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How to Grow and Care for Ficus Trees

These indoor trees can double as a statement-making interior design element.

<p>Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/Getty Images</p>

Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/Getty Images

Ficus trees, also known as fig trees, are popularly grown as houseplants to add height and make a simple yet impactful design statement. Native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean, ficus trees grow in tropical and subtropical climates—and when grown indoors, they can revive dull corners of your home with their lush green appearance. Ficus trees can grow to about 10 feet indoors, so be sure you have room for these standout houseplants before committing to one. Learn how to keep your ficus tree happy and healthy with all of our tips below.

Related: 7 Potted Trees You Can Grow Indoors to Enhance Your Space

Ficus Tree Care Tips

Ficus trees are relatively low maintenance. However, they are sensitive to changes in their environment, temperature, and light exposure. So, you may experience some leaf fallout after initially bringing one of these plants into your home, or after moving its location in your space. But, once you have the plant established it should be pretty steady with the right basic care.

Light

Ficus trees prefer bright, indirect light, which mimics the filtered sunlight they receive in the wild. The best way to provide this light is through a south- or east-facing window. But be careful not to place the plant right by this window as this light can be too intense and can scorch the leaves.

Soil and Water

Ficus trees prefer nutrient-rich fertile potting soil. Keep the soil comfortably moist, but not soaked. Water your focus tree when the first two inches of soil is dry, maintaining a consistent watering routine in the summer, but reducing the watering during the winter months.

Temperature and Humidity

Ficus trees prefer warmer temperatures, between 60 to 80 F. Keep your ficus tree away from drafts or anywhere they'll experience drastic temperature changes.

As a tropical plant, ficus trees enjoy a good amount of humidity. While they'll do fine in the average humidity of most homes, regular misting can help the plant thrive.

Common Pests and Problems

Leaf drop is the most common issue with ficus trees, and, as mentioned above, it often happens after the plant's environment has changed. After moving the plant, be sure to keep up with proper consistent care to make sure the plant stays strong and healthy through the transformation phase.

Mealybugs, thrips, and scales are common pests for ficus trees. However, you can easily treat these annoyances by cleaning the leaves and spraying them with neem oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are ficus trees poisonous to cats and dogs?

Ficus can be mildly dangerous for pets. When ingested, the sap from the tree can cause diarrhea and vomiting, and it can be irritating when in contact with pets' skin.

How long do ficus trees live?

When grown as a houseplant, ficus trees can live for about 20 years. Outdoor ficus trees, on the other hand, can last much longer—more than 100 years—when planted in their natural climate.

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