General ficus careFicusweb's recommendations for ficus care are right for the region with cold winter (Europe, North of USA). It is necessary to correct these rules according to your location.
Ficus likes constancy, so it is better to fix a permanent place for it. Any transfers and changes take a lot of strength from the plant for adaptation. Periodically rotate (turn) the pot relative to the window and sun for the uniform development of the crown. Ficus can be put outside to fresh air - balcony or terrace - in summer, but avoid a strong wind and direct sunlight.
Bright place with the protect from the midday summer sun. East, south and west windows are preferred variants, a north side is too dark. Keep the ficus on the windowsill or very close by it.
Variegated species and cultivars require more light than mono-green figs. Beautiful color of leaves disappears by the lack of sun.
Ficus pumila and others creeping forest floor figs need in indirect or filtered light.
It is recommended to use additional lighting by fluorescent lamps in winter and during a long cloudy period.
The optimal temperature range is 25-30 °C (77-86 °F) in summer and 20-22 °C (68-72 °F) in winter. The critical minimum for many tropic species - 14-16 °C (57-60 °F). Ficus carica is the exception and needs cool wintering.
Sharp temperature changes are inadmissible.
Ventilated place, but without warm or cold draughts from open doors, windows and air-conditioners.
Care of ficus and watering
Ficus necessity in water depends on its age, species, development phases, season, soil's composition, container's material and other factors. It is not right to use the constant schedule of watering. Surrounding conditions (light, temperature, humidity), which determine the intensity of plant's water consumption, are not permanent. It is necessary to control the soil's moistening. Wait until the top of substratum (2-3 cm ) is completely dry to the touch before the next watering. Use only soft warm (!) water for plants.
Ficus montana and F. pumila have not deep root systems and require more frequent watering.
Relative humidity is at least 50%, and more for Ficus lyrata and F. pumila.
It is good to spray air around the foliage by soft warm water in hot summer (but not in the direct sunlight) and in the room with the central heating. After hard water there are white salt spots on leaves.
Trays with water and wet expanded clay, humidifiers, mini-glasshouses may also help.
It is handy to use plastic containers of high quality. Ceramic and metal pots are better as removable ornamental flowerpots.
Tree- and shrub ficus are grown in pots of traditional forms (height more than width), bonsai - in special bowls and trays, climbing figs - in low pots.
Soil for ficus
Traditional soil is a mix of humus (compost or loam), peat and sand in equal or different proportions. Many ficus producers and private floriculturists use an inert substratum with peat, sand, coir, vermiculite, perlite, bark and except humus.
Add an expanded clay on the pot's bottom, vermiculite and powder of charcoal in the soil. It makes the soil well-drained and aerated and protect from water's stagnation and rotting.
Optimal pH reaction is 5.5-7 (weak acidic or neutral).
Apply organic or mineral water-soluble fertilizers (alternating them) in the humus soil every 10-14 days from March to September, and in the inert substratum - all-the-year-round.
Use fertilizers with the high content of nitrogen in spring and summer for the active development of green mass. Take more phosphorus and potassium and less of nitrogen in autumn and winter or do not feed at all.
Ficusweb considers, that it is very important to water a little bit before fertilization to prevent the root's burning.
Clean large leaves on both sides with a soft wet sponge every week or two.
Wash ficus in a warm shower once a month or more often for small-leaves figs. The soil is covered with polybag. Keep plant in the bathroom to dry the crown.
Remove all yellowed, damaged, fallen leaves and dead branches.
Additional ficus tree carePeriod of rest
All indoor plants have a forced period of rest from October to February for the reason of sun's deficit. Ficus continues to grow in the heated room with the additional light, but not so active as in spring and summer.
If Ficus carica sheds leaves in autumn, carry it to the cool spot and lower watering.
In spring or early summer for the better adaptation.
Repot young ficus every 1-2 years, adult plants - every 2-4 years to the pot of 2-4 cm more diameter. Just take out fig from the pot, put in the new one and add fresh soil around.
New plants are repoted in 2-4 months after buying.
Change a top layer of soil once or twice a year for large tub figs, which are difficult to replant.
It is also possible to keep ficus in one pot for many years with the roots's cutting. Such plant is more compact and has a strong trunk.
Ficus is easily propagated by tip- and stem cuttings (in water or soil), air- and horizontal layers, seeds.
Choose the right method depending on species.
Inspect your fig regularly with the magnifying glass for signs of pests, bacterial and fungal infections.
The most common pests of indoor plants are spider mites, scales, mealy bugs, thrips, fungus gnats, nematodes. Systemic preparations are more effective against them.
Prune and shape your ficus in spring as a tree, bushy, bonsai or in others forms.
Aerial roots of banyans are formed in high humidity and look very exotic.
In addition to general recommendations of ficus care, please look for more information about concrete species.