How to Care for Outdoor Ficus Trees

Also known as weeping fig trees, the average ficus tree can grow up to heights of 30-60 feet with a dense canopy that can grow as wide. These trees are found in temperate and tropical regions around the world. They are often grown in containers to control the size of the trees and to keep the roots, which become far reaching, from destroying sewer lines and cracking foundations.

Step 1

Give your tree at least 6 hours of full sunlight each day. The ficus tree enjoys consistent daytime temperatures from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and cooler evenings. If temperatures are cool and drafty for too many days, the tree slows its growth and will drop leaves if there is a sudden change in temperature.

Step 2

Replace the soil every 3 years if you grow your tree in a container. The soil will lose lots of nutrients over the course of time, and replacing it helps the tree to thrive.

Step 3

Water deeply at least every 1 to 2 weeks. If the conditions are very dry, it may be necessary to water more often. The leaves will turn yellow and drop off if underwatered. Keep the soil moist but not boggy.

Step 4

Fertilize during the growing stages in spring and summer. Use a balanced tree fertilizer every 2 to 3 months. Do not fertilize during the fall and winter months.

Step 5

Pruning should only be done in the first 1 to 2 years. Cut off only those limbs that are dead or criss-crossing. Whitewash the ends of the cut limbs to prevent disease and pests from infecting the tree. To whitewash, use a white latex paint diluted in half with water, or use a special tree wash available at local gardening stores; do not use an oil-based paint.

Step 6

Protect the tree from frost by applying a layer of mulch around the bottom. Keep the roots as dry as possible by not watering as often, and move the tree indoors from late fall through winter if possible. If leaving outdoors place the tree up against a wall or structure where it will get radiant heat; this protects it from the colder temperatures.