Ficus (Rubber tree plant) - Expert tips
In this article
- How to care for Ficus (Rubber tree plant): Care tips for Ficus houseplants
- Ficus Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Types of Ficus trees to grow at home
- Ficus tree Care
- Light and placement
- Pruning Ficus plants
- Ficus propagation
- Most common pests and diseases on Ficus
- Ficus varieties
- Ficus frequently asked questions (FAQ)
- Buy Ficus online at PLNTS.com
How to care for Ficus (Rubber tree plant): Care tips for Ficus houseplants
Ficus plants are popular as houseplants due to their attractive appearance and low maintenance care requirements. They are known for their glossy green leaves and sturdy branches, which can add a touch of greenery and natural beauty to any space. Fig plants are available in a variety of sizes, making them an ideal choice for both large indoor trees and windowsill plants.
Good to know: Ficus is on the list of the ten most air-purifying plants in the world... How cool is that!
Ficus plants are generally easy to care for, but there are a few key tips to keep in mind. Proper watering, lighting, and fertilising are all essential factors in keeping your Ficus healthy. If you take good care of your Ficus plant, it will thrive and bring you years of happiness.
Ficus Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Provide enough light. Ficus plants prefer bright, indirect light and can tolerate some direct sunlight. However, too much direct sun can scorch the leaves, so be sure to find a balance.
- Don't overwater. One of the most common problems when growing Ficus trees is overwatering. Be careful not to water too often, as this can lead to root rot and leaf drop. Wait until the top half of the soil is dry before watering.
- Fertilise regularly. Ficus plants benefit from regular fertilisation, especially during the growing season. Use a balanced fertiliser and follow the instructions on the label.
- Prune regularly. Ficus benefit from regular pruning to encourage new growth and maintain the desired shape. Be sure to use clean, sharp scissors and make cuts just above a leaf node.
- Avoid drafts. Ficus is sensitive to drafts and can be damaged by sudden cold or hot air gusts. Keep your Ficus away from doors and windows that may be open and closed frequently.
- Regularly repot. Ficus plants do not like to be root-bound and may struggle if their roots are too crowded. Be sure to choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the root ball of your plant.
- Avoid handling your Ficus too much, as the leaves are prone to damage and can drop off easily.
- Keep leaves clean. Using a soft, clean cloth dampened in lukewarm water, wipe the leaves gently to remove dirt or dust from Ficus leaves (this improves photosynthesis).
- If your Ficus starts to drop its leaves excessively, it may be a sign of stress due to improper care or a change in its environment. Try to identify the cause and make any necessary adjustments to improve the plant's care.
- Be patient with your Ficus. It can take time for it to adjust to its new environment and begin to thrive. Proper watering, lighting, and fertilisation are key to successful Ficus growth.
Types of Ficus trees to grow at home
The Ficus is a genus with around 900 species (WOW). Most people commonly refer to a Weeping Fig as simply a Ficus, but this is just one member of the Ficus genus. It is possible to grow many Ficus plants indoors, each with its own characteristics and requirements. Here are some of the most popular Ficus houseplants:
- Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata): This popular Ficus species is known for its large, glossy leaves resembling a violin's shape. It is a relatively low-maintenance plant that requires regular watering, but it is sensitive to over-watering and can be prone to leaf drop if not cared for properly.
Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica): This Ficus species is native to India and Malaysia and is known for its thick, glossy leaves and tall, tree-like growth habit. It is relatively drought-tolerant, so it is a good choice for those who may forget to water their plants regularly.
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina): This Ficus species is native to Southeast Asia and is known for its graceful, weeping growth habit and delicate, glossy leaves. It is sensitive to changes in light and temperature, so it is important to place it in a consistent location and avoid exposing it to drafts.
- Banyan Fig (Ficus Benghalensis): This Ficus species is native to India and is known for its sprawling, tree-like growth habit and large, glossy leaves. It is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but it may need to be pruned regularly to maintain its desired shape.
Many Ficus trees can be grown indoors, so it is worth exploring the various options and choosing one that suits your home's conditions and personal preferences.
Ficus tree Care
Light and placement
Ficus trees are generally considered low to medium-light plants, so they can tolerate various lighting conditions. However, they do best in bright light or indirect light. They can also tolerate sunlight pretty well, but be aware that too intensive sunlight can harm the leaves.
