How to Grow and Care for Your Ficus Tree

Reviewed by Sabrina Lopez | September 1, 2022

Repotting plants at home. Ficus Lyrata tree and zamioculcas plan

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The ever-popular houseplant, Ficus benjamina has become a beloved ornamental and indoor plant worldwide. Its hardiness makes it an ideal plant to cultivate for beginners and experienced growers alike. There are many varieties of the ficus tree, all of which can easily thrive in most indoor spaces.

Courtesy Amazon

Wekiva Foliage Ficus Benjamina Tree


This lush ficus tree can grow up to 50 inches tall and is a great addition to any office space, greenery, or living room. It is easy to care for and can respond well even in poor growing conditions. This Ficus Benjamina tree also comes in a 10-inch pot.

$129.97 On Amazon


Fast Facts on Ficus Trees

Common nameWeeping fig, ficus tree, benjamin fig

Plant family


Native climate

Subtropical and tropical; native to Asia and Australia

Light level

Bright, indirect sunlight

Average mature height (indoor)

3 to 6 feet

Soil type

Soil-based potting mix, well-draining, fertile

Frequency of watering

About once per week


Bad for people with latex allergies; sap is toxic to pets

Ideal humidity level

60% to 80%

Common variations

Ficus lyrata, Ficus elastica, Ficus Audrey, Ficus starlight

Common Types of Ficus Trees

You will find the following common types of ficus trees for sale:

Ficus trees are well-known air purifiers. Like any indoor plant, they remove carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, but certain types of ficus plants, such as the rubber tree, are particularly effective at filtering toxins. NASA also found ficus trees were proficient in removing formaldehyde and other chemicals from the surrounding air during lab tests.

Be mindful that each type of ficus tree has poisonous sap that is toxic to pets. In addition, a ficus may cause a stuffy nose or other cold-like symptoms if you have a latex allergy.


You can make your space even more visually appealing by blending ficus cultivars. These specially bred Ficus benjamina subtypes have unique colorations, featuring green and white variegated leaves or leaves with varying shades of green. Some common cultivars include Naomi, Exotica, Audrey, and Golden King.


How to Grow a Ficus Tree Indoors

Ficus trees are tropical plants that enjoy high humidity and occasional misting. Otherwise, these popular houseplants are relatively low maintenance and can tolerate indoor light conditions well.

Beware of Sap

Ficus trees produce sap that, if touched directly, can cause an allergic reaction and skin irritation. If you notice your plant “sweating,” you can temporarily place newspapers under the ficus to catch the dripping sap. If consumed, this sap is toxic to pets, so keep your furry friends far away from your ficus tree


Fertilize your ficus tree monthly during the spring and summer growing seasons. Follow the instructions on your fertilizer package and use an 8-8-8 fertilizer, which is a fertilizer containing 8% nitrogen, 8% potassium, and 8% phosphorus by weight.


Ficus trees do best when exposed to low light throughout the day. You can let your ficus enjoy short bursts of direct sunlight, but be sure not to leave it in the sun for hours at a time. They love bright light but need it in small, indirect doses.


Luckily, ficuses do not outgrow their containers. They can reach immense heights naturally, but only if you repot them into a larger container. Therefore, you must keep your ficus healthy by controlling its growth through pruning.

To keep your ficus healthy, you should invest in a pair of sharp pruning shears and prune off unhealthy leaves or stems. Pruning will also stimulate the growth of new leaves.


Ficus trees need well-draining potting soil and pots with adequate draining holes. Their growing season is spring and summer, so your ficus must have moist soil during the warmer months. The best type of soil for a ficus tree is fertile potting soil with lots of nutrients.


Ficus trees do best in consistent temperatures. Don’t expose them to drafts or dramatic temperature swings. They need to be kept in temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer—when it comes to ficus trees, the higher the temperature, the better. Do not expose your ficus plant to temperatures cooler than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, unless you live in a state such as Florida or Hawaii. 


You will need to water your ficus more often in the warmer months than in the wintertime because the soil will dry out faster as the plant grows and expands. Watering once per week should suffice.

Make sure you moisten all of the soil in the pot and let it drain well before placing your ficus back in the living room or bathroom. You can test the soil moisture by inserting your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle. If the soil is bone-dry, it’s time to water.


How to Repot Your Ficus Tree

Although ficuses don’t mind being root-bound, they should be repotted at least every three years, as they will continue to grow very slowly. To repot your ficus, use the following steps:

  1. Purchase a new pot a few inches in diameter larger than the previous pot.
  2. Carefully remove the ficus from its current pot. Depending on its size, you may need an assistant. Be sure to wear gloves to avoid direct contact with the sap, and lift it from its current pot. Carefully gather the root ball, keeping it intact.

Place the root ball into its new pot and fill that pot with fresh, fertile potting soil. Make sure the pot can drain well.


Common Issues with Ficus Trees

Leaf Drop

Ficus trees are quick to drop their glossy leaves. Leaf drop can happen for various reasons, including overwatering, underwatering, pest infestation, temperature swings, and repotting. While ficus leaf drop may look startling, it is not likely to cause long-term damage to this hardy indoor tree

Leaf Spots or Discoloration

Leaf spots or discoloration can indicate insect infestation or fungal infection. Remove discolored leaves from your ficus plant during pruning and monitor the plant’s looks over time. 


Aphids and spider mites are common pests that may attack your ficus. Spider mites eagerly feed on the sap, and aphids cause the leaves to curl and become yellow. You can use a neem oil solution to get rid of these pests, but if the problem gets out of control, it’s time to call a pest control company.


Our Recommendation

Ficus benjamina and its brethren make excellent houseplants, providing lush green beauty and air purification. They only need minimal maintenance, and they will be around for years to come in exchange for the care you give them. While these plants aren’t hard to care for, you should keep them away from pets.


Ficus Tree FAQ

How long does a ficus tree live?

With proper care and maintenance, ficus trees can live for decades. Your ficus will likely outlive all the other potted plants in your home.

Are ficus trees indoor or outdoor plants?

Ficus trees are tropical plants but do well in indoor lighting conditions. Because they need indirect light, they do not tolerate full, direct sun very well. If you live in an area with high humidity, your ficus will enjoy the indoor humidity levels. If you live in an arid, dry area, you may need to mist your ficus tree to keep it moist and happy.

What kind of fertilizer do ficus trees like?

You should fertilize your ficus in the spring and summer about once per month, and in the fall and winter months, you can slow down to once every other month. Ficus frees love balanced, all-purpose fertilizer, such as 8-8-8 fertilizer. This fertilizer blends 8% nitrogen, 8% potassium, and 8% phosphorus by weight.