How To Grow And Care For A Ficus Tree: A Complete Guide

how to care for a ficus

Once established in their new environment, ficus trees require very little maintenance. After settling in, they will flourish in an area with direct light that is bright and regular watering. Your Ficus is a lovely, low-maintenance indoor plant that is contained in almost any setting as long as it is protected from direct, hot sunlight.

What’s A Ficus?

Botanical Classification: Ficus Benjamina ‘Danielle’


As soon as they are acclimated to their new environment, ficus trees are very simple to maintain. They will flourish in an area with bright indirect light and a regular watering schedule once they have adapted to their new home. Your Ficus is a lovely, low-maintenance indoor plant that thrives almost anywhere that avoids direct, hot sunlight.

Types of Ficus Trees

Historically, the famous Bodhi tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment was a Ficus religiosa, known for its leaves that have a distinctive and extended drip tip. Here are a few other types of ficus plants:

  • F. Benjamina Starlight: This variegated version of F. Benjamina has white splotches on the leaves.
  • F. Elastica: The leaves of the rubber tree are broad, glossy, and large. Varieties include F. Elastica robusta with wide, large leaves and F. Elastica decora with emerald green leaves.
  • F. lyrata: The large, violin-shaped leaves on this ornamental fiddle leaf fig can grow to be up to 18 inches long.


Your Ficus may go into dormancy, slowing down in the chilly fall and winter months before reviving in the spring and summer.

Common Problems When Caring for a Ficus Plant Almost everyone who has owned a ficus tree has asked themselves at some point, “What causes the leaves on my ficus tree to fall?” The most typical issue these plants encounter is ficus trees losing their leaves. Leaf drop is a ficus tree’s typical response to stress, which can be caused by any of the following factors: under or overwatering, low humidity, too little light, relocation or repotting, drafts, change in temperature (too hot or cold), pests, etc. If your ficus is losing its leaves, check the checklist of proper ficus tree care and make any necessary corrections. Pests like mealybugs, scale, and spider mites are also prone to attack AD AD Ficus. A ficus tree in good health won’t experience these issues, but a stressed ficus tree (which is probably losing leaves) will unquestionably develop a pest problem quickly. “Sap” dripping from a ficus houseplant, which is actually honeydew from an invading pest, is a sure sign of an infestation. Any of these pest problems can be solved by applying neem oil to the plant.

Ficus Tree Care

how to care for a ficus

The Ficus tree, which has magnificent crowns and roots that hang and buttress downward, is frequently observed as a landscape tree in its natural habitat. A stunning specimen plant for the home that can produce years of lush foliage is the Ficus tree. Due to its finicky nature, special maintenance is required.

The Ficus tree causes a lot of people to become frustrated. They don’t like to be moved and are vulnerable to leaf drop in cold, drafty environments. Since they are tropical plants, they must have enough light, heat, and humidity to look their best.


Ficus plants require bright light whether they are indoors or out, but only plants that have been exposed to direct sunlight can handle it. In the summer, they enjoy being moved outside, but don’t put them in direct sunlight. Leaf loss will result from bright, direct light scalding the leaves.


A Ficus tree needs fertile, well-draining soil. For this plant, soil-based potting mixtures should work well and supply the nutrients it requires. Since rose and azalea potting soils are more acidic, avoid using them.


For ficus trees, excessive watering can be problematic. When the first two inches of soil are extremely dry, water only your indoor tree. By inserting your index finger halfway into the soil, you can tell if it is dry or not. Water the ficus evenly throughout the summer by providing water until it starts to drain out of the bottom drain holes (remove excess water so the tree is not sitting in moisture). Winter watering should be less intense. Provide ample ambient moisture in dry homes by frequently misting.

Water ficus trees that are rooted in the ground outside deeply once or twice a week with 1.5 to 2 inches of water. If the top 2 inches of soil are still wet, only water.

Temperature And Humidity

These plants are unable to withstand cold temperatures or drafts. Always keep the temperature indoors and out above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures over 70 degrees will be much more beneficial. Any chilly air drafts from windows, doors or air conditioners will be harmful.

They enjoy a climate that is mainly humid. Provide a pebble tray with water below the plant or regularly mist the leaves.


Slow-release pellets should be fed to your Ficus tree at the start of the growing season. They will benefit from fertilization every month in the spring and summer and every two months in the fall and winter because they grow quickly.

How To Prune A Ficus Tree

If you want to keep your indoor ficus tree in shape and keep it from touching the ceiling, prune it. Winter is the best time to prune because that is when it is not actively growing. Put on gloves and use a clean, well-kept pair of pruning scissors. To encourage new growth, prune back to just before a node. Don’t be reluctant to prune back a ficus if it is overgrowing or getting leggy. Leaf regrowth will occur quickly.

How To Propagate Ficus Trees

If you do not reside in a tropical area, finding ficus seeds naturally can be difficult. It can be challenging for seeds to germinate. Air layering is not always a reliable technique for ficus tree propagation. Stem cutting is the best method for growing ficus trees. Here are the steps:

  1. Cut a section of the plant’s stem that is at least 6 inches long with a pair of sterilized sheers. Make sure the cutting has a woody base and green growth at the tip.
  2. The rooting hormone should be applied to the cutting’s bottom.
  3. The Ficus tree cutting should be planted in well-draining potting soil in an 8-inch pot with drainage holes.
  4. To keep the soil moist, wrap the cutting in a clear plastic bag. To allow the plant to breathe, make a small slit or two on the top of the bag.
  5. You can take off the plastic covering once the roots have grown strong, which should take 90 to 120 days.
  6. In the spring, move your plant outside or into a container.

How To Pot And Repot Ficus Trees

A healthy Ficus tree will quickly outgrow both its container and your home. To slow growth and maintain a manageable size for the plant, repot only every other year. Examine the drainage holes to see if the roots are erupting, and repot if necessary. Repotting is best done in the spring when the plant is actively growing. Always use a pot made of any material that is 2- to 3-inches larger than the previous one and has lots of drainage holes when repotting. Use top-notch potting soil when you repot your ficus.

Common Pests And Plant Diseases

Ficus trees are susceptible to mites, scale, mealybugs, whiteflies, and aphids both inside and outside. Use an insecticide, such as neem oil, to drive away pests. A leaf spot disease can develop on ficus trees occasionally. To prevent the fungus from spreading further, remove infected leaves from the plant and the area around it right away.

Common Problems With Ficus Trees

Stress causes ficus plants to respond by losing leaves, which is a common problem. Stressors, however, can also cause the leaves to curl and turn yellow. Stress to both indoor and outdoor ficus trees could be caused by any number of things including the following:

  • Drafts
  • Pests
  • Underwatering
  • Overwatering
  • Too little light
  • Low humidity
  • Change in temperature


how to care for a ficus

Are Ficus And Fig Trees Interchangeable Terms?

Ficus and fig trees are frequently confused with one another. This is most likely because ficus plants are part of the fig genus. Some species of ficus trees bear the well-known fruit and are referred to as fig trees. But the F. benjamina plant is a tropical evergreen and does not bear fruit.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Ficus Tree?

A ficus tree can live for three or more decades if kept in the proper settings, whether indoors or outdoors.

Why Does A Ficus Tree In A Pot Indoors Not Enjoy Being Moved Around?

A ficus tree typically reacts strongly to changes in the environment’s temperature and lighting. Because of this, if it is moved, it will experience shock and drop its leaves. Keep your indoor potted ficus in one place as much as you can; it might not always be the best-potted plant to move indoors and out year after year.

When Rooted In The Ground Outside, Why Does The Ficus Tree Grow So Tall?

The plant’s strong, extensive, and the deep root system is what allows it to grow so big. A ficus tree can be planted much more easily in a pot because its size can be better controlled there.

Can I Move My Ficus Plant Outside In The Summer?

Although Pleasant says it’s not the best idea, you can. It will probably start by dropping leaves because it is the diva that it is! Additionally, it cannot cook in direct sunlight, so you must locate a shaded area. When nighttime temperatures in the fall reach the 50s, you must finally bring it inside. Take it outside a week or so before you bring it inside to kill any hitchhikers like aphids, scale, mealy bugs, or spider mites that might potentially infest your other indoor plants. Spray it with neem oil. As it readjusts to the indoor lighting, anticipate it to start dropping leaves once more when it enters.

What Specific Issues Does The Ficus Tree Have?

Keep an eye out for a scale insect infestation. You might notice these insects attached to leaf surfaces because of their waxy exterior appearance. Additionally, the scale excretes a gooey substance known as honeydew, which you can find on your table or floor. Try wiping these insects away with a soft cloth dipped in warm, soapy water to control a minor infestation. Neem oil or insecticidal soap can be used if that is too much work. Retreat in 10 days.