A Guide to the Best Ficus Plant Soil
Ficus houseplants are amongst the most popular houseplant species in the UK. This tropical houseplant is easy to look after and is ideal for first time houseplant owners. If you give this plant all its basic needs you can expect a plant that is happy, healthy and fast growing.
One of the main things you can do to support the healthy growth of your Ficus is to ensure that it has the best soil to grow in. In this guide we will take you through everything you need to know about the soil needs of your Ficus.
Why Does Soil Choice Matter?
Soil plays a big role in supporting the growth of your Ficus plants. It helps to keep the plant sturdy and rooted in place, but it also supplies your plant with all the nutrients and water your plant needs. However, the ability of your plant to absorb these nutrients will depend on the soil composition and how it interacts with the specific plant. How well the soil around your plant allows air and water to pass through it is vital to plant health.
The Ficus is a house plant that has adapted to living in specific soil conditions and by providing a potting mix that more closely resembles this, you are only benefiting your plant.
Signs That You are Using the Wrong Soil Mix For Your Ficus
One of the reasons that the Ficus is considered so easy to look after is because it will tell you when something is wrong. When the soil of your Ficus is not right, you will notice some changes in its appearance. These changes are temporary and will disappear quickly once replanted into a suitable soil. Some of the top signs of incorrect soil are:
Yellow leaves - yellowing leaves are a sign that your soil is retaining too much moisture. This stops the roots of your Ficus from absorbing nutrients and oxygen, causing root rot.The only way to undo this is to make sure that your soil has better drainage.
Leaf drop - A Ficus dropping its leaves is not an uncommon thing, and is usually their first reaction to a change in circumstances. If the plant is receiving enough sunlight and is regularly misted, the most common cause of leaf drop is soil that is too compact. This can suffocate the roots, causing them to die off. To overcome this you need to add elements to your soil that break it up and make it lighter such as perlite, bark and coir.
Fungal growth - Mushrooms in the pot or white fungal growth on the leaves and stem of your Ficus are a sign that your soil is too moist. This can be caused by overwatering or a soil that is not draining properly. In the first instance, adjust your watering schedule and apply a fungicide. If this doesn’t clear up the issue then it is likely that your soil needs to loosened so it drains more effectively.
Drooping - Drooping leaves can be the first sign that something is wrong with your soil. If you begin to see the leaves of your plant drooping you should check that your soil is draining properly and that it is not too compacted.
What Soil Conditions Are The Best For My Ficus?
The Ficus thrives in a neutral soil that has a PH between 6.5 and 7. Strongly acidic soil can irreparably damage the roots of your Ficus. Avoid soils that are designed for Roses and Azaleas as these are designed to be more acidic. All potting mixes will display the PH level on the packaging so always check before buying.
The most important element of growing a healthy Ficus is to have well draining soil. Too much or too little water can cause damage to the plant's roots. A well draining soil that retains the right amount of moisture will enable your Ficus to thrive. To get your soil into this sweet spot you can mix gravel or orchid bark into your soil along with a small amount of vermiculite. This combination creates a soil that lets excess water flow through it whilst holding onto and slowly releasing just enough to keep the moisture levels of the soil consistent.
Ficus Soil FAQ
How often should I change my Ficus’s soil?
Ficus plants are fast growing and will quickly deplete their soil of helpful nutrients. Applying fertiliser and feed to the soil regularly can extend its life, but is likely to lead to a build up of harmful substances in the soil. We would recommend that you change your plant's soil once a year just before the growing season. This will allow you to refresh the nutrients and avoid having your plant in a soil that is too compacted.
Can I Use Cactus Soil For My Ficus?
