How to Care for a Ficus Plant


Ficus plants are popular indoor plants, but they can be quite finicky. They can shed, turn yellow and generally make you look like a bad plant owner for what may seem like little reason. But taking care of a ficus is not as hard as it seems. Once you become familiar with its needs, you can keep your ficus healthy and happy.

Step 1

Know when to water your ficus. Stick your finger 1 to 2 inches deep into the soil. If the top 2 inches of the soil are dry, water your ficus (but not before then). Yellow leaves on your ficus mean that it is being over-watered.

Step 2

Keep your ficus moist. Mist your ficus at least twice a day. To create additional humidity and prevent root rot, place your ficus on a plant tray filled with water. This will collect excess water from watering to keep it from pooling around the roots. And when it evaporates it will provide additional humidity for the plant.

Step 3

Provide your ficus with the right kind and amount of light. Ficus make great indoor plants because they grow well under filtered, artificial light. The light should be bright enough to cast a shadow on the wall behind the plant. If by a window, it can tolerate the direct sunlight in the early morning or late afternoon but should not be exposed to direct light for most of the day.

Step 4

Keep the temperature consistent. Ficus enjoy temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees F but don't like sudden changes in temperature. Your ficus should not be placed near a vent or large window where it is likely to experience sudden temperature changes or catch a draft.

Step 5

Fertilizer your ficus if it needs it. Indoor, potted ficus don't need frequent fertilization. Dull-looking leaves are a sign that a ficus needs fertilization. In that case, give your ficus a liquid fertilizer, once a month, until its luster returns.

Step 6

Transplant your ficus. A healthy ficus has an extensive root system. Potted ficus should be replanted every 1 to 2 years depending on how much it has grown during that time. Its next pot should be at least 2 inches larger in diameter than the one before it. If you have just purchased your ficus from a nursery, it will likely need to be replanted immediately.

Step 7

Dust your ficus. This will keep its pores clean and allow it to absorb humidity. Do not use wax-based cleansers.

Step 8

Prune your ficus. Pick up fallen leaves and remove any yellow or yellowing leaves that are still on the plant. Prune any dead or dry twigs. This helps light to penetrate to the inside foliage, to promote growth on the inside.

Step 9

Remain consistent. Ficus do not like change and they will let you know it by shedding their leaves. Although this is not necessarily a sign of a serious problem, it can be unsightly. Prevent it by watering it at regular intervals, keeping its lighting and temperature consistent and moving it as infrequently as possible.


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Ficus
Keywords: care for ficus, water ficus, shed ficus

About this Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.