How to Care for an Indoor Ficus


Ficus benjamina, also called weeping fig, is the most popular indoor tree. It is acclimatized for indoor use in the United States, Canada and Europe. The ficus is a tough plant with glossy, leathery leaves. It thrives in bright, filtered light and temperatures above 55 degrees F. This upright grower is low maintenance, but it does require some leaf cleanup.

Step 1

Mix together equal parts of potting soil, peat moss, shredded bark and sand. Place your ficus in a 10-inch plant pot, and pack soil mix around the root ball. Plant the ficus at the same depth that it was growing.

Step 2

Pour lukewarm water in the top of the pot until it runs out the bottom. Let the ficus drain for 5 minutes, then remove the excess water. Water the ficus whenever the top of the soil feels dry. The ficus watering rule is: the more light the ficus receives, the more water it needs; the less light the plant receives, the less water it needs.

Step 3

Wipe the leaves every 2 to 4 weeks with a damp cloth to keep them dust-free. It also removes any insect pests.

Step 4

Feed the ficus with 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks starting in the spring. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength. Gradually reduce the fertilizing schedule in autumn. Do not feed the ficus during the winter while the plant is dormant.

Step 5

Prune the ficus each spring with pruning shears to control the size and encourage branching. Cut the stems just above a node, which is where a leaf is attached to the stem, or make the cut where another stem branches off.

Step 6

Repot the ficus when it becomes root-bound. A plant pot full of roots will interfere with watering, and the ficus will not absorb enough water. Plant the ficus in a pot 4 to 6 inches larger than its current container.

Tips and Warnings

  • Ficus lose leaves when they are over-watered, under-watered or adapting to change. A ficus can lose up to 20 percent of its leaves when moved from one room to another. Ficus trees do not like any type of change. If you are making a change to the ficus's environment, make it slowly to minimize leaf loss.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Shredded bark
  • Sand
  • Plant pot
  • Ficus plant
  • Rag
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Minnesota Master Gardeners: Ficus
  • Care Tips
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs, and Other Friendly Ficus
Keywords: indoor ficus care, weeping fig care, growing ficus houseplant

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.