Can You Plant Ficus Trees Outdoors?

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Ficus trees belong to a diverse family with more than 800 species and thousands of varieties; they are native to tropical and subtropical regions. Many people grow ficus trees indoors as ornamental trees in containers. However, if you live in USDA hardiness zones 10b or above, where temperatures remain above 1.67 degrees Celsius, there are varieties of ficus that can be grown outdoors in the ground or in a container.

Outdoor Ficus

The weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), the fiddle leaf fig (F. lyrata), the Indian

Laurel fig (Ficus microcarpa nitida) and the rubber plant (Ficus elastica) can be planted outdoors in climates where the temperature stays above freezing. These regions include Hawaii and some areas in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. If you have a ficus tree indoors in a container and you live in a region where temperatures dip below freezing, you can move your ficus tree outdoors during frost-free months.The weeping fig is the most popular indoor ornamental ficus tree, and it adapts well to summers on the patio.

Growing Conditions

Ficus trees adapt well to outdoor container planting or planting in the ground in the appropriate climates. Place them in full sun, except in extreme heat, for best leaf growth. They will adapt to part shade as well. Ficus thrives in rich, moist, well-drained soil. If dry conditions exist, the tree will shed its leaves to survive; it won't have enough water to support the leaf canopy. Shelter the tree from wind and cold.

Cold Damage

If you live in an area where frost can occur but usually doesn't, your weeping fig or other ficus should be OK during winter. If a cold front approaches, cover your ficus with a sheet or other protective material to minimise frost damage. It will get freeze burn on its leaves at 00 degrees C, and branches will also freeze. If your ficus does get frozen, it will probably survive if the trunk size is larger than 8 inches. You will have to prune it after the danger of frost has passed to get rid of damaged branches and leaves.

Ficus Challenges

Weeping figs can be somewhat finicky plants -- their common name comes from the fact that they drop their leaves when there's a change in their environment, such as transitioning from the cool outdoor temperatures to warm indoor temperatures. This can be addressed by bringing plants indoors before it gets too cool outside and providing them with adequate light, moisture and humidity as well as keeping them away from heat vents or drafts. Two insects attack the ficus tree -- scale insects and spider mites suck sap out of the plant and leave a sticky residue. To treat the tree, first prune the heavily infested parts of the tree, and then treat it with insecticides or refined horticultural oils.

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