How to Transplant a Ficus


When you speak of a ficus tree, most times you are referring to the ficus benjamina, or the weeping fig tree, a tropical tree that can grow up to 60 feet high and 60 wide. However, it is also one of the most popular indoor plants sold in nurseries. Ficus trees in pots grow at a much slower rate since their roots are constricted, and the tree is much smaller. You can transplant these small trees outdoors with the right environment.

Step 1

Prepare the new site for your ficus tree. Dig a hole at least as deep as the plant's roots are long and twice as wide. Loosen the soil around the sides so that the roots can grow initially without meeting too much resistance. This site needs to be where the ficus will receive constant warmth (tropical climate) sunshine for at least part of the day and good drainage.

Step 2

Remove the ficus tree from its pot, loosening the roots. If you are moving a tree from the ground, keep as much of the soil around the roots as possible. Trees with a canopy diameter of any more than 3 or 4 feet really shouldn't be moved without special equipment since their root structure will be too large to lift.

Step 3

Set the ficus tree in the prepared hole as soon as possible. If you are transporting it to a new location, wrap the roots in burlap and keep damp and out of direct sun.

Step 4

Center and straighten the tree as you fill in the soil around the root base. Tamp the soil down in layers to make sure there are no air pockets. If you are transplanting the ficus to a larger pot, fill the new pot with several inches of soil, set the tree in place and then fill in the extra space with soil, tamping it down as you fill.

Step 5

Water the tree with a gallon of water for every 6 inches of root depth, three times a day. Water more frequently if you notice any wilting of the leaves. Continue watering once a day after the first week, and then as needed during dry times. Do not fertilize the tree until at least three months after transplanting.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Burlap


  • U. of Florida Dept. of Agriculture: Ficus Benjamina
  • U. of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: Weeping Fig
Keywords: transplanting fig tree, moving ficus trees, Ficus tree transplant

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.