Identify My Plant: Can Ficus Live Outside in Winter

Please identify my houseplant and tell me if it can live outside for the winter.

Hi Michele,

Your plant is a Ficus benjamina and it definitely cannot survive outside for the winter. Ficus trees prefer temperatures between 65-85°F (18.3°29.4°C). Here  are some houseplant tips to help you care for your ficus tree.

Light: Ficus Trees, especially the Benjamina and Wintergreen varieties, need very bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.. New varieties called Ficus of the Future can survive in medium and even low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron.. Examples of Ficus of the Future are the Monique Ficus with ruffled green leaves, the Midnight Ficus with green/black leavers, and the Ficus Alli with elongated leaves. Direct sun burns the leaves of all ficus trees.

Water: Allow the top 25% of the soil to dry out before watering. Under-watering causes the leaves to turn yellow. Green leaves fall off and new growth turns black when a ficus is over-watered. A ficus tree does best when you try to follow a consistent watering schedule.

Feeding:  Feed monthly in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing with a balanced houseplant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.

You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.