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Everything You Need to Know about Ficus Care

Ficus trees are a common plant in the home and office, mainly because they look like a typical tree with a single trunk and a spreading canopy. For all of their popularity though, Ficus plants are finicky. Ficus trees can maintain their tree-like shape regardless of their size, so this makes them ideal for bonsais or for massive houseplants in large spaces. Their leaves can be either dark green or variegated.  Check out our ficus collection.

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Ficus Care

The famous Bodhi tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment was a Ficus religiosa. In the home, the Ficus is a beautiful specimen plant that can provide many years of lush foliage. It is quite finicky, so be prepared for some specific care requirements. When caring for indoor Ficus tree plants, the proper light, soil, pruning and fertilization are essential for a healthy plant.

Light

Ficus plants need bright light, but only acclimated plants can handle the direct sun. They appreciate being moved outside in summer but do not place them in direct sunlight. Bright, direct light will scald the leaves and cause leaf loss.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.

Soil

A Ficus needs well-draining, fertile soil. Soil-based potting mixes should work well for this plant and provide the nutrients it needs. Avoid using soils for roses or azaleas, since these are more acidic potting soils. Use 3 parts loam 1 part peat and 1 part sand for a well-draining mixture. Plant it in a deep pot with drainage holes so the water can run out.

Water

Ficus requires less watering during winter, so water it evenly during summer and reduce it in winter.In dry homes, provide plenty of ambient moisture by misting often. Do not let the root ball dry out and check the soil before watering.Add water until it drains from the bottom of the pot.If the leaves turn yellow and begin to drop; you may need to increase or decrease the amount of water.

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Temperature and Humidity

These plants cannot tolerate low temperatures or drafts. Maintain a temperature above 16° C at all times; they will do much better with temperatures above 21° C. Any cold drafts from windows, doors, or air-conditioning units will cause harm. Keep them away from a drafty location. They like a relatively humid environment. Regularly mist the leaves or provide a pebble tray filled with water below the plant.

Fertilizer

Feed your Ficus with slow-release pellets at the beginning of the growing season. They are rapid growers and will benefit from monthly fertilization in the spring and summer and once every two months in the fall and winter.

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Common Problems

  • Symptom: Leaf drop
    Cause: Change in temperature.
  • Symptom: Leaf spot
    Cause: Fungus.
  • Symptom: Oozing sap
    Cause: Mealybug.

Ficus can be rooted from tip cuttings with rooting hormone. Use only non-woody stems as cuttings. For larger plants, air layering is the preferred method.

While they do have specific growing requirements, few plants are quite as flexible as the Ficus. F. benjamina is a favourite among bonsai growers and it can be braided or shaped. If your Ficus is overgrowing its spot, don’t be afraid to trim it back. New leaves will quickly sprout. Ficus tend toward legginess after a few years.

Ficus care reference: TheSpruce