Congo Fig – Ficus buxifolia

This plant originated in Africa, in the the Congo, and this has given it its common name. The botanical name for the variety, buxifolia, means boxwood leaf, and its leaves are very similar to those of the common Box.

One of the great advantages of the Congo Fig is that it grows very fast and quickly becomes a handsome plant. If it gets too tall, it can be cut back; this will also encourage it to become more bushy. Left unpruned, the plant will grow straight upwards, with just a few slender stems.

The compost should never be allowed to dry au* you are worried abo – watering correctly, grow 4 the plant in a pot with a built-in water reservoir, or insert a self-watering device into the compost.

A plant that is quite small when bought will quickly reach its maximum height of 2.1m (7ft).

Display ideas

Like the Weeping Fig, Ficus benjamina, the Congo Fig needs a good deal of space. If you can provide it with adequate light, it will make an elegant specimen plant for a large entrance hall. It will also do well when grown with other large foliage plants, as its plant companions will help to keep the humidity high. Although it can be grown in an ordinary room, it is also suitable for growing in a greenhouse or conservatory.

Through The YearCongo Fig - Ficus buxifolia


Repot your plant each year in the spring, using a soil-based potting compost. When too large to repot, replace top layer of compost instead. Increase watering as days get longer, and feed weekly.


Water your plant generously throughout the summer months; never allow it to dry out. You can put it outside if you wish in a sheltered, partially-shaded position.


Bring plants that have spent the summer outdoors into the house as soon as the days become cool. Stop feeding in October and reduce the amount of water. Make certain the plant is in good light for the shorter days ahead.


Most problems arise in December or January, when there is little natural light and the air in the room may be dry. Maintain the humidity around your plant by mist spraying regularly.

Pests And Diseases

The leaves drop if the air around the plant is too dry and there is not enough light. Dry compost can cause the same symptom.

Treatment: Move your plant to a brighter spot and mist spray the foliage daily. If dry compost is the cause of the problem, water more regularly.

Fine webbing under the leaves and at leaf axils is caused by red spider mite.

Treatment: Remove the affected leaves and isolate the plant so mites will not spread. Increase the humidity and spray with a suitable insecticide.


Congo Fig needs very little attention. It is one of the easiest Figs to grow, so long as it is provided with good light in winter.

  • Potting: Repot annually in March or April, using a soil-based compost.
  • Water generously in the summer and sparingly in the winter. Never allow the compost to dry out; always keep it moist.
  • The atmosphere around the plant must also be kept humid, so frequent mist spraying is advisable as well as watering.
  • Feeding: Feed once a week in the summer, using a standard liquid fertilizer.


  • Light: It needs good light throughout the year, but should not be placed in full sun.
  • Temperature: In summer, maintain a temperature of 21-24°C (70-75°C). During the winter it should be kept at 15— 18°C (60-65°C).

Buying Tips

  • Congo Fig is available throughout the year, but as it has only recently been adopted as a house plant you may have difficulty in finding it. If so, try a specialist nursery.
  • Choose a plant with shiny dark green leaves and good growth.
  • As long as it is kept in the right conditions, Congo Fig will live for many years.

A relative newcomer as a house plant, the Congo Fig has all the attractive characteristics of other Ficus varieties and makes a handsome addition to any plant collection.

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