The Q&A Archives: Care Of Ficus

Question: I rec'd a ficus tree and do not have air contitioning in my home. I live in So. California and it gets to be 100+ in Summer and I have a west facing house with a large window in the living room. My living room naturally receives 12-16 hours of direct sunlight. Where can I place my tree so that it will survive? Can I leave it outside on my entry?

Answer: Exposure to sun varies by species; Ficus elastica, the Rubber Plant, survives in the worst conditions, including low light and dry air and soil. Ficus lyrata, the Fiddleleaf Fig, grows in either sun or shade, and Ficus benjamina, the indoor fig needs bright light, is tolerant of heat but frost-tender. If you're growing the standard indoor fig, give your plant bright light, but not direct sunlight. Water when soil begins to dry out, and treat it to a shower on occasion to wash the dust from the leaves.

Any of these figs can spend the spring and summer months outdoors in a protected location but should be taken back indoors when nighttime temperatures drop to about 50F.

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