Ficus plants have been making dramatic statements in homes for decades. These are the same plants that we saw in our grandparents’ homes; but, with the resurgence of large, dramatic plants in the design world, it’s not surprising that everyone and their cousin now has—or desperately wants—some kind of ficus in their living space. Like some other popular trendy plants, there’s often more than meets the eye. To be honest, a ficus can be a total beast to care for. Here’s what you need to know.
Ficus are tropical plants so you really want to recreate a similar environment for them to be happy. Mist those leaves (indirectly—think applying hairspray) according to your household’s humidity level. It might be a good idea to invest in a humidifier if your house has continuously dry air.
Bright, filtered light
Ficus love bright, soft light. Not too bright because hot light scorches their leaves. Bright, indirect light can be described as light coming from an east- or south-facing window (or near to) that is obscured with a sheer blind or frosted glass. If there’s nothing fracturing the light, simply move the plant further away from the window. Remember, bright light, not hot light.
Drainage And A Watering Schedule
For the best chance of success, plant your ficus in a pot that is two or three inches larger than the grower’s pot that it came in from the nursery. Make sure the pot has drainage—there are a lot of pots out there that look pretty but are closed at the bottom. This makes it difficult to regulate your watering when you can’t see how much is already sitting at the bottom of the pot. Water your ficus when the top two to three inches of the soil dries out—you can easily measure this by using the first two knuckles on your finger. The larger the plant, the more water it needs. A plant in a 12-inch pot needs at least 1-1.5 liters of water a week in the summer. You won’t want to water nearly as much in the winter. Try implementing a watering schedule.
Keep tabs on the temperature in your home. Don’t place a ficus near an air exchange/heating vent, radiator, frequently-opened door to the outside, or a drafty window that gets freezing cold in the winter. These plants are very sensitive to temperature change, so much so that you might notice a difference after walking it home from the plant shop. The plant will need an adjustment period of three to four weeks to acclimate to your home’s environment. Don’t worry if your ficus drops some leaves. It’s totally normal.