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Indoor Plants

Ficus

The Ficus (fig) plant is a very wide ranging genus filling most of the environmental niches in the plant world. Some of the larger specimens are shown here and as you can see they vary widely from the tree-like weeping fig (ficus benjamina) to, every body’s favourite, the rubber plant. Despite the size of these large indoor plants, a Ficus can still make a great houseplant. Please note, the plant height is the overall height and includes pot.

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How to care for your ficus plants

Ficus plants are a popular plant of choice in the home or the office. For all of their popularity, and despite the fact that they require little maintenance, ficus plants can be finicky.

Here are some great tips to make sure you avoid their finicky nature keep yours in tip top condition all year round.

  1. Most ficus trees enjoy bright indirect light or filtered light. Bright, direct light may scald leaves and cause leaf loss.
  1. Ficus plants cannot tolerate low temperatures and are best kept in an environment where the temperature is above 60 °F (16 °C). In fact, they prefer temperatures above 70 °F (21 °C).
  1. These plants can’t tolerate cold drafts. Don’t keep them near to a drafty door or window.

  1. Maintaining a relatively high humidity around a ficus plant is really important. Regular misting or standing the plant on a pebble tray with the water level below the top of the pebbles are great ways to keep humidity high.
  1. Ficus plants don’t like to be overwatered. They don’t like overly wet roots. Always check the soil before you water. If the soil is wet, don’t water. Wait until the top of the soil feels dry.
  1. Ficus plants grow rapidly and will do well with plenty of nutrients. Feed with plant food monthly in the spring and summer and bi-monthly in autumn and winter.
  1. Ficus plants are prone to pests (mealy bugs, scale and spider mites), which causes sap to drip from leaves. Treating the plant with neem oil is a good way to get rid of pests. Mix with water and spray leaves (including undersides) and stems, as well as the surface of the soil. You will need to reapply to affect the life stages of the pests as neem oil doesn’t kill the pests directly but affects their appetite so they starve.
  1. On the whole the ficus houseplant will only grow to the size suitable for the pot it is in. However, if it does have a growth spurt a larger pot will enable the plant to grow to its full potential. This only usually happens about every 2-3 years. It’s a good idea to repot your ficus plant after an insect infestation or if the roots are overcrowded, in which case trim away any diseased or rotten roots before placing in fresh soil.

The most common problem ficus plants have is losing their leaves. Falling leaves in houseplants is usually a standard response to stress, which could have a number of causes. Browning leaves are usually due to a lack of water, but can also be a result of low humidity or a lack of light, or a combination of stress factors.

The most common causes of stress to ficus plants are:

  • Overwatering (the most common culprit)
  • Low humidity
  • Too little light
  • Drafts
  • Change in temperature (usually too cold, but can also be too hot)
  • Pests
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