For many people, Indoor Ficus plants are the perfect plant to have in their home. They come with a single trunk and spreading canopy that is reminiscent of typical tree growth patterns. However, for all of its popularity, there are some key details about caring for this specific type of houseplant you might not know- specifically how finicky it can be! Luckily though, if you learn what to do thoroughly, your plants will last years longer than they would otherwise.
About Indoor Ficus Plants
Houseplants with the Ficus genus are popular because they maintain their tree-like shape regardless of size. They’re excellent for bonsais or as house plants in larger spaces and can come from many different species like rubber trees and fig fruit trees. The plant that most people refer to simply as a Ficus has the official name weeping fig (Ficus Benjamina).
Ficus leaves grow in either dark green coloration or even more decorative colors such as white with stripes. Over the past few years, some creative gardeners and nurseries have been taking advantage of the plant’s flexibility by twisting them into various shapes, such as braids or lattice structures.
Caring for Indoor Ficus Plants
Gardeners often refer to Ficus trees as the “office plant,” because they’re so easy to take care of. They enjoy bright indirect light, although variegated types can also survive in medium light conditions. Be aware that bright direct sunlight will result in scalding and leaf loss for these plants. Ficus trees also cannot tolerate low temperatures or drafts – make sure you keep them in an area where they won’t experience cold air currents from windows or doors. Air temperatures above 60°F (16°C) are ok, but above 70°F (21°C) is even better.
Humidity and Watering
Ficus trees require a fairly high level of humidity to grow. This makes them an excellent plant choice if you’re looking to make your home feel more like the tropics without having to move! To keep these plants healthy, it’s important that they have enough water – but not too much, so their roots don’t become overly wet. Check the top of the soil before watering. If it’s moist, then let this fun green friend go another day with no need for extra pampering. However, if the soil is dry, it needs a good drink.
One way to increase the humidity around indoor Ficus plants is through regular misting. If you are going on a long vacation, try filling up trays of pebbles with water and placing them underneath your plant. This way their roots retain moisture while they are left alone.
Fertilizing Ficus Plants
The Ficus is a rapidly growing plant that needs supplemental nutrients to thrive. Fertilize your plant monthly during the spring and summer, reduce fertilization to every other month in fall or winter so it can slow down its growth for this period.
Common Indoor Ficus Plant Problems
The most common issue with Ficus plants is dropping leaves. It’s natural for a leaf to fall off now and then, but if it’s happening a lot, you may have a problem. The loss of leaves by your beloved plant can be frustrating. But this could simply mean they are experiencing stress.
There are many reasons for the shedding of foliage from plants including underwatering, overwatering, or not enough light and/or humidity in their environment. Frequent relocation can also trigger stress, as can pests. If it seems like something big has happened to stress your Ficus, inspect the plant to make sure there are no obvious problems, like pests or dry soil. If all looks good, try pruning some new growths, which will encourage more branching. And leave your Ficus plant in one spot for as long as you can.
If you notice bugs, such as spider mites, scale, or mealybugs, these are probably a cause of the plant’s stress as much as the result of stress. Healthy Ficus plants don’t typically have insect issues. To get rid of these and other pest issues, use neem oil as directed on the product, and your plant should be in good shape.
Popular Indoor Ficus Plant Varieties
Fiddle Leaf Fig
The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is one of the most popular types of indoor Ficus plants. It originates from Madagascar. People have cultivated it for its heart-shaped, deep green leaves that can grow to be up to a foot long. The Fiddle Leaf fig will thrive in indirect sunlight or even partial shade indoors. But it does need to maintain moist (but not soggy) soil, so make sure you never let the soil dry out completely.
Ficus Alii Plant
The Ficus Alii plant, native to India and China, is another well-known variety of the Ficus genus. The leaves on this type of indoor Ficus plant are long, thin, dark green, and glossy. This type of indoor Ficus plant can grow 6 to 8 feet tall in the right conditions; when they’re grown indoors and properly pruned, it’s typical for them to reach heights between one and three feet.
Ficus Ginseng is a popular indoor Ficus plant variety. Originating from parts of Asia and Africa, it has a short and wide shape with dark green leaves and a trunk that resembles a ginseng root. This variety is a slow grower and does best in indirect sunlight.
