United States Edition

Long Leaf Ficus 'Ficus alii'

Ficus binnendijkii

Ficus alii is a variety of Long Leaf Ficus which is a member of the Fig family. Its botanical name is Ficus binnendijkii 'Ficus alii'.

Ficus binnendijkii ‘Alii’ is a very large evergreen tree native to the tropical areas of India, Asia, and Malaysia. It is typically grown as a large tree, shrub or houseplant. The inconspicuous flowers bloom in spring and are followed by small fruit that may be green or yellow maturing to red. A very small, non-stinging wasp is required for pollination. The simple dark green leaves are glossy and attractive, long, narrow, lance-shaped with a pointed tip – willow-like. The cultivar ‘Alii’ has very narrow foliage and reddish new growth.


This plant was originally commercially cultivated in Hawaii – ‘Alii’ is Hawaiian for “Chief”. There are over 800 species of Ficus. Ficus ‘Alii’ is one of the toughest members of the family. However, it grows about 25% slower than the more common ficus bejaminas. It is easier to grow, not being as finicky about being moved and doesn’t drop leaves as readily. It tolerates lower light conditions and more erratic watering far better than the benjaminas. You don’t have to repot them often, they do better when they are a bit root-bound.

It grows mainly as an Evergreen, which means it typically retains its leaves throughout the year. Ficus alii has a tree-like growing habit. This variety tends to bloom in early spring.

Malaysia is believed to be where Ficus alii originates from.

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How to grow Long Leaf Ficus 'Ficus alii'

  • Partial Sun

    +
  • Medium

A beautiful interior plant, Binnendijk’s fig requires well-drained soil, even moisture and moderate to high light conditions. If a fig is to be used as an interior specimen, be sure the plant is acclimatized which means the grower has subjected it to interior-like growing conditions before shipping to avoid shock. Binnendijk’s fig is resistant to the most common problem associated with interior use of Ficus – dropped foliage.


Site: Provide filtered sunlight or bright indirect light. This translates to a bright east, west or south-facing window. If your plant is against a wall, rotate the plant every few weeks to prevent the back of the plant from losing it’s leaves.

Water: Allow the soil to dry out between waterings and then water thoroughly and completely. This may mean watering once and then again an hour later as the dry soil begins to absorb water. Do not allow the plant to sit in water. Until you become familiar with your plant’s water requirements… check for water twice a week. Water with tepid water… cold water may cause leaf loss. “Alii” does not require as much water as other Ficus – over watering will cause leaf drop and leaf spotting.

Feeding: A liquid feed every month or so.

Tip: Roots of this plant are very slow growing so re-potting is rarely needed. Be conservative with fertilizers containing boron as these plant are very sensitive to it.

Try to plant in a location that enjoys partial sun and remember to water moderately. Ficus alii is generally regarded as a tender plant, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside. The USDA Hardiness Zones typically associated with Ficus alii are Zone 10 and Zone 11.

Growing Ficus alii from seed

Transplanting Ficus alii

Planted in warm, frost-free climates the Binnendijk’s fig becomes a huge tree (up to 100’) with invasive ground roots and spreading aerial branches. It is only suitable for very large gardens and parks. Various species of tropical Ficus are used extensively as hedges. Wherever planted as a hedge or tree, fig roots can invade water lines and lift pavement. In hurricane prone zones, tropical figs are very susceptible to falling during a storm.

Ficus alii is tender, so ensure you wait until all danger of frost has passed in your area before considering planting outside.

Harvesting Ficus alii

Long Leaf Ficus 'Ficus alii' information

How long does Ficus alii take to grow?

These estimates for how long Long Leaf Ficus 'Ficus alii' takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Long Leaf Ficus Ficus alii Etymology

This plant was originally commercially cultivated in Hawaii – ‘Alii’ is Hawaiian for “Chief”.

Other Names for Long Leaf Ficus 'Ficus alii'

Saber fig, Long leaf ficus, Narrow leaf ficus, Binnendijk’s fig, Sabre fig

Popular varieties of Long Leaf Ficus

View the complete variety list for Long Leaf Ficus »

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