How to Care for Indoor Ficus Trees

Indoor Ficus benjamina tree. image by KenPei/


Ficus trees are semi-tropical evergreens that are strong performers that require little maintenance. Ficus trees thrive indoors when provided bright indirect light, even moisture and regular doses of fertilizer. Pruning is not required, but a little light grooming and dusting once or twice a year will help keep your tree looking neat and tidy.

Step 1

Provide bright, indirect light daily for your ficus tree. Rotate the tree regularly so that different facades face the sunlight source to ensure even foliage and straight trunk growth. Some direct sunlight in the morning and late afternoon can be good if you mitigate the extreme light of the direct midday sun.

Step 2

Water your ficus tree regularly so the soil is always evenly moist to the touch but not soaking wet, as rot and mildew can become a problem. If the leaves are shriveling or turning brown, more water may be needed. If the leaves are yellowing and dropping, check the soil to make sure it is not too wet or that the roots are not sitting in water.

Step 3

Feed your ficus tree once per month from spring through fall with a good-quality houseplant fertilizer diluted in water. Follow label directions carefully and err on the side of under-fertilizing as over-fertilizing can damage the roots and foliage. Pause feeding in the winter to allow the tree and roots to rest.

Step 4

Groom and maintenance-prune your ficus tree every few months by pulling brown or damaged leaves caught in the canopy and lifting any leaves that have fallen onto the soil. Cut away any dead or broken branches that you find. Occasionally wipe down the leaves of the tree to clear off any dust that has settled. Once a year, place your tree under a gentle shower flowing with tepid water to wash the leaves clean. Shake the trunk to throw off excess water from the leaves and place the tree back in its usual growing location.

Step 5

Re-pot your ficus tree every 2 years in a new pot at least 3 inches larger in diameter. Use fresh, good-quality bagged potting soil and plant the tree at the same level in soil, leaving a gap between the top of the soil and the lip of the pot to serve as a catch for watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • General-purpose fertilizer
  • Shower
  • Pot
  • Potting mix


  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Illinois
Keywords: ficus tree, indoor house plant, care grow maintenance water

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Photo by: KenPei/