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Care of Ficus

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Care of Ficus

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Overview

Ficus (Ficus benjamina) is a graceful plant with shiny leaves and delicate, arching branches that are the reason for the plant's moniker of "weeping fig." Although ficus is a popular plant in both home and office environments, it can be fussy, and will often drop its leaves in response to inadequate sunlight or water, or any sudden change in environment. For houseplant enthusiasts who are willing to spend a bit of extra time, ficus is well worth the extra effort.

Step 1

Place a ficus plant in moderately bright light. Ficus will do well 3 to 4 feet from a sunny window, or near a window shaded with a sheer curtain.

Step 2

Water the ficus when the top of the soil feels almost, but not quite dry. Water the plant until water runs through the drainage hole, then pour the water out of the drainage saucer immediately. Don't allow the soil to dry out or to become soggy, as changes in moisture can cause the ficus to drop its leaves.

Step 3

Fertilize the ficus plant every six months, using a weak solution of a liquid houseplant fertilizer. Read the directions on the fertilizer package carefully, but dilute the fertilizer to half strength. Ficus is a light feeder, and will drop its leaves in response to excessive fertilizer.

Step 4

Keep ficus in a warm room with daytime temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees cooler. Although ficus can survive cooler temperatures, the plant will respond to sudden temperature changes by dropping its leaves.

Step 5

Keep ficus away from drafty windows and doors, air conditioners, warm appliances and heating vents.

Step 6

Repot the ficus plant every three years, or whenever the soil becomes compacted and begins to dry out quickly. Use a container 2 inches larger, and fill the container with commercial potting mixture.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid houseplant fertilizer
  • Planting container with drainage hole
  • Commercial potting mixture

References

  • University of Florida: Care of Plants in the Home
  • Brian's Garden: Fig Tree Growing Conditions
  • Texas A&M: Weeping Fig, Benjamin Fig, Ficus benjamina
Keywords: ficus plant, ficus benjamina, weeping fig

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.