How to Plant an Outdoor Ficus Tree


Ficus is a genus of plants that containing almost 900 species, ranging from trees to vines. Native to the world's tropical regions, they are commonly known as fig plants. The most popular ficus is the F. benjamina species, also known as the weeping fig, and it is grown both outdoors and as a houseplant. This ficus can get quite large when grown outdoors, up to 60 feet tall and 60 to 100 feet wide. Ficus roots grow quickly and can lift sidewalks and driveways and invade septic systems. For this reason, the United States Department of Agriculture cautions against planting the ficus in the home landscape unless its size will be contained by growing it as a hedge. The ficus tree is hardy to USDA zones 10b to 11.

Step 1

Choose a planting location for the ficus tree that receives six or more hours of sun per day. If you live in an area with hot summers, plant the tree where it will receive afternoon shade. Site the tree away from underground septic tanks, sewer lines and away from houses. Considering the eventual size of the tree, you may want to check for overhead power lines as well.

Step 2

Amend the soil by digging up a 4-foot by 4-foot square area to a depth of 12 inches. Smash the soil with the shovel or gardening fork until no large clumps remain. Pour a 3-inch layer of compost and a 3-inch layer of sand onto the soil and mix it in, to a depth of 8 inches. Level the planting area with a rake.

Step 3

Dig a hole the same depth as the pot in which the ficus tree is growing and three times the width. Use the gardening fork to scrape the sides and bottom of the hole. This will allow easier penetration of the tree's roots.

Step 4

Place the roots of the tree into the hole and fill the hole three-fourths of the way with soil. Fill the hole with water, allow it to drain and then continue filling it with soil. Use your feet to tamp the soil around the base of the ficus tree.

Step 5

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch that completely surrounds the tree but is two inches away from its bark. The mulch should extend to the tree's drip line.

Step 6

Water the ficus tree until the water puddles, and keep the soil moist until the ficus tree is well established. You will know the tree is established when there is new growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Gardening fork
  • Compost
  • Mulch


  • United States Department of Agriculture: Ficus Benjamina
  • Growing Ficus Trees Outdoors
  • "‬Landscape Management:‭ ‬Planting and Maintenance of Trees,‭ ‬Shrubs and Turfgrass‭;" ‬James R.‭ ‬Feucht and Jack D.‭ ‬Butler‭; ‬1988
Keywords: Plant ficus outdoors, outdoor ficus tree, grow ficus outdoors

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.