Ficus plants, according to the University of Minnesota Extension, are varieties originally from India, south Asia and the Malaysian Archipelago, but have since been improved by cultivation practices. Ficus are able to withstand the brutality of growing indoors, making them ideal houseplants. With the right care, ficus trees will last several years with a minimum amount of care.
Ficus trees thrive best in a full sunlight environment, but also do well in medium to bright light. Plants that are shedding a lot of leaves, says Ron Smith of the North Dakota State University Extension, are not receiving enough light and may require closer placement to a window. Do not place a ficus tree too close to a drafty window during the winter time, because this will damage the tree.
Pruning a ficus is recommended to control the height and width of the plant. The University of Minnesota suggests making cuts just above a healthy node, where a leaf is growing, to encourage side growth. Cut back the tree to the desired size to train it properly.
Ficus plants require regular watering to survive. Water applied to the plant should come out of the bottom drain holes of the pot and be left to stand in the water for several minutes before the water is emptied. Water is best applied, says the University of Minnesota Extension, at room temperature or at a lukewarm temperature. Softened water is better than tap water, because the chemicals in some tap water will brown the edges of the leaves.
Fertilize the ficus tree when active growth begins in the spring, says Ron Smith of the North Dakota State University Extension. Apply a water-soluble complete fertilizer every three to four weeks, using half of the fertilizer's recommended label measurement. Apply fertilizer to soil that is slightly moist to prevent the runoff of fertilizer from the soil.
Spray the leaves of the ficus regularly with water and remove dust, because dust accumulation will prevent the plant from getting enough sunlight. Ficus plants do well with a regular shower, either outside in the rain or in a bathroom shower. Check the leaves regularly for pests such as aphids or small spiders. Remove pests using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol or with a light insecticide soap used according to the packaging instructions.