Year-round enjoyment of the ficus plant is easy when you opt to grow this delightful plant indoors. Commonly known as the fig, this plant is relatively simple to grow even for a beginning gardener, although it is imperative that you’re understanding of the tree’s needs for proper care and growth. In this article we’ll be looking at everything you need to care for this beautiful plant indoors.
Indoor Ficus Growing Tips for Success
- High humidity around the plant provides ideal growth conditions.
- Ficus like lots of bright sunlight and should be grown in a sunny location.
- Overly moist soil can damage the plant’s roots, so water only when the top of the soil has dried.
- Ficus plants grow rapidly when properly cared for, be prepared to repot every 1-2 years.
- Ficus plants do not adapt well to changing climates nor do they do well in the cold.
- Temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Celsius are most suitable for ficus tree growth.
The ficus family is a group of plants that has 800+ varieties, a handful of which are commonly grown indoors. Often referred to as figs, many popular plants like rubber plants or fiddle leaf figs are technically part of the ficus family.
In many cases, plants listed as a ficus will actually be a weeping fig. This article we be written with weeping figs in mind, but care will generally apply to other types of fig/ficus plants as well. Most plants in this family will do well with similar care, so you can apply what you learn here to any of the aforementioned plants.
While not as large as outdoor grown plants, indoor ficus can reach several feet tall. This is part of their beauty as they look almost like a miniature tree indoors. Plan for this, and make sure you have ample room for your plant to thrive.
On the reverse side, with proper care you can keep a ficus to a relatively small size. Many people actually grow small ficus bonsai trees which can fit on a desk. This requires slightly different care, and we have a full article on that where you can learn more.
Choosing Your Pot and Soil
When choosing a pot, make sure to get one that is several inches larger than the root ball of the plant. This ensures that there is enough room to allow for continued growth. Many ficuses will come in a container already, but this won’t last forever.
Ficuses grow quickly, so you should look to repot your plant within the first year or two. Afterwards, you should continue to repot every couple of years as your plant outgrows its container. Do so until the plant reaches the desired size.
In all cases, make sure that your chosen container has drainage holes. This allows excess water to escape, and helps prevent issues like root rot.
For soil, most commercial potting soil will work. You can also pick up ficus specific mixes that are guaranteed to have the proper nutrient value.
Most ficuses enjoy moderate to bright light for multiple hours per day. Place them in a window that gets bright but in-direct sunlight, a few feet back from south facing window is best but an east/west also work well. Make sure to turn the plant every few days to prevent it from “bending” towards the light.
If you notice that your plant is looking “leggy”, that is growing taller without filling out, then that is a key sign that it needs more light. This is the plant trying to get closer to the light because it is not getting enough.
In these cases, try to provide your plant with more light and potentially stake it to keep it upright. If you’re having trouble getting enough sunlight, then a grow light is a great way to help.
Water and Fertilizer
Most ficus varieties enjoy moist soil that isn’t overly wet or soaked. Before watering, check the top inch of the soil and only water when it is dry to the touch. Then, water slowly until you begin to see water leaking out of the drainage holes. This is a good sign that the soil is fully saturated. Watering after this is a waste, and doing so can lead to overwatering problems.
After watering, wait until the soil is dry before watering again. This will generally be every few days in the summer and up to a week in the winter as the plant’s growth slows down. Lastly, when watering, avoid getting too much on the leaves as this can damage then and lead to unsightly spots.
During the spring/summer, you can use a liquid based fertilizer diluted to half strength once every 1-2 months. During fall/winter you can stop fertilizing as the plant will go dormant and need less nutrients.
Temperature and Humidity
Ficuses are generally warmer weather plants, and therefore should be protected from cold and frosts. Exposing them to temperatures below 60°F is dangerous to the plant and should be avoided. You should also protect them from any drafts such as from a poorly insulated window or door.
Ficuses also enjoy relatively high humidity, and will do best in environments slightly more humid that a typical home. An easy way to help this is to gently mist them every other day. This adds extra moisture to the plant without risking overwatering. This becomes most important during the winter when air is naturally drier.
For more humidity boost tips check out our guide.
Growing Ficus indoors
Ficus are fairly easy plants to grow which is why they are so popular. Keeping up with watering is the primary concern, and even that is very low effort. With so many varieties to choose from, there’s bound to be one that fits you and your home.
Indoor Ficus FAQ
What Kind of Sunlight Do Ficus Like?
Ficus enjoy lots of bright but in-direct sunlight. You can even move them outdoors during the warmer months, but protect them from the most intense of the sun’s light as this can burn out the leaves.
Are Ficus Plants Easy To Care For?
Yes, they are some of the easiest and most popular houseplants to grow. They can require a bit of care when first moved to a new environment, but afterwards are quite hardy and easy to care for.
How Long Can a Ficus Live?
With proper care they can last upwards of 20 years. There are even some reports of some living much longer than this.