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How to Transplant a Ficus Tree

By Ma Wen Jie ; Updated September 21, 2017

The term "ficus" covers a wide range of trees, including many figs and fig-related trees. Ficus can become root-bound after a couple of years in the same pot. Re-potting or trimming the roots of your ficus will help keep it healthy. In some cases, your ficus may lose a few leaves after transplanting. This isn't anything to worry about. Your tree will come back to health over a month or two.

Remove your ficus from its pot. In some cases, you may need to loosen the root ball by slipping a hand shovel between the roots and the side of the pot.

Place the ficus on the ground and examine the root ball. If you are transplanting your ficus into a larger pot, lift the tree up and shake the soil out of the ball.

Comb the roots out with your fingers until you can see their length.

Trim the roots back to the maximum size of the new pot, if transplanting to a new pot. If you are re-planting in the same pot or in a similar sized pot, trim the roots by at least one-third to one-half. Use a pair of alcohol-sterilized pruning shears.

FIll the pot with a 2 inches of potting soil and put the ficus in the pot.

Fill the pot with potting soil. Use your hands to move the soil around the root structure.


Things You Will Need

  • Hand shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Larger pot (optional)
  • Potting soil


  • Be careful when working with your ficus. Although branches and roots appear sturdy, they can quickly snap off with no warning.

About the Author


Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.