How to care for indoor ficus tree

How to Care for a Ficus Tree

If your home is suffering from a sense of drab lifelessness, what it probably needs are a few plants. From adorable succulents to kitchen herbs, every home feels warmer and more welcoming with a few indoor plants.

One of the most popular living room plants for decades have been graceful ficuses or figs, with their glossy leaves and light gray trunks. Though they typically grow to about 10 feet tall indoors, in the wild, certain species can reach heights of 60 feet tall! Sometimes the trunks of ficus trees are twisted or braided or trained as a bonsai.

“If you give [a ficus] what it needs, it’s the closest you come to having a tree indoors,” says Barbara Pleasant, author of The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual. “With the right care, a ficus tree can live for about 20 years.”

Here’s how to care for a ficus tree, plus everything else you need to know about this popular (but somewhat finicky!) houseplant.

How much light does my ficus tree need?

As a tropical plant, a ficus tree, also called "weeping fig," need lots of bright indirect light. Place it near your brightest windows, typically south- or west-facing, or give it supplemental light with a grow light. Once it’s situated, leave it be. It’s a little fussy and doesn’t respond well to changes. Ficus trees will sulk by dropping leaves anytime light levels or temperatures change. It also drops leaves seasonally, so be prepared with a good dustpan.

Tetiana Soares//Getty Images

How do I care for a ficus tree?

Typically, a new ficus will come in a black plastic pot with drain holes. Simply place it into a pretty, decorative clay planter. The plant shouldn't need repotting for several years.

To water your ficus, simply give it a good soaking and let it dry out before watering again. If you overwater, the leaves will turn yellow and drop. If you underwater, the green leaves will begin to drop. A way to judge whether it’s time to water is to tip the pot and feel its weight; if it’s really light, it’s probably time to give it a drink, says Pleasant. You’ll get the hang of it after a few weeks. After watering, always dump out any water that gathers in the tray beneath the pot; no plant likes soggy feet.

To feed your ficus tree give it a liquid all-purpose fertilizer during its growing season from April to September.

The sticky sap may irritate tummies, so keep this plant away from curious pets who like to nibble on houseplants. Occasionally, dust or spray its leaves with a damp cloth or a gentle spray from the shower head.

Adél Békefi//Getty Images

Can I take my ficus plant outdoors in summer?

You can, but it’s not the best idea, says Pleasant. For starters, it will likely drop leaves, being the diva that it is! It also can’t cook in hot sun, so you would need to find a shady spot. Finally, you’ll have to bring it indoors before the night temperatures drop into the 50s in the fall. Take it aside, and spray it with neem oil about a week before you bring it in to kill any hitchhikers such as aphids, scale, mealy bugs, or spider mites, that potentially could infest your other indoor plants. Also, expect it to drop leaves again when it comes inside until it readjusts to the light levels indoors.

Does the ficus tree have any particular problems?

Keep an eye out for an infestation of scale insects. These insects have a waxy exterior appearance, and you might see them attached to leaf surfaces. There’s also a sticky substance called honeydew, which you’ll find on your table or floor, that’s excreted by the scale when feeding. Try controlling a minor infestation by using a soft cloth dipped in warm, soapy water to wipe these insects away, says Pleasant. If that’s has too much work, treat an insecticidal soap or neem oil. Retreat in 10 days.

Ficus Trees for Your Home
Mini Fiddle Leaf Ficus

$21 at Amazon

Credit: Courtesy Amazon
Bonsai Ficus Tree

$38 at Amazon

Benjamina Ficus Tree

$80 at Amazon

Braided Wintergreen Weeping Fig Tree

Shop at Amazon

Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Arricca Elin Sansone

Arricca SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman's Day, and more. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Indoor Ficus Tree Plant Care | Home Guides

By Jill Kokemuller Updated December 15, 2018

The Ficus family includes a large number of species including the rubber plant (Ficus elastica), weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) and fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata). Ficus grown as houseplants are much smaller than their outdoor counterparts, which grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12. Most ficus grown indoors are woody tree-like plants with single or multi-stemmed trunks. When caring for indoor ficus tree plants, the proper light, soil, pruning and fertilization are essential for a healthy plant.

