddle leaf fig, we introduce ficus Audrey (Ficus benghalensis). A close relative of the fiddle leaf fig, ficus Audrey is easier to grow and care for indoors and has a similar growth habit and appearance. However, it can be distinguished from the fiddle leaf by its smaller, slightly fuzzy oblong leaves and smooth, light-colored trunk. Similar to fiddle leaf figs and other relatives in the Ficus genus, ficus Audrey is considered toxic to pets1 so be sure to keep it out of reach of any curious fur babies.
Recognized as the national tree of India, ficus Audrey is also commonly known as the banyan tree. In the wild, the banyan tree grows long aerial roots that can reach from the canopy all the way to the ground and become supportive trunks. This means that the tree can actually grow wider than it is tall over time, which is no small feat considering it can grow up to 100 feet tall. Some mature banyan trees stretch over acres!
Ficus Audrey usually isn't considered a beginner plant as it still requires some specific attention and care. Proper light and watering are the most important elements to get right when it comes to keeping this tree happy indoors. Plus, it benefits from regular pruning to help keep its size and shape in check. It does well in typical household temperatures, just ensure that it is not exposed to temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Standard household humidity levels are also usually fine, although be sure to keep this tropical plant away from drafty windows or AC/heat vents that may dry out the air around it. If your ficus is showing signs of drying out (such as browning edges on the leaves) placing a humidifier nearby or moving the plant into a humid room such as a bathroom or laundry room will help.