The weeping fig (ficus benjamina) is a popular, easy-care houseplant. Its variegated, slightly rippled leaves fall from the stems in a slightly drooping habit, lending the plant its common name. Although it grows to a limit of three to six feet in a container, it can reach up to 60 feet tall outdoors.
Keiki paste can help you achieve a bushier weeping fig. Keiki paste contains plant hormones called cytokinin that encourages cell division. Applying it to the right parts of your plant can encourage it to grow new shoots, stems, and leaves more quickly than it would otherwise.
Read on for how to use Keiki paste on your weeping fig.
Step 1: Find nodes
First, select ‘nodes’ to apply the Keiki paste to. Nodes are the only parts of the plant where new stems and leaves emerge from.
Different plant species have different kinds of nodes. Smaller weeping figs will have very fine stems which can make node identification difficult so use a magnifying glass if necessary. Weeping dig nodes look like tiny joints. You may see brand new, green shoots already emerging from some of them (like in the two right-most nodes marked in the photo below)
Bear in mind that Keiki paste is more likely to work on nodes that are closer to the soil. However, you can also try it on nodes at the top of the plant.
Step 2: Apply Keiki paste to nodes
Most of our Keiki paste plant tutorials deal with houseplants with tender green stems. These younger shoots are much more likely to produce new growth.
However, the weeping fig has tougher, woodier stems. Keiki paste will still be effective on these types of stems, but you will need to prepare them properly.
You can do this by scoring the nodes you have selected very gently with a needle or sharp knife, making sure you're not severing the stem completely. This will reveal the juicy green tissue beneath the tough outer exterior.
Next, dip a cotton bud in the Keiki paste. Dab the paste onto the wounds you have made with your needle or knife. You only need a tiny amount. You can apply it to as many nodes as you feel like, wherever you feel the plant would benefit from new growth.
The best time to apply Keiki paste is during the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing.
Step 3: Wait
The Keiki paste can take up to a month or two to work. Eventually, you’ll start to see fresh growth at the nodes where you applied the paste. While you wait for your new shoots to appear, make sure you give the plant optimal conditions for growth.
The weeping fig loves bright light but never put it in the direct path of the sun. This will scorch the leaves. Make sure you position the plant in a draft-free place where the nighttime temperature is always between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the daytime temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your weeping fig will respond much quicker to the Keiki paste if you place it in high humidity conditions. Ideally, the humidity should be 70 percent and should be a minimum of 60 percent. Your plant will do its best in a warm greenhouse. To aid growth, you will need to stick to a regular fertilizing regime. These plants grow quickly and need a lot of nutrients, so add a dose of balanced fertilizer to the soil every month during spring and summer.
In terms of watering, the weeping fig appreciates soil that is always slightly moist. Do not water so regularly that the soil is soggy. When you do water, dip the whole pot in a filled sink or run the pot under a tap for thirty seconds. Then, leave the pot out on a dry surface for any excess moisture to seep away. Never let your weeping fig sit in water.