Light and Soil

Plant the ficus in a well-draining potting mix. Purchase a loamy soil with added vermiculite or perlite for drainage, or mix your own. Use 3 parts loam 1 part peat and 1 part sand for a well-draining mixture. Plant in a deep pot with drainage holes so the water can run out. Place the ficus near a window in a room that gets bright light in the summer with more moderate light in the winter. Turn the plant occasionally so all the growth does not occur on one side.


Water weekly during the summer with room-temperature water. Add water until it drains from the bottom of the pot. Discard the excess water if it flows into a container. Adjust the watering for your particular plant. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. If the leaves turn yellow and begin to drop, you may need to increase or decrease the amount of water. Check the root ball. If the roots are soggy water the plant less often. If they are dry, increase watering. Humidity and light levels affect the amount of water needed.


Using sterilized tools, prune the ficus to keep its small size and to shape the canopy. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth appears, using small pruning shears. Make cuts on branches just above a leaf node or a branching stem. New growth will appear from below the cut. Prune out dead branches any time throughout the year. Make cuts just outside the branch collar to avoid damaging the trunk. Yearly pruning can help build a fuller canopy.

Fertilizing and a Vacation

Fertilize during the active growth period in summer. You will see new leaves appear and branches grow during this time. Use a general-purpose fertilizer diluted to half strength and fertilize every three or four weeks until the active growth period ends. There is no need for fertilizer during the winter. You can also take advantage of the warm summer to set the ficus outdoors. Place the plant in bright, indirect light during the frost-free months.

Leaf Drop

Ficus are sensitive to changes in their environment. They react to these changes by dropping leaves. The leaves turn yellow and fall off. If you have just moved your ficus to a new location, expect leaf drop. The leaves will grow back when the plant adjusts. If it has not been moved, it may be reacting to a change in lighting conditions as the seasons change. Or, it may be reacting to an increase or decrease in its watering frequency. Be aware of the ficus' regular habits and try not to deviate from them to avoid leaf drop.

Avoiding Diseases

As with all living plants, the potential for disease increases with improper care. For an indoor ficus tree plant, many of these diseases, such as anthracnose or branch dieback, occur when overhead watering. Overhead watering simply means getting the leaves wet. To reduce the potential for disease, simply add water at the base directly into the soil. In addition, maintain an even soil moisture, not too wet or too dry.


  • University of Illinois Extension: Ficus
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Ficus Benjamina
  • Penn State Extension: Ficus Diseases

Writer Bio

Jill Kokemuller has been writing since 2010, with work published in the "Daily Gate City." She spent six years working in a private boarding school, where her focus was English, algebra and geometry. Kokemuller is an authorized substitute teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.

How to care for ficus: a comprehensive guide

March 10, 2019LikbezDo it yourself

We share the secrets of watering and explain why the ficus sheds leaves.



Where to put the ficus

Immediately choose a permanent place in the apartment for the green pet. Ficuses react very painfully to frequent moves.

A well-lit place is suitable for the plant. But make sure that direct sunlight does not fall on the ficus and slightly shade it, for example, with roller blinds. Otherwise, he may get burned.

Bright lighting is especially important for variegated plants. Due to the lack of light, their leaves can change color and become just green.

Another consequence of the lack of illumination is a curvature or leaning to one side, at first barely noticeable. To help the ficus, move it closer to the window. If the plant does not fit on the windowsill, put it on a stool.

From spring to autumn, during active growth, once a month turn the other side of the ficus to the light.

How to care for ficus in the cold season

No special conditions are needed for wintering. The plant does well at room temperature if it does not fall below 16 ° C. But with the reduction of daylight hours, growth also slows down, which resumes with the onset of spring.

