Growing A Long-Lasting Ficus: Caring for A Large Ficus Tree Indoors

Large Potted Indoor Ficus Trees
(Image credit: Benjamin Toegel)

Ficus tree size and lifespan are important considerations when choosing to grow this popular houseplant. In the wild, these are tall trees. Indoors, you can restrict growth by growing them in containers. 

Growing Ficus Indoors 

Ficus is infamously finicky. Outside its native range, confined to a pot indoors, it can be difficult to grow. Ficus trees need bright light. They like regular watering but will struggle if the soil stays damp all the time. They also don’t like to be moved, so find the best spot and stick with it. 

If you want to attempt growing a ficus inside, understand its needs first. You’ll want to consider how long it will grow and as well as how big it could get in order to provide it with the best conditions. 

How Tall Do Ficus Trees Grow? 

The natural height and the houseplant height of a ficus are two different things. Height also varies depending on which ficus you grow. 

  • Ficus benjamina is the most common houseplant ficus. Also known as weeping fig, it’s native to southeast Asia and can grow up to 40 feet (12 m.) there. As a houseplant, it is usually about 10 feet (3 m.) tall. 
  • Ficus elastica is also popular for its attractive foliage. Also known as rubber tree, this plant is native to South Asia and can grow up to 100 feet (30.5 m.) tall. In a container, you can reasonably keep F. elastica 6 to 10 feet (2-3 m.) tall. 
  • Ficus lyrata, also known as fiddle-leaf fig, this African native grows to 100 feet (30.5 m.) in its home range. Indoors, you can cap it at 10 feet (3 m.). 

Growing it in a container will naturally keep a tall ficus tree smaller. To maintain a reasonable size, don’t replant into a larger pot until it is very root bound. Give it a new container that is only a little bit bigger. 

How Long Do Ficus Trees Live? 

The ficus lifespan is long compared to some other houseplants. These are large trees in their native ranges, so they have lifespans comparable to trees. 

How long a ficus tree lives indoors depends on its care and growing conditions. If you do everything right, it can live for decades. Some people have grown the same tree in a container for 40 plus years. 

That a ficus can grow tall and live for many years is a great reason to consider it as a houseplant. The care you put into growing a ficus will reward you with years of plant companionship. 

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.