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What To Plant Under A Ficus Tree

An outdoor ficus tree has vigorous roots while a ficus houseplant is quite demanding to care for. That said, you should carefully choose what to plant under it. You want to know what plant options you have, and that's why we researched and gathered the most suitable ones. So what can you plant under a ficus tree?

You can plant palms, dumb cane, and umbrella plants under a ficus tree. These are suitable companion plants for Ficus, but your choices are not limited to just these. Plants that adapt to consistently moist soil, and partial shade may also be great choices to plant under it. You can even plant another ficus next to a ficus tree.

You have your answer, but we believe there's more that you should know. Understanding the needs of your ficus tree as well as its companion plant improves the chances of making two plants in one environment thrive together. So continue reading to learn more.

A Banyan ficus tree with invasive roots, What To Plant Under A Ficus Tree

Knowing Your Ficus Tree

Ficus, with more than 800 species, belongs to the Moraceae family. Some species of Ficus grow as tall as 30 meters in an ideal environment. Some varieties are small enough to be grown indoors. While outdoor types do not need too much care and attention, those grown indoors need more TLC.

Characteristics of the Ficus Tree

Ficus trees are known to be vigorous trees with shiny, dark green leaves and solid tan stems. Only mature trees bear flowers, but these flowers resemble a fruit-like appearance, which is the unique feature of ficus trees. 

Majestic tree in royal botanical gardens

Known to have invasive roots, ficus trees should be planted strategically. Otherwise, the integrity of your sidewalks, driveways, etc., becomes at risk of cracks and destruction.

This is why it is often difficult to find companion plants for outdoor ficus trees. You might have to maintain a safe distance, or the neighboring plants will be affected. Plants in pots are probably the most straightforward approach, giving you more options for what to plant under a ficus tree.

Ficus Trees as Indoor Plants

Ficus Benjamina tree or weeping fig in brown pot

Some varieties of the ficus tree are smaller and may be grown in pots at home. If you have Ficus for a houseplant, you should know how to care for it properly. Indoor Ficus is more sensitive than those in the outdoor environment. Meeting all of its needs is a must to keep it healthy all year round.

One of the basic needs of an indoor ficus tree is slightly acidic, moist soil. The soil should be moist all the time, which means regular watering in moderation is a must. But remember that overwatering is as bad as overwatering. Too much or too little water can cause the leaves of a ficus tree to fall off and then the plant eventually dies.

On the other hand, there is a different consideration during the winter season. Ficus trees do not need as much watering during this time. And while some ficus trees might be able to survive the hibernation period without much trouble, other ficus plants lose their leaves due to temperature and humidity changes.

Although a houseplant, sunlight is also important for ficus trees in the indoor environment. Your ficus tree should get 6 hours of daylight each day or must be placed near the window. 

It is also worth mentioning that indoor ficus trees do not bear flowers, but both indoor and outdoor ficus trees have poisonous sap.

Now that you know what a ficus tree requires to grow healthy, it should be easier to pick a plant that would go with it. You should pair it up with a plant that has the same needs as your ficus tree.

What to Plant Under a Ficus Tree

Plants that require both full sun and partial shade, consistently moist soil, and a slightly acidic environment are ideal companion plants for a ficus tree. Because the ficus tree root system becomes invasive as it grows older, you should also consider plants that don't have roots that spread too much. 

Here are some best companion plants for a ficus tree.

Palms

Plant next to grey corner sofa in african living room interior with poster and pouf

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor garden and would like to fill the space under the ficus tree with a new plant, choosing palms will not disappoint. Palms also love slightly acidic soil that is between 6 and 8 pH levels, whereas the ficus tree requires a pH level between 6 and 6.5.

Palms do not grow as fast as the ficus tree. Outdoor palms grow 3-10 inches yearly, but when planted indoors, they don't grow this much. The ficus tree can grow up to 3 feet yearly in an outdoor environment. Since they are pruned as houseplants, their height is maintained for longer periods.

Some best indoor palms you can plant under a ficus tree include the parlor palm, cascade palm, and majestic palm. These palms love moist soil and can tolerate bright light. 

Umbrella Plant

While this plant originated from the Arabian Peninsula, West Africa, and Madagascar, it is now available anywhere in the world. Umbrella plants are easy to care for and require very low maintenance. They can adapt well to humidity changes and can survive outdoor conditions all year round. 

Umbrella plant

You might want to be careful when planting umbrella tree plants outside because they can become invasive. Depending on the variety, they can grow up to 30 feet in the outdoor environment but would only be around 3 meters at most at home. 

Umbrella plants can withstand direct indoor light and even low light, although they become leggy under a weak light source.

Before deciding to plant an umbrella tree under your Ficus, you should know that this plant is poisonous to pets. It uses chemicals, including calcium oxalates and terpenoids, for natural defense which are harmful to dogs and other animals.

Dumb Cane

Dumb canes

Dumb cane, also called leopard lily, is one of the most common houseplants. It is a good choice to plant under a ficus tree as well because it requires evenly moist soil and tolerates low or bright light.

When it receives little light, you will notice more distinguished color variegation on its leaves. With leaves in bright yellow and green combination, this plant may make a great pair with your ficus tree's glossy, dark green leaves.

Dumb canes are easy to take care of. They love being watered regularly, but like the ficus tree, you should reduce watering during winter.

One important thing to know about dumb canes is that they should be handled carefully. Its body is covered with poisonous needles, which, although rare, can cause serious harm to people and animals. Avoid getting in contact with its sap as well. Make sure to wash your hands after an accidental contact.

Another Ficus Tree

Why look anywhere else when the answer could be right in front of you? Of course, it is possible to plant another ficus next to a ficus tree. In gardening, Ficus has a reputation for being used as a hedge. A ficus hedge requires growing ficus plants together but maintaining uniform gaps in between.

Ficus as hedges usually requires at least 2 feet of space between each plant. You probably won't need as much when you plant two ficus trees in a pot as houseplants because they would not grow too much. Also, clipping or pruning helps keep them from growing wider in width.

View these 5-pack pruning shears on Amazon.

If you are going to plant two ficus trees outside together, remember that their roots are invasive. Plan the area where you will grow them to avoid destroying structures and plants nearby. 

How Close to the House Can you Plant a Ficus?

Most plant experts do not recommend planting a ficus tree near a house or other structures like driveways and sidewalks. If you want to plant a Ficus near your home, make sure the tree is at least 8 meters away. The invasive roots of the ficus tree are notorious for causing problems when the tree does not get regular pruning and reaches full maturity.

Furthermore, remember that Ficus trees can grow incredibly tall outdoors and can spread as much as 15 meters in width. It is therefore safest to keep a good distance between your house and a ficus tree or consider not planting one at all in proximity. 

Final Thoughts

Ficus trees have invasive root systems that might make it difficult to grow plants under them. And while the indoor varieties need more care and attention, these things do not limit you from growing other plants around them.

There are suitable companion plants for ficus trees, such as palms, the dumb cane, and umbrella plants. You may even plant different kinds under ficus trees, provided the growing conditions they adapt to are the same as ficus trees.

We have other exciting posts related to ficus trees. You might want to read:

How Big Does A Weeping Fig Grow? How Fast?

Do Weeping Fig Trees Bear Fruit?