x
 
 
Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Grow a Ficus Tree Outdoors

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ficus Benjamina.

Growing a ficus tree outdoors in the warm subtropical and tropical regions of the United States is quite easy. In fact, they will probably grow better and bigger than you ever expected. Some of the 800 species of ficus can reach a height of 50 feet and have a width of almost the same size. The one problem with growing ficus trees outdoors is the fact their root systems can interfere with septic systems, foundations of houses and crack concrete walkways.

Consider where you will be planting your ficus tree and all the objects and structures around it that its roots can interfere with. Choose an area to place the tree in the ground that is not close to your house, septic system or walkways or driveways. Allow enough space so the roots will not damage existing structures or systems.

Select an area where the ficus tree can grow to its full size and not interfere with roofs or power lines. Since they can grow to be quite large, giving them enough space is mandatory.

Plant your ficus in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day for optimum growth. They will tolerate partial shade conditions, though the leaves might not be as vibrant as ones growing in sunny conditions.

Plant your ficus in soil that is well-draining. There is no need to amend the soil where you will be planting your ficus because they are tolerant to a wide range of soil conditions.

Water your ficus tree once per week until it has established itself. You can then cut back to watering the tree once every couple of weeks. If the leaves begin to turn yellow and start to fall from the tree, give the ficus tree more water.

Prune your ficus tree only if you desire to keep the tree at a certain height such as when you are growing a hedge. Other than that, ficus trees do not need to be pruned other than to control their size and shape.

Fertilize your ficus tree only if you desire for it to grow larger, quicker. They are relatively slow growers when first planted. Use an all-purpose granular fertilizer in the spring. If your soil is basically sandy with no organic matter in it, fertilizing the tree is recommended.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

Tip

  • Mealy bugs and scale are the largest pest problems from which a ficus can suffer. As soon as you notice the problem, treat the affected ficus tree with an insecticide designed specifically for the insect and the tree.

About the Author

 

For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.