How to Transplant a Ficus Carica


Ficus carica, also known as a fig tree, grows best in warm climates. In the United States, these trees are grown in California, Texas and other southern states. The Ficus carica produces fruit, but you will only receive a good harvest if your tree is in a suitable location, which is in full sun and well-drained soil. If you find that your tree isn't doing so well, and you need to move it, or you have received a new ficus and wish to put it in the ground, there are a few transplanting guidelines you should follow to assure optimum growth and reduce the risk of transplant shock.

Step 1

Transplant your ficus in the summer. According to the California Rare Fruit Growers, if you transplant your ficus in the spring when new growth is appearing, you risk the possibility of damaging, or killing, the tree.

Step 2

Cut back up to 1/3 of the foliage on your Ficus carica. Texas A&M University Extension explains that cutting back the foliage, referred to as "heading back," helps reduce water loss from the above-ground part of the tree while the root system is trying to get re-established.

Step 3

Dig a hole in a location that receives full sun and has well-drained soil. The hole should be 2 to 4 inches deeper than the pot the ficus was in. If you are transplanting a tree you dug from another location, the hole should still be deeper and wider than the current root system. Make sure the location of the hole is not near underground pipes or foundations, as the ficus' root system can cause damage as it grows.

Step 4

Pour 2 inches of water into the hole and let it soak into the ground. In the meantime, if you are removing a ficus from a pot, gently tip the pot on its side, tap the outside of the pot to loosen any dirt and the root ball, and slide the tree out of the pot. If you are transplanting a ficus that is currently in the ground, dig it up carefully. You should begin digging at least 12 inches beyond where you believe the root system to be and take care to not damage the roots when digging up the tree. If the root system is larger than you expected, adjust the size of the new hole at this time.

Step 5

Loosen the root ball or root system, and remove any dried up roots.

Step 6

Set the ficus in the new location, spreading the roots out as much as possible.

Step 7

Fill the hole in with dirt, and be sure to pack the soil down hard around the root system.

Step 8

Water once more if the area in which you live is experiencing a dry season. If after watering you notice that the dirt has fallen down into the hole, add more dirt and pack down once more.

Step 9

Mulch the soil at the bottom of the tree with a mulch of your choice. This will help the soil maintain some moisture.

Tips and Warnings

  • A frost or freeze will severely damage a Ficus carica. If your growing region is expecting cold temperatures, take measures to protect your tree from damage, such as covering it with blankets and adding extra mulch over the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water


  • California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.: Fig Fruit Facts
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Home Fruit Production: Figs
  • Ficus Trees Information: Growing Ficus Trees
Keywords: transplanting Ficus Carica, how to treansplant Ficus, transplanting fig trees

About this Author

A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.