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Ficus Tree Dangers

By Isabel Prontes ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ficus tree
ficus image by Unclesam from Fotolia.com

Ficus trees are popular indoor houseplants that are part of the fig genus. Hundreds of species of ficus trees are in existence, although few are cultivated. Ficus trees originate in the tropics (Africa, South America and Asia). These topiary trees are appreciated for their glossy, shiny leaves, hanging roots and gently drooping branchlets. However, as with most houseplants, some possible dangers are often associated with owning ficus trees.


Centipedes are brown insects with many legs that are commonly seen as a pest to ficus trees. Centipedes can appear on ficus trees if the tree was planted in soil that wasn't sterilized beforehand. When these creatures appear on ficus trees, one way to eliminate them is by taking the plant outdoors, dumping all of the soil out, rinsing the root system thoroughly and finally replanting it in sterilized, brand-new soil. The tree pot must be cleansed as well.

Leaf Drop

Leaf drop is one of the most common afflictions that occurs with ficus trees. This danger usually comes about due to temperature change. If a ficus tree starts to experience this drop, it is advised to change its locale if possible (for example, move it from inside to the patio, or the other way around). Leaf drop often happens in the autumn when people turn the heat on in their residences. Ficus trees thrive in stable humidity and temperature.


Another potential danger of ficus trees is sap oozing. When a ficus tree starts to ooze out sap, this usually is caused by sucking pests such as mealy bugs and scales. These bugs resemble little clusters of cotton, and scales look like black or white bumps on the tree's body and stem. Horticultural oils or fungicides can generally be used to treat the sap.

Leaf Spot Fungus

Leaf spot fungus is a possible ficus tree problem. This fungus is also known as cercospora spp, and resembles small dark dots behind the tree's leaves. Apart from the dots developing, the leaves might also turn yellowish and fall off entirely. The disease leaves should be picked off of the ficus tree and sprayed with a fungicide. The leaves must not be misted afterward.