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How to Care For Ficus Umbellata

Last Updated on October 13, 2022 by Plant Mom Care

Ficus Umbellata, an evergreen plant from the family Moraceae is indigenous to Africa. It is popularly grown as an indoor plant in Japan and although not as widely available elsewhere, it can be bought from specialty growers or online sources.

The vibrant green textured foliage is the main focus of the plant with its large leaves that are oval/elliptic in shape with prominent nerves and serrated edges. 

It makes a nice point of interest in corners of living rooms or offices. With the right care and proper growing conditions, this plant can attain a good size with new leaves sprouting every week in spring and summer.

A mature plant grows as tall as 4 feet and as wide indoors. It produces tiny flowers that seldom appear on indoor-grown plants.


Ficus Umbellata Light Requirements

This plant needs plenty of bright light. Without adequate light the plant will start dropping its leaves. A location near a window is ideal and while this plant can tolerate some direct sunlight, it should be acclimatized before exposing it to direct sunlight to prevent browning. To keep the plant growing straight you have to rotate it weekly or when you water it.

Don’t forget, like other indoor plants this plant does not like being moved when it is thriving in a nice bright spot and too much moving might make the plant drop large amounts of leaves.


Ficus Umbellata Watering

The plant prefers to be watered twice a week but the light intensity and growing conditions also play a role in your watering frequency. Keep the soil lightly moist in summer but avoid overwatering it and make sure water drains out well. Allow 3 inches of the topsoil to become dry between watering. 

After the plant matures, or when it is dormant in winter, it can withstand longer phases of dryness. It’s easy to tell when the plant is underwater when the leaves start drooping.


Ficus Umbellata Humidity 

This plant can tolerate average indoor humidity and doesn’t need supplemental humidity. While it might enjoy an occasional misting, water is primarily absorbed through its roots and not through its leaves, so make sure you water the plant appropriately.


Ficus Umbellata Temperature

This plant prefers temperatures around 65 – 85 °F and will not thrive in arid, extremely hot, or cold settings. It is also sensitive to cold air and drafts, so keep it away from air conditioning vents and heaters. 


Ficus Umbellata Soil

It prefers well-draining rich organic soil. Amendments of perlite or vermiculite will promote good drainage and prevent over-watering


Ficus Umbellata Repotting

This plant must be repotted every year. The nutritional content in the soil will start breaking down after some time and the soil will also have the aeration that it requires to stay healthy. Repotting will refresh the soil and encourage healthy growth. 

Indications that repotting is necessary include soil drying very rapidly and roots appearing from drainage holes. Use a heavy and slightly larger container when you repot the plant – terracotta is a suitable choice as it will promote aeration and help wick excess moisture away from the soil.


Ficus Umbellata Propagation

Propagation is best done from cuttings. Take a sharp blade and remove 6 to 7-inch long stem cuttings with leaves attached. When doing this, wear gloves because the sap could harm your skin.

After taking the cuttings, remove any lower leaves and let them dry for a callus to form – this will prevent fungal diseases or mold. Next, insert the cuttings stem first into a moistened mix of moss and sand, you can dip the ends in the rooting hormone for better success. 

Place the cuttings in a bright area and keep them lightly moistened until roots develop – this might take a few months so be patient. Once rooting and new foliar growth emerges, transplant the cuttings in bigger pots. 

Additional Care

This plant gets all its nutritional needs from the soil but it can get a boost by adding slow-release balanced fertilizer granules to the soil. Follow directions and apply as instructed.

Prune the plant late in winter or in early spring to remove dead branches and leaves. 

Lower leaves naturally drop when new leaves grow at the top, making the plant look bare. Trimming off top shoots can help encourage branching and make the plant look busier.

Ficus Umbellata Common Problems

Not many bugs attack this plant however, aphids and scales might make an appearance occasionally, to eliminate these pests wipe away any visible ones first using a cloth soaked with soapy water or alcohol and then the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil. If this doesn’t work, trim off affected foliage carefully. The wounds might provide easy access points for fungus or mold so keep an eye on the plant.

Stress caused by watering problems or by low humidity is usually the cause of leaves turning yellow. Check soil moisture levels. If the plant has been watered well and the soil isn’t soggy, mist the leaves to increase humidity as yellowing leaves could also be caused by dry air in winter. 

Brown leaves are typically a result of the plant not being acclimated to stronger light or from too direct sun exposure. Brown leaf tips appear when the plant lacks water or humidity. Misting the leaves and appropriate watering will prevent this problem. 

Root rot can attack the plant when it is overwatered or if water doesn’t drain properly. Signs include yellow leaves and mushy brown stems and roots. Repot the plant in well-draining soil after removing any dead foliage or roots.

Types of Ficus Plants

How big does a ficus Umbellata get?

This plant can reach around 4 feet tall and as wide when growing indoors in a container.

Can ficus Umbellata grow outside?

This plant can grow outdoors in warm climates provided it has protection from direct sun and frost. Locations in USDA zones 10-12 are best suited for growing it outdoors.

Why is my ficus Umbellata drooping?

If the plant’s leaves start drooping, it means that the plant is thirsty. Water it appropriately especially in summer. Changes in its environment can also trigger this, particularly seasonal temperature changes. This can also result in leaf drop.

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