It's generally best to water a Ficus when the top half of the soil feels dry to the touch. Water only with room-temperature water. For plant parents who often forget to water their plants, rubber trees and fiddle leaf figs are drought-tolerant Ficus members.
Ficuses are prone to root rot, so it's important to empty the drainage tray or saucer after watering to prevent the roots from sitting in excess water. When your Ficus is dropping leaves or when they turn yellow, it is a sign to increase or decrease the amount of water. You then should check the roots. If the roots are soggy, water the plant less often. If roots are dry, increase watering.
Ficus prefers temperatures ranging from 18-24°C during the day to 16-18°C at night. Some Ficus species (Ficus benjamina, Ficus pumila and Ficus microcarpa) can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures and survive as low as 10°C or lower (but not freezing temperatures!)
If you decide to take your Ficus outdoors during the summer in Europe, It's important to acclimate the plant gradually to outdoor conditions by placing it in a shaded area for a few days before moving it to a sunnier location.
Don’t forget to monitor the soil's moisture level and water the plant as needed to ensure it stays hydrated.
They generally prefer humid environments and grow best when the relative humidity is between 40% and 60%. They can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels but may experience some stress if the air is too dry for extended periods.
Rubber tree (Ficus elastica), Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) and Creeping fig (Ficus pumila) are more tolerant of lower humidity levels and can survive in conditions with relative humidity as low as 30%. Learn more about air humidity and how to raise it.
Ficus generally benefit from being repotted every couple of years, particularly if they are growing rapidly or if the pot has become too small for the plant. Repotting can help freshen the soil, give the plant more space to grow, and improve the plant's overall health. Here you can find tips & tricks for repotting your plants.
The best soil for Ficus plants is well-draining and nutrient-rich. Good potting soil for Ficus plants should contain a mixture of loam, peat moss, and perlite or vermiculite to help drainage and aeration.
A pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 is ideal for their growth. However, they are generally adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of soil pH levels. We recommend using PLNTS potting soil with added vermiculite or perlite for drainage. Avoid using soil from your yard or garden, as it may not have the proper structure or pH for indoor plants.
Fig plants do benefit from regular fertilisation. Fertilise your Ficus during the active growth period (summer until fall). You will then see new healthy growth. For best results, use PLNTS Nutrition liquid plant food.
Pruning Ficus plants
Ficus plants tolerate pruning well and can benefit from regular pruning to maintain a healthy shape and encourage new growth. The best time to prune a Ficus plant is during the growing season (spring and summer). This is when the plant is actively growing and can recover more quickly from pruning.
It's generally best to remove at least one-third of the plant's canopy at a time to avoid stressing the plant. However, the specific amount you can cut will depend on the size and health of your Ficus plant.
It is easy to propagate Ficus plants from stem cuttings or leaf cuttings. Propagation can be done any time of the year.
Easy step-by-step guide on how to propagate Ficus plants by stem cuttings:
- Select a healthy stem from the parent plant and cut a 10-15 cm piece using clean, sharp scissors or a knife.
- Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving only the top few leaves.
- Dip the bottom end of the cutting into rooting powder, if desired. It encourages the growth of roots.
- Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mix, such as a mixture of peat moss and perlite. Water the mix well.
- Insert the cutting into the soil by making a hole with a pencil or spoon (or your finger).
- Place the pot in a warm, well-lit location away from direct sunlight and water the cutting well.
- Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and mist the leaves occasionally to increase humidity.
Roots should form within a few weeks to a few months, depending on the species of Ficus and the conditions. Once the cutting has developed a good root system, you can transplant it into a larger pot.
You can also root your stem cutting in clean water and wait for the roots to grow. After the roots have developed, transplant the plant into the potting mix. While rooting, it is important to change the water from time to time because water that is left standing for a long time loses its nutrients.
Easy step-by-step guide on how to propagate Ficus plants by leaf cuttings:
- Choose a healthy leaf from the parent plant and cut it, leaving a short stem.
- Fill a small pot with a potting mix that drains well, such as peat moss and perlite. Make sure you water it well.
- Using a pencil or spoon, poke a hole in the soil and insert the stem end of the leaf-cutting.
- Place the pot in a warm, well-lit location, out of direct sunlight.
- Ensure that the soil is moist but not waterlogged, and mist the leaves periodically to increase humidity.
New shoots should form at the base of the leaf-cutting within a few weeks to a few months, depending on the species of Ficus tree and the conditions. Once the new plants have formed a good root system, you can transplant them into a larger pot.