Protect the ficus from drafts. Otherwise, he may just drop the leaves. If the window sill is cold, place a Styrofoam or other pad under the pot.

How to care for ficus in the warm season

In late spring, when the night temperature no longer drops below 17 °C, ficus can be taken out to a balcony or loggia. In the fresh air, it will become even more magnificent and brighter.

Try to choose a well-lit place for him, but without direct sunlight. With the onset of autumn cold weather, return the green pet back.

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How to water ficus

Use only room temperature water that has settled for at least 1–2 days.

There is no clear interval for watering ficuses. The main thing is that the soil is dry. Stick your finger into the ground a couple of inches. If it's dry, the plant needs water.

Pour plenty of water into the pot. After 30–40 minutes, remove excess liquid so that it does not stagnate in the pan.

Throughout the year, once a day or two, spray the ficus with settled water at room temperature. But if in the room where the plant stands is not more than 16 ° C, give up water procedures.

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How to bathe a ficus

Wipe plants with large leaves every couple of weeks with a damp cloth or cotton swab.

The same cleaning is needed for small-leaved species growing in tubs.

For small-leaved compact ficuses, shower 1-2 times a month. Before bathing, cover the pot with a film so that moisture does not get into it. Put in the bath, and then pour the crown abundantly with warm, but not hot water. Direct the jet from the side.

After showering, wait until the plant is dry and put it back. Try to put it with the same side to the light as before. In order not to be mistaken, make a mark on the pot in advance.

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How to Repot Ficus

When and How Often to Repot Ficus

The best time to move to a new pot is spring and early summer. During this period, adaptation is easiest.

It is easy to understand that the former capacity has become small. The earth in it dries quickly, the roots are braided with an earthen ball and look out through the drainage holes. If this happens, do not postpone the transplant. But carry the whole earthen ball, do not wash or clean the root system.

To prevent this situation, replant young ficuses every year. Adults who are over four years old, at intervals of 2-3 years, when the roots begin to become crowded.

Don't disturb large tub plants. Just renew the topsoil a couple of times a year.

What soil do ficuses need

Special soil for ficuses can be bought at any store. In the universal soil, you will have to add ¹⁄₂–1 handful of coarse sand or vermiculite.

To make your own soil, mix approximately equal proportions of sand, peat, leafy and soddy soil.

Which pot for ficus

Plastic or ceramic pots are suitable for these plants. The main thing is that they have drainage holes.

Choose a pot a little larger than the root system, that is, a couple of centimeters wider and deeper than before. Don't take too much right away.

For the first transplant from a transport container (plants are sold in stores), take a pot a little deeper, but about the same diameter.

How to transplant

Remove the plant from the pot. Shake the earth ball lightly and gently tap on the floor or other surface. Remove the soil that will fall off on its own. Do not try to remove the remaining by hand or otherwise.

Select the correct size pot. Fill the bottom with about 2 cm of expanded clay drainage, put a few pieces of charcoal and fill in some earth. Put the ficus in a pot and add soil.

After transplanting, put the plant back in its original place. Watering - not earlier than in 4-5 days.

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How to fertilize ficus

Feed the plant every one and a half to two weeks from spring to autumn. Fertilizers will ensure the active growth of the plant itself, the development of healthy leaves. In winter, you can refuse top dressing.

The optimal scheme is the alternation of mineral and organic fertilizers. For example, based on bird droppings. Although the use of only one type gives a good result.

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How to treat ficus

Watch your green pet carefully and help him in time.

Ficus drops leaves

This happens for various reasons:

  • plant rearrangement or reaction to new conditions after purchase;
  • drafts from ventilation, cold air from air conditioning systems;
  • sudden changes in temperature;
  • cold water irrigation;
  • low air humidity;
  • lack of light;
  • overflow or overdrying;
  • spider mite.

