How to Grow a Ficus Tree

Overview

The ficus, or Ficus Benjamina, is most often an indoor plant. It can grow outdoors in mild locations, but its widespread rooting system can push out other trees and plants, killing them. These aggressive roots can cause cracks in walkways and building foundations. If you decide to plant your ficus outdoors, place it in a large pot and then into the ground. This will contain the roots. Your tree won't grow as large as it would otherwise, but you'll still be able to enjoy the ficus -- and other landscaping plants.

Step 1

Select a plant container that allows your ficus tree room for growth. This will depend on the current size of your tree. Allow a good 5 inches all the way around the current pot size. If the original pot is 8 inches across, for example, choose an 18- or 20-inch container. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom.

Step 2

Place a 1-inch layer of stones or gravel at the bottom of the new container. Pour enough soil over the stones so the ficus soil and roots will reach within an inch from the top of the new pot. Remove the plant from its old pot and place it on top of the soil.

Step 3

Pour additional soil around the sides of the root system soil. Press down onto the new soil with your fingers to compact it and eliminate air pockets.

Step 4

Water your ficus thoroughly, until the water trickles out the bottom of the pot. From then on, check the soil with your finger for dryness, approximately 1 inch down. When it's dry, water again. During winter months, however, offer just enough water to keep the plant moist.

Step 5

Place your tree where it will get sunlight and warmth.

Step 6

Fertilize your tree once a month. If the leaves have dropped, which is common with any type of change, wait until they have reappeared to start fertilizing. Use a general-purpose fertilizer. A houseplant fertilizer is perfect.

Step 7

Prune your tree in the spring, when it needs shaping or grows too large. Use a sharp garden clipper to make sharp, even cuts. Cut close to the top of a new leaf bud. Ripping and pulling, while cutting, can induce disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting container
  • Stones
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Garden clipper (optional)

References

  • Walter Reeves: Houseplants, Ficus
  • Plant-care.com: Ficus Tree -- Pruning Time
  • Ficus Tree: Ficus Benjamina
Keywords: ficus care, ficus tree, ficus benjamina