Indoor vs. Outdoor Ficus Plant Care 101: The Best Beginner’s Guide

Ficus plants, commonly known as fig trees or ficus trees, are beloved by plant enthusiasts for their lush, vibrant foliage and air-purifying qualities. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just dipping your toes into the world of indoor plants, ficus plants can be a fantastic addition to your collection. However, before you bring home a ficus, it’s crucial to understand the key differences between caring for them indoors and outdoors. This guide will help you make the right choices and ensure your ficus thrives in its new environment.

Indoor Ficus Care:

Ficus plants are popular choices for indoor plant enthusiasts due to their striking foliage and air-purifying qualities. To ensure your indoor ficus thrives, follow these care tips:

Light Requirements: Ficus plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Place them near a window with filtered sunlight, but avoid direct sun exposure, which can scorch their leaves. Consider employing grow lights if available natural light is scarce.

Temperature: Keep your indoor ficus in a temperature range of 65-75°F (18-24°C). They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, but abrupt temperature changes or drafts should be avoided.

Before watering,: let the top inch of the soil dry off. Ficus plants are sensitive to overwatering, which can lead to root rot. Water thoroughly when needed, but let the soil dry between waterings, especially in winter when growth slows down.

Humidity: Ficus plants appreciate higher humidity levels. Mist their leaves regularly or use a humidity tray to maintain a suitable humidity level, especially in dry indoor environments.

Potting Mix: Plant your ficus in well-draining potting soil. A mix designed for indoor tropical plants works well. Repot your ficus every 2-3 years to refresh the soil and provide more space for growth.

Fertilizing: Feed your ficus with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer) about once a month. In the autumn and winter, when growth slows, cut back on or stop fertilising.

Pruning: Prune your ficus as needed to control its shape and size. Regular pruning also helps improve air circulation and can prevent pest problems.

Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for common pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects.In the autumn and winter, when growth slows, cut back on or stop fertilising. Proper care, including adequate light and humidity, can help prevent pest issues.

Rotation: Periodically rotate your ficus plant to ensure even growth and prevent it from leaning towards the light source.

Stress Avoidance: Ficus plants can be sensitive to changes. Try to maintain a consistent environment in terms of light, temperature, and humidity to minimize stress on the plant.

Remember that ficus plants can be finicky, especially when adjusting to a new environment. Be patient and attentive to their needs, and you’ll enjoy the beauty and benefits of a healthy indoor ficus for years to come.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Ficus Plant Care 101: The Best Beginner's Guide
Indoor vs. Outdoor Ficus Plant Care 101: The Best Beginner's Guide

Outdoor Ficus Care:

If you have a Ficus tree or shrub planted in your outdoor garden, it’s essential to provide the right care to help it thrive in its natural environment. Here are some tips for outdoor Ficus care:

Sunlight: Ficus trees thrive in full sunlight. Plant them in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Insufficient light can lead to sparse foliage and leggy growth.

Soil: Ensure well-draining soil to prevent waterlogged roots. While Ficus trees can tolerate various soil types, they prefer slightly acidic to neutral soils. Fertility and drainage can be increased by adding organic matter to the soil.

Watering: Water deeply but infrequently. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, as Ficus trees are relatively drought-tolerant once established. Avoid constant moisture, which can lead to root rot. Younger plants may require more frequent watering until they establish a strong root system.

Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of your Ficus tree to conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.In order to prevent rot, keep the mulch away from the trunk.

Pruning: Prune your Ficus tree as needed to maintain its shape and size. Regular pruning can help control its growth and promote a more attractive appearance. Remove dead or diseased branches promptly.

Fertilizing: Feed your outdoor Ficus tree with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring when new growth begins. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates. Avoid excessive fertilization, which can harm the plant.

Protection from Frost: If you live in an area prone to frost or freezing temperatures, consider protecting your Ficus tree during the winter months. Covering it with frost cloth or moving it to a sheltered location can prevent cold damage.

Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for common outdoor pests like aphids, scale insects, and whiteflies. Regularly inspect your Ficus tree for signs of infestations and treat them promptly with appropriate pesticides or insecticidal soap.

Root Maintenance: Periodically check for root encirclement in the root ball, especially in container-grown Ficus trees. If roots are circling the root ball, consider root pruning or repotting into a larger container.

Support: Stake young Ficus trees if needed to provide support and prevent leaning or damage from strong winds.

Outdoor Ficus plants can become stunning additions to your garden or landscape with the right care and attention. By following these guidelines, you’ll help your Ficus tree or shrub thrive and flourish in its outdoor environment.


Can an indoor ficus tree be placed outside?

Yes, you can place an indoor ficus tree outside during the warmer months, but ensure it receives filtered sunlight and gradually acclimate it to outdoor conditions to prevent shock. Be cautious of temperature fluctuations and bring it indoors before cold weather arrives.

What is the easiest ficus tree to take care of?

The Ficus elastica, commonly known as the Rubber Plant, is considered one of the easiest ficus trees to care for. It’s relatively forgiving of occasional neglect and adapts well to indoor conditions.

What are the best conditions for indoor ficus?

Indoor ficus plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, with a temperature range of 65-75°F (18-24°C). Maintain moderate humidity, well-draining soil, and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering.

Are ficus plants good for beginners?

Ficus plants can be suitable for beginners with some care and attention. However, they can be a bit finicky, so it’s essential to understand their specific needs, like proper lighting and watering habits.