Most common pests and diseases on Ficus
Incorrect care and lack of humidity are the main reasons pests may appear on your Ficus. Spider mites are probably the most common pest. When pests are present, it is best to isolate your plant until it is completely pest-free.
Not sure what to do when pests appear? Just visit our PLNTS Doctor, and you’ll know what to do!
Ficus trees are a stunning and versatile addition to any interior and are sure to make a statement with their unique and interesting foliage. The most popular type of Ficus is the Ficus Lyrata, commonly known as the Fiddle-leaf fig, which has large, violin-shaped leaves. Other popular varieties include the Ficus Elastica 'Tineke', commonly known as the rubber plant, and the Ficus Robusta, which is known for its beautiful dark leaves.
Ficus frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Is Ficus poisonous for pets or children?
Unfortunately, the Ficus is toxic for your furry friends but also for humans. The juice of the Ficus can cause irritation as soon as the skin comes into contact. So please keep in mind to keep an eye on your little ones or furry friends while having this plant in your home. We wouldn’t want your love of plants to cause problems for the rest of your household.
Is a Ficus a good indoor plant?
Ficus plants adapt well to indoor conditions, making them great indoor houseplants. They are beautiful large houseplants that can add a touch of green to any room.
Is a Ficus hard to keep alive?
There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration with them. They like bright, indirect light and consistent moisture levels. Sudden changes in light and temperature can result in leaf drop. They are pretty sensitive to drastic changes, so it's important to gradually acclimate them to new conditions. Overall, Ficus plants are low maintenance and long-lasting if they are taken care of properly.
How much sunlight does a Ficus plant need?
Direct sunlight should be avoided as it can cause leaf burn. It's best to place them near a window with sheer curtains or blinds to filter the direct sun rays. If you notice that the leaves are turning yellow or brown, they may be getting too much sunlight and should be moved to a spot where the sun is filtered.
Why is my Ficus leaning?
One of the most common reasons is the lack of support. If your plant is growing tall and it has a thin stem, it may need proper support. Another reason can be insufficient light, and it starts to lean towards the light sources.
Why are the leaves of my Ficus plant turning yellow?
A yellowing of Ficus leaves could result from overwatering, underwatering, temperature fluctuations, a lack of light, nutrients, or even a pest infestation. Check the soil- it's probably overwatering if it is too moist. If it is ash dry, it can be due to underwatering. Also, think about what environment your plant is in - have you recently moved it to new spots or left your window open, and he's getting a cold draft? Check your leaves for pest infestation signs - if you see anything suspicious, take action immediately!
What causes leaves to drop on a Ficus tree?
Temperature changes or insufficient light are the most common causes of Ficus tree leaf drop. Make sure you don't open a window or door, let a cold draft in, or don't put the plant near heaters (especially under an air conditioner). Additionally, make sure your Ficus receives enough light. If you cannot provide more light, you can consider using grow lights. In winter, as the days get shorter, it may naturally drop leaves, but as the days get longer in spring, it will also grow new leaves.
In addition to the previous issues, it can also drop leaves if it is overwatered or underwatered. You can tell if the soil is wet or dry by touching it and acting accordingly.
What is air layering, and how do you air layer a Ficus tree?
Air layering is a way to propagate a Ficus plant by rooting a stem while it's still attached to the parent plant. To air-layer a Ficus, you need to make a small incision in the stem, remove the bark around the cut, apply rooting powder, pack a small amount of moist sphagnum moss around it and cover it with a plastic wrap or bag and keep it moist. After several weeks, roots should start to form, and then you can cut the stem below the rooted area and repot it as a new plant.
Keep in mind that it may take several weeks or even months for the roots to form, so be patient and keep checking the progress of the roots.
Why is my Ficus plant not growing?
Ficus plants may not grow if they don't receive enough light or if moisture levels are too low or too high. Providing it with enough filtered sunlight and monitoring its watering schedule is essential. It is also possible for pests, diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and temperature fluctuations to stunt healthy growth. You can figure out what's wrong by looking at the plant's environment, watering schedule, and overall health.
Buy Ficus online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com you can buy different types of the Ficus, like the Ficus Benghalensis Roy, the Ficus Robusta and the Ficus Lyrata Branched. With many varieties to choose from, there really is a Ficus for everyone!
Whether you like your Ficus big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Ficus online at PLNTS.com!