The Q&A Archives: Ficus Tree Care

Question: I was just given a 18 year old Ficus tree. It is quite large (8' tall and about as wide). I was not given any instructions on watering or fertilizing. How often should I water and fertilize? Also what is the best fertilize?

Answer: Your new acquisition sounds like it's pretty healthy and happy! To keep the plant in tip-top shape, give it average household temperatures and bright light, but not direct sunshine. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, and use tepid, rather than cold water. Test the soil by pushing your finger down into it. If it's dry the entire length, it's time to water. Make sure that water comes out of the drainage holes when you do apply water, to make sure the potting soil is completely wet. Then wait until the soil dries out a bit before watering again. You can fertilize your ficus in the spring and summer months when it is actively growing. Use a half-strength solution of any good liquid houseplant fertilizer. Most of these formulations have a 16-16-16 ratio. By diluting it to half as much as listed on the label, and applying it twice as often, you won't run the risk of burning the plant with excess fertilizer salts.

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