Ficus Ginseng should be watered regularly, but not too often as it can cause the leaves to droop or wilt. Fertilize this plant once every two months with a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength.
Creeping figs are a type of Ficus plant that is native to East Asia. They are characterized by small leaves and rapid growth. This type of indoor Ficus plant is often used in hanging baskets. They thrive off moisture and will do well when misted with water daily. The best time to trim the creeping fig is during its dormancy period between November and February.
The African fig is native to tropical parts of eastern and southern Africa. This type of Ficus does well indoors and thrives off bright indirect light. They are happy near windowsills during the day, as long as they’re not close to direct sunlight, which can cause burnt leaves. African figs are great in well-lit kitchens and need to be in well-draining soil and pot with drainage holes, to avoid root rot.
Native to India and Pakistan, these indoor Ficus plants are known for their large, oval leaves which provide beautiful patterns. The Bengal fig needs moist soil but must be dry before watering again – this type does not tolerate soggy soils well at all. These plants can grow up to 8 feet tall unless pruned regularly. So, be sure you have the room for this indoor Ficus before bringing one home. The Bengal Fig is also known for its ability to clean your home’s air.
The weeping fig is the type of indoor Ficus plant that will grow long, thin branches with fairly small leaves. They are native to Australia and Southeast Asia and will grow well in a pot indoors. These types do well with indirect sunlight and require regular watering; they should not be given too much water at once or their leaves may start drooping as this variety does not like soggy soil either.
Weeping Fig plants need fertilizer every two months at half strength during warm periods (but less often during colder periods). This tree-like plant must have deep pots for its roots.
The origins of Ficus Audrey come from the types of Ficus trees found in southern China. It was first discovered by a French missionary and botanist known as Jean-Marie Delaval, who lived in Asia during the late 19th century.
Ficus Audrey is a very popular indoor Ficus plant. It has large, dark green leaves with curves or slight droops at its edges, and it grows well in medium light conditions. The types of fertilizer used on this variety should include an acidic type like fish emulsion or other organic types with ammonium sulfate or magnesium sulfate to ensure the soil remains alkaline (a pH between about six and seven).
FAQs for Indoor Ficus Plants
Most Ficus plants are susceptible to insect pests, such as scales and spider mites. When indoor trees lose leaves, one of these insects may be the culprit. Be sure to check your indoor Ficus plants regularly for signs of pest infestation. Another common cause of leaf loss on Ficus plants is environmental stress. indoor Ficus that are not getting enough light or proper humidity will experience leaf loss as a result of environmental stress.
In addition to these causes, indoor tree leaves can also fall off due to transplant shock, over-pruning, and lack of nutrients (especially during winter months when indoor gardeners often choose not to fertilize indoor trees).
Fertilizing of indoor Ficus plants is typically done once every 1-2 months during the growing season (spring through early fall). Many indoor gardeners choose not to fertilize their indoor Ficus trees during winter when temperatures and light levels are low. An indoor tree that is not receiving proper sun can become stressed from colder temperatures, resulting in unhealthy growth and excessive leaf loss.
Repot indoor Ficus plants as needed to keep them healthy. You can repot indoor Ficus in spring or summer when the soil has dried out and indoor temperatures are high enough for new growth. Always use a pot with adequate drainage holes. A terracotta plant pot with holes is ideal for indoor Ficus plants because it will allow excess water that builds up from over-watering to drain away from roots easily.
Pruning your indoor Ficus plant is an important part of its ongoing care and should be done at scheduled intervals so the plant thrives. When you prune indoor Ficus plants, always use sharp, disinfected pruning shears or scissors to avoid spreading diseases from one indoor tree to another via wounds on the stems or leaves. It is a best practice to only prune when necessary; otherwise, new growth will displace energy from other areas on the indoor tree.
How often you water indoor Ficus plants depends heavily on the indoor climate conditions, and the type of soil used. It is best to water your indoor Ficus once a week or when the soil is dry. Depending on your home’s temperature and humidity level, you may need to use 3 – 4 times as much water in summer as in winter. Of course, you’ll want to adopt this schedule depending on your indoor garden environment.