How to Care for a Trailing Ficus

Overview

The trailing ficus (Ficus sagittata) is a member of the fig family. Like its better-known cousin F. elastica, this plant features attractive, sometimes variegated foliage, and is commonly grown as a houseplant. The trailing ficus has long, drooping branches covered with small, delicate leaves and looks attractive when grown in a hanging basket. Care requirements for this plant are similar to other ficus species, according to Bonsai Clubs International, other than it is more sensitive to under-watering and over-watering due to its 2 to 3-inch-long, paper-thin leaves.

Step 1

Plant your trailing ficus in well-draining soil. Commercial potting soil that includes peat moss and organic matter is a good choice. Use a container that has a drainage hole and a water-catch tray.

Step 2

Set the plant in a location where it will receive bright but indirect sunlight, such as near a curtained or south-facing window. Trailing ficus plants need to be exposed to at least six hours of sunlight each day.

Step 3

Water carefully. The key is consistency, according to the University of Illinois Extension. Soil that alternates between very wet and very dry will fool the plant into thinking that it is entering periods of drought, which will cause it to drop its leaves. Keep the soil barely moist at all times. Other ficus plants can dry out a bit between each watering because they have thick leaves, but not so the trailing ficus.

Step 4

Feed your trailing ficus every two weeks during the growing season (spring through summer) with a half-dose of fertilizer formulated for indoor foliage plants. Follow directions for application as suggested on the label for the size of your plant. Limit feedings to once a month in the winter.

Step 5

Wipe the leaves occasionally with a damp rag, rinse the plant with a hose. This will rid the foliage of dust and any insect pests, such as the common spider mite, that might be hiding under the leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Container with drainage holes
  • Commercial potting soil including peat moss and organic matter
  • Fertilizer formulated for houseplants
  • Damp rag

References

  • Bonsai Growers International: Ficus sp.
  • University of Illinois Extension: Ficus
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Gods and Monsters - The Genus Ficus
Keywords: ficus sagitata variegata, growing trailing ficus, care of ficus

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.