Pay attention to the conditions of the plant. This will help identify and eliminate the cause.

If small-leaved species lose up to 10 leaves when winter sets in, nothing needs to be done. This is the plant's reaction to the change of season.

If it's all about a tick, which can be identified by a barely visible cobweb, arrange a warm shower for the ficus. After following the instructions, treat with acaricides. Insect control products will not cope with this pest.

Leaves dry at the edges

Overflow is to blame.

This problem often occurs in rubbery ficuses. If symptoms appear, remove rotten roots and transplant the plant into a new pot. Then try to water moderately.

Damaged leaves will not recover, but new ones will grow healthy.

Leaves droop and fall off

This is also a reaction to overwatering. Review your watering schedule. Check each time that the soil is dry enough.

If overwatering, try drying the soil with paper towels. Put one in the pan, and when it gets wet, change to the next. Continue until the moisture comes out.

If the situation persists, transplant the ficus into a new pot. Dry the soil again before doing this.

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How to keep a ficus healthy

  1. Provide adequate lighting.
  2. If possible, do not move the ficus from place to place, especially in winter.
  3. Protect the plant from drafts and cold.
  4. Water with warm water when the topsoil dries out.
  5. Regularly wipe the leaves with a damp cloth, spray the ficus, bathe it in the shower.
  6. Choose the right soil and replant at the right time.
  7. Fertilize from spring to autumn.

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How to care for ficus at home: rules and tips


How to care for ficus at home: Needpix

The popularity of ficus in floriculture is growing every day. If you properly organize the conditions of detention, an ornamental plant will decorate the interior for many years. Alexander Kurlovich, Larisa Koneva, Natalya Logacheva and Natalya Sheshko shared the secrets of how to grow a real tropical handsome man in the house.

General advice and requirements for keeping ficus

Ficus in the natural environment live in the tropics. There are about 2000 species of them, but only a few of them (about 20 species) are suitable for indoor cultivation. Indoors, tropical plants practically do not have flowers and ovaries, except for certain species (figs).

What does a ficus like? He loves warmth, good lighting and sufficient soil moisture. In order for the ficus to successfully develop and increase its green mass, it must have a permanent place in the house. Ficuses do not like frequent rearrangements and transplants into a new pot.

Here are details about the optimal conditions for keeping ficuses:

  • Light. Most types of ficuses have wide leaf plates with bright colors. To prevent the photosynthesis process from being disturbed, provide the ficus with bright light, but do not place it under the direct rays of the sun. The best option would be diffused light from the window. With a lack of lighting, the plant sheds leaves and loses its brightness of color.
  • Humidity level. In the leaves and stems of ficus there are cells that can accumulate moisture. Moderate watering is better for him than drying out an earthen coma. Water the ficus in the summer 2 times a week, and in the winter no more than 1 time in 10 days. In hot weather, give the plant a shower, wipe the leaves with a damp sponge.
  • Temperature. Ficuses prefer temperature conditions in the range of + 17–20 ° С. In summer, a temperature of + 25–30 ° С is suitable for them, and in winter - from + 12 ° С.

Where to put ficus? The best place for a ficus will be a floor stand near the east or west window, in the center of the room, where diffused light falls. Place plants in tubs for the summer period on a loggia, an open balcony, a terrace so that the direct rays of the sun do not fall on the leaves.

How to propagate ficus? All varieties of indoor ficuses are propagated by cuttings, layering, leaf or seeds. For broad-leaved ficus species, the method of grafting and leaf propagation is suitable. Reproduction by layering is suitable for plants with a bare climbing stem according to the scheme recommended by Larisa Koneva in the book “The Most Needed Book on Houseplants”.

Growing ficus from seeds at home is available only when buying seed material in a specialized store. It is almost impossible to collect seeds at home on your own.

Optimal conditions for keeping ficuses: Unsplash/Balu Gáspár

Ficus care and transplant rules

Ficus is an unpretentious plant, but its appearance and stable immunity are completely dependent on proper care. The plant is at rest in winter, and actively develops in summer.

How to care for ficus? Organize proper watering and spraying, wipe the leaves 2 times a week to remove dust and open up light for the normal process of photosynthesis. In the summer, feed 2 times a month with complex mineral fertilizers for indoor plants, carry out shaping and rejuvenating pruning, transplant ficus if necessary.

How to water ficus? In winter, the irrigation regime depends on the temperature, humidity level in the room and lighting. At a temperature of + 15–16 ° C, water the ficus 1 time in 10 days. If the temperature rises above +20 ° C, water every 2-3 days and spray the crown regularly.

In summer, 2 waterings per week are enough to keep the soil clod moist. On hot days, spray the leaves of the plant with a spray bottle or arrange a shower from a watering can once a week, covering the surface of the pot with a film. Take water for watering ficus only at room temperature. From cold water, the plant will get stress.

How to water a ficus: Unsplash/Helen Oreshchenko

How to prune a ficus? Perform sanitary and anti-aging pruning at any time of the year, removing old, dry and diseased shoots. Perform formative crown pruning in the spring, when the plant enters an active growing season. To prevent pruning from being combined with a transplant, first cut the shoots, and after 2 weeks proceed to transplant the ficus.

Transplant annually for young 1-3 year old ficuses. Transplant mature plants only in the following cases:

  • after purchase from the store, as they are kept hydroponically there. The purchased plant should be transplanted into an earthen mixture, as advised by the co-authors of the "Encyclopedia of Indoor Plants" Natalya Logacheva and Natalya Sheshko;
  • if the ficus roots do not fit in the pot and climb into the drainage holes;
  • when leaves fall, change their shape and color;
  • if the soil dries out quickly and loses nutrients.

Transplanting Rules:

  1. Choose a large pot with drainage holes.
  2. Place a 5-6 cm layer of pebbles on the bottom. Pour in a nutritious potting mix for indoor plants with the addition of sand.
  3. Transfer the flower from the old pot to the new one using the transfer method. Do not shake off the soil from the roots.
  4. Pour plenty of warm water over the ficus and after 30 minutes drain the excess liquid from the pan.

Place the pot with the transplanted plant in a permanent place with sufficient diffused light, water after a week.

Rules for transplanting ficus: Unsplash/Severin Candrian

Problems in growing ficus and how to solve them

In case of violation of the rules of care, diseases and pest attacks, leaves often fall in ficus, roots rot and growth stops. In the autumn-winter period, ficuses can shed 10-12% of the lower leaves. Premature leaf fall confirms that the ficus has problems.

Ficus leaves turn yellow, curl and fall off for the following reasons:

  1. Sudden change in keeping conditions. With changes in air temperature, lighting, watering and other factors, most ficuses endure severe stress. Therefore, in the room they immediately choose a suitable place for the ficus and establish a care system.
  2. Wrong pot size. Each variety of ficus has its own capacity requirements. For example, rubber-bearing species prefer loose pots, and Benjamin's ficus grows well in a cramped pot. Alexander Kurlovich, author of the book "Ficuses", recommends choosing a new pot 1–1.5 cm larger than the old one in diameter.
  3. Lack of useful trace elements. During the period of active growth from March to September, ficuses need additional feeding.
  4. Direct sunlight. Broad-leaved ficuses need to be shaded from the sun in summer, otherwise burns appear on the leaves and drying occurs.
  5. Lack of lighting. In broad-leaved ficuses, the leaves begin to crumble from below, curly ficuses lose their beautiful coloring of the leaves, the shoots stretch out and become thin.
  6. Violation of watering and humidity. Ampelous ficuses require constant spraying and watering. Tree-like ficuses are drought-resistant and suffer more from waterlogging.
Problems when growing ficus: Pixabay

Ficus species of different types with improper care are exposed to the following diseases: