The ficus is a low-maintenance, durable indoor plant. Its origins in India, Southeast Asia and Malaysia make it durable in various climate conditions. The ficus is well adapted for indoor use and is beautifully simple with its glossy leaves and twisting trunk. The ficus does require a stable environment to survive.
Ficus trees prefer full sunlight but will grow in areas with bright to medium-bright light. Older ficus cultivars will survive with little light at all. The ficus requires occasional turning to prevent it from leaning toward windows with low light. Dust is best cleaned off the leaves with a light misting to improve sun absorption.
Ficus trees often lose leaves due to changes in the environment. Newly planted ficus are often shocked by the transition and will lose their lower leaves. Erratic watering practices, says Jennifer Schultz Nelson of the University of Illinois, will also cause leaf drop, as will changes in light exposure.
Ficus trees need thorough watering. Water the plant until water escapes from the bottom of the pot recommends the University Minnesota. Drain the bottom plate of the pot to prevent standing water. Room temperature or lukewarm water is best. Water whenever the soil feels dry.
Fertilize the ficus during its growing season every three to four weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer. Apply according to the packaging instructions. Fertilizer is not needed as often during the autumn, and is not needed at all during the winter. If using grow lights, fertilization may be required year round.
Ficus will grow large in the right environment. Pruning is necessary in some cases to keep the ficus from growing too large. Cutting from the top of the plant trains its height. Cutting branches back on the tree to a leaf node, making a cut at a 45-degree angle, prevents disease. Prune dead branches or diseased branches to prevent spreading.