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How to Care for an Indoor Ficus Tree

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ficus virens tree foliage.

The ficus tree, a relative of the fig tree, is a low-maintenance, tropical tree that provides glossy green leaves in profusion on arching stems atop a straight, pale taupe-gray trunk. Ficus trees living indoors require bright, indirect light, even moisture and light fertilizing, but not much else. They do not need to be pruned when healthy and are not highly attractive to pests.

Provide your ficus tree with bright, indirect light daily. Rotate the position of a ficus tree that is near a window to keep light exposure, leaf coloration and growth even.

Water your ficus regularly so that the soil feels evenly moist an inch below the surface. Do not let the soil dry out below this level, because drought can cause leaves to shrivel and drop. Leaves that yellow without shriveling could indicate overwatering.

Fertilize your ficus once a month with a general-purpose, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer diluted in water. Use half of the recommended dose of fertilizer to a full ratio of water and apply over the soil and roots only.

Groom your ficus lightly every month or so when watering. Look for dead, diseased or dying branches or leaves stuck in the canopy and pull them out or trim them with pruning shears. Remove fallen leaves. Add or top off any mulch to keep the soil from being disturbed or drying out.

Once a year, place your ficus tree under a gently flowing, tepid shower to rinse dust off the leaves. Jiggle the stem slightly to shake off the excess water before placing the tree back in its usual position.


Things You Will Need

  • Mulch
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • A ficus can tolerate some direct light if it is restricted to the less intense morning and late afternoon sunlight.