Ficus Potting Instructions


Ficus is a genus of trees popular for use as indoor plants. Although sub-tropical in nature, they often grow well as potted plants outdoors in frost-free climates at USDA hardiness zones 8 and higher. Ficus trees require nutrient-rich soil that can hold some moisture but still drain well, regular irrigation, and light feeding during their active growth periods. Choose a pot large enough to accommodate several years of growth so that annual re-potting will not be necessary to prevent excessively bound roots.

Step 1

Select a pot roughly twice the size of your ficus root ball, or larger if desired. Ensure that there are multiple drainage holes at the bottom of the pot to prevent water logging and root rot.

Step 2

Fill the pot roughly one-third to one-half of the way up with fresh potting soil. Slide the ficus from its nursery container and set on top of the soil. Add or subtract soil from below the ficus root ball so that the top of the ficus root mass rests roughly 1 inch to 2 inches below the lip of the pot, creating a void for watering.

Step 3

Incorporate a dose of complete, slow release fertilizer into the remaining potting soil, following the directions on the container. Look for a product with a guaranteed analysis of 20-20-20 or similar nutrient ratio.

Step 4

Fill around the root mass with the potting soil, which has been amended with fertilizer, by pressing down the sides to fill the pot and prevent air pockets.

Step 5

Water the ficus and surrounding soil until drenched and water runs out the drainage holes. Add more soil as it settles, if needed.

Step 6

Keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet until the tree is established in the pot. Thereafter, allow just the top one-half inch to 1 inch of soil to become dry before watering deeply again.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never incorporate fast-release fertilizer into the planting soil as this can burn the roots. Use only gentle, slow release formulations in the manner recommended by the manufacturer.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot twice the size of root ball
  • Potting soil
  • Complete slow release fertilizer
  • Water


  • University of Minnesota: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs and Other Friendly Ficus
  • University of North Dakota: Questions on Ficus
Keywords: potting ficus trees, container grown ficus, potted ficus trees

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.