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Ficus proves itself a versatile and tough houseplant. You’ll find a form to suit your needs among growth habits ranging from creeping vine to giant tree. Its glossy leaves grow in a variety of colors and patterns. And even though this cousin of the edible fig is a tropical plant, it survives in a wide variety of conditions.

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Part Sun, Shade, Sun



Under 6 inches to 20 feet or more


1 to 30 feet wide

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Many Sizes, Shapes

The 850 species span a wide range of looks. Leaves grow dark burgundy on the rubber plant, diamond-shape on the weeping fig, small-as-a-pinky-nail on some creeping varieties, and as large as a football on others.

Why is my ficus dropping sticky leaves?

Ficus Care Must-Knows

Needs vary among the varieties, but generally ficus prefer well-drained, fertile soil kept consistently moist. Although it can tolerate an occasional missed watering, allowing them to dry out regularly stresses the plant.

When it comes to lighting, ficus plants can be somewhat tricky and needy. Ficus require high levels of light, especially for the best color display. But there are varieties of ficus that tolerate medium to low-light conditions. In low-light conditions, ficus tend to be sparser and can have poorer branching habits. They also tend to be much slower growing in part sun. In less-than-ideal light or if moved to a new spot, ficus can drop a large amount of leaves. Though alarming, the plant recovers once it adapts to new conditions.

In the right conditions, ficus grow fast. If you've got a large kind, this can become troublesome because it can quickly outgrow its space. Regular pruning prevents this and promotes good branching. However, there is a limit to the amount of pruning larger species of ficus tolerate. For woody types, starting a new plant by air layering is the best option.

Air layering consists of scarring or removing some of the bark and dusting the wound with rooting hormone. Wrap it in moist sphagnum moss and dark plastic to keep it moist, humid, and out of the light. In 2 to 3 months roots will emerge. As these roots develop, keep the moss moist, and check every few weeks for root growth. Once roots begin to grow in the sphagnum, cut the stem below the new root and plant.

Browse indoor trees for your home.

More Varieties of Ficus

Creeping fig

Ficus pumila is a vining plant with small leaves and aerial roots that will cling to a wall or moss pole. It is sometimes used to cover topiary forms. It requires higher humidity and more frequent watering than most ficuses.

Fiddle-leaf fig

Ficus lyrata can become a large tree with violin-shape leaves more than 1 foot long. The stiff, waxy leaves are medium green on top and gray-green underneath.

Mistletoe fig

Ficus deltoidea makes an interesting indoor shrub. It forms spreading branches covered with wedge-shape leaves and many small, inedible green figs that turn red in bright sun. It is sometimes listed as Ficus diversifolia.

Narrow-leaf fig

Ficus maclellandii 'Alii' is a tree-type ficus with long, narrow, pointed leaves that give it a bamboo appearance. It is sometimes called Alii fig or banana fig, and may be classified as Ficus binnendijkii.

Rubber plant

Ficus elastica, also called rubber plant, has stiff, elliptical leaves, often tinged maroon. Grow it as a multistem shrub or a branched tree.

Sacred fig

Ficus religiosa is regarded as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune; it can reach impressive heights of up to 100 feet. Zones 10-12


'Starlight' weeping fig

Ficus benjamina 'Starlight' has the same arching plant form as regular weeping fig, but its leaves are ringed with a decorative white band. Variegation is most intense in bright light.

'Too Little' weeping fig

Ficus benjamina 'Too Little' is a semidwarf, slower grower than regular weeping fig. Individual leaves are smaller and rolled or curled, and distance between branches is less, resulting in a more compact tree.

Variegated creeping fig

Ficus pumila 'Variegata' is a small-leaf creeper with a narrow band of white on leaf edges. Like regular creeping fig, it likes high humidity and moist roots.

Variegated Indian laurel Fig

Ficus microcarpa is similar to weeping fig but has slightly larger and more leathery leaves. It is also less likely to drop leaves with changes in light levels or temperatures. The plant is sometimes classified as Ficus retusa nitida.

Variegated rubber plant

Ficus elastica 'Variegata' has tricolor leaves of creamy white, gray-green, and green with maroon overtones. Its coloration is most intense in bright light.

Weeping fig

Ficus benjamina is the most widely grown ficus. Often several are planted in the same pot and braided into a decorative trunk. Avoid moving the plant around once you find a good location for it; leaves drop readily in response to environmental changes.

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