The Complete Guide to Growing and Caring for Your Ficus Tree: Tips and Tricks for Success


Many people choose to have a ficus tree in their homes or offices due to its unique and thick foliage. The ficus tree is a popular choice among indoor plant enthusiasts because of its ability to adapt to different types of lighting conditions and its relatively low-maintenance needs. With proper care, ficus trees can thrive and grow to be magnificent additions to any space.

One of the first steps in caring for your ficus tree is to find an ideal location for it. Ficus trees are sensitive to temperature and lighting, so choosing the right spot is crucial. They prefer bright indirect light, so placing them near a north or east-facing window is often recommended. Avoid placing them in drafty areas or near doors that are constantly opening and closing, as the cold air can cause problems for the tree.

Ficus trees also have specific watering needs. They prefer to have consistently moist soil, but be careful not to overwater them as the roots can easily rot. Water your ficus tree when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Make sure to water thoroughly and allow any excess water to drain out of the pot. Be sure to remove any debris or standing water from the saucer to prevent pests or root problems.

When it comes to fertilizing your ficus tree, less is more. A well-established ficus tree only needs to be fertilized every six to eight weeks during the growing season. Use a balanced organic fertilizer and follow the package instructions for proper application. It’s important to lift the ficus tree off the ground when applying fertilizer to avoid any damage to the roots.

Trimming your ficus tree is another important part of its care. Ficus trees can grow quite large, so occasional pruning is necessary to maintain their shape and size. Before trimming, make sure to disinfect your tools to prevent the spread of pests or diseases. Trim back any dead or damaged leaves, as well as any branches that are crowding the tree. Propagating ficus trees is relatively easy too – simply take a cutting and place it in water or moist soil until roots develop.

Think Twice before Planting a Ficus Tree

If you’re considering planting a ficus tree in your home or office, there are a few things you should carefully consider before making your decision.

Ficus trees, like the popular Ficus lyrata (also known as the fiddle-leaf fig) or Ficus benjamina (commonly known as the weeping fig), are excellent choices for indoor environments due to their aesthetic appeal and air-purifying qualities. However, they can be quite challenging to care for and maintain, requiring a level of commitment that not everyone may be prepared for.

One thing to keep in mind is that ficus trees are sensitive to changes in their environment, particularly when it comes to lighting conditions. Placing them directly in front of windows may result in leaf discoloration or even losing leaves altogether. While some cultivars, like Ficus lyrata “Bambino” or Ficus benjamina “Starlight,” may be better suited to lower light conditions, it’s still important to ensure they receive adequate, indirect sunlight.

Another consideration is the temperature and humidity requirements of ficus trees. They prefer a temperature range between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and thrive in higher humidity levels. If you’re giving your ficus tree a long-term home, you’ll want to ensure you can maintain these conditions to keep your tree healthy.

Additionally, ficus trees are known to be pest magnets, attracting common houseplant pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. If you’re not prepared to deal with pest infestations or take preventative measures, then a ficus tree might not be the best choice for you.

Fertilizing your ficus tree on a regular basis is also crucial to ensure proper growth and health. Organic liquid fertilizers make great options, but be sure to follow the instructions on the label and avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to fertilizer burn.

If you’re interested in propagating your ficus tree, it’s worth noting that ficus trees can be challenging to root from cuttings, particularly for beginners. However, with patience and the right techniques, it is possible to successfully propagate them.

Keep in mind that ficus trees can grow quite large if given the right conditions, so ensure you have enough space for their potential size. Pruning can help control their growth and maintain a desired shape, but it’s a task that needs to be done regularly.

It’s also important to note that some ficus tree species, like Ficus elastica (commonly known as the rubber tree) or Ficus lutea (also known as the giant fig), aren’t suitable for growing indoors due to their massive size. These types of ficus trees are better suited for outdoor planting in well-draining soils.

Lastly, you should consider the possible toxicity of ficus trees. While ficus trees are not considered highly toxic, some people may have allergic reactions or sensitivities to their sap. If you have pets or small children in your household, you’ll want to keep this in mind and take precautions.

In conclusion, before deciding to plant a ficus tree, think twice and carefully weigh the pros and cons. Consider the lighting requirements, temperature and humidity needs, potential pest issues, fertilizing regimen, space constraints, and possible toxicity. By doing so, you’ll have a better understanding of whether a ficus tree is the right fit for you and your environment.


Ficus trees have a moderate water demand. It is important to maintain the right moisture level in the soil for healthy growth. Underwatering can result in dry and damaged leaves, while overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases. Each ficus tree has different water requirements, so it’s essential to think about the specific needs of your cultivar.

Most ficus trees need watering once every 7-10 days. However, young and newly repotted plants may require more frequent watering. Before watering, always check the moisture level of the soil. Stick your finger into the soil about an inch deep – if it feels dry, it’s time to water. If it feels wet, wait a few more days before watering again.

When watering your ficus tree, make sure to do it thoroughly. Give enough water to saturate the soil evenly. Let the excess water drain away, and don’t let the pot sit in standing water. Ficus trees are sensitive to waterlogged soils.

Keep in mind that the watering frequency may vary depending on the environment. In dry and hot conditions, the ficus tree may require more water. In contrast, during winter or in a cool office with heating, the water demand may decrease. Also, drafts from windows or air conditioning units can dry out the plant quickly.

If you are unsure about when to water your ficus tree, a good rule of thumb is to water it when the top inch of soil feels dry. This will help ensure that your plant gets water regularly without overwatering.

Some ficus cultivars, such as the Ficus Benjamin or Weeping Fig, are more demanding when it comes to water. They appreciate being kept evenly moist, but be careful not to overwater them.

It’s essential to provide enough humidity to your indoor ficus tree, especially during the dry winter months. You can place a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity or mist the foliage regularly. This will help keep the moisture levels optimal and prevent leaf browning.

When propagating ficus trees or adjusting pot sizes through repotting, it’s crucial to pay attention to the water demand. Newly rooted cuttings require less water than mature plants, while larger pots may retain moisture for longer periods, reducing watering frequency.

Avoid using water that contains fluoride or chlorine, as these chemicals can harm the ficus tree. If using tap water, let it sit uncovered for at least 24 hours to allow the chemicals to evaporate before watering your plant.

Remember that some ficus trees, like the Ficus elastica or Rubber Tree, have a higher water demand during the growing season and may appreciate a more frequent watering schedule.

Ficus trees are generally forgiving and can survive with some neglect, but maintaining the proper watering schedule is essential for their health and growth. By understanding the water demand of your ficus tree and providing it with adequate moisture, you can enjoy a thriving and beautiful plant in your home or office.


Ficus trees are generally a cold-sensitive plant, meaning they are susceptible to damage or death when exposed to frost or extreme cold temperatures. It is important to provide the proper care to ensure the health and survival of your ficus tree.

Cold temperatures can lead to various issues for ficus trees, including fungal disease, leaf loss, and even death. Some cultivars are more cold sensitive than others, so it’s essential to know the specific needs of your ficus tree. Most ficus plants are better suited for indoor cultivation, although some varieties can tolerate being grown outdoors in warm climates.

Before the first frost of the year, it is advisable to move your ficus tree indoors, placing it near a window that receives plenty of sunlight. If you decide to keep it outdoors in colder conditions, ensure that it is properly protected from frost or extreme cold. Only well-established and larger-sized ficus trees have a chance to survive cold temperatures directly outdoors.

When growing ficus trees indoors, it is crucial to provide them with the right conditions. Ficus trees appreciate moist but well-draining soil, so be careful not to overwater them. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again, ensuring the moisture is evenly distributed throughout the potting soil.

If you notice signs of disease or infection, such as yellowing or dropping leaves, it is necessary to take immediate action. Trim the infected parts of the tree with sterile pruning shears and regularly inspect it for any further signs of disease.

Fertilizer can also play a significant role in the overall health of your ficus tree. Ficus trees have a high demand for nutrients, so it is important to feed them regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the best results.

Proper care and attention to cold-sensitive ficus trees can ensure their long-term health and growth. By providing them with the right amount of water, sunlight, and protection from frost, you can enjoy the unique beauty they bring to your indoor or outdoor space.

✿ Read More About Landscape Trees.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.