Ficus Care Tips

With its glossy, dark green foliage and graceful branches, ficus is a popular indoor plant. Unfortunately, ficus can be finicky, and will drop its leaves in response to underwatering, overwatering, or a change in environment. While some leaf drop is normal even for a healthy ficus plant, proper care can minimize the problem and keep your ficus healthy for many years.

Light and Heat

Place your ficus where it will be exposed to as much light as possible. The plant will benefit from being placed near a sunny window during the winter, but avoid hot afternoon sunlight during the warmer seasons. Keep the ficus in a moderately warm room, about 70 degrees F. Nighttime temperatures should be about 10 degrees cooler.

Watering a Ficus

Touch the soil in two places to feel for dryness before watering the ficus, as the appearance of the soil may be misleading, according to Colorado State University Extension. Poke your finger about 2 inches into the soil, and water the plant immediately if you feel dry soil. Water the ficus with room-temperature water, and allow the water to drain through the drainage hole. Pour out any water that remains in the saucer. Decrease watering slightly during periods of lower light.

Fertiilzing a Ficus

Fertiize ficus every two to three weeks, using a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer for indoor plants applied according to the directions on the fertilizer package. Decrease the solution to half strength during the winter months, and fertilize only once every month.

Moving Outdoors

Place your ficus outdoors during the warmer months if possible, as the plant will benefit from humidity, light, fresh air and rain. Locate the plant in a shady location. Be sure to bring the ficus back indoors when the temperatures drop to 50 degrees at night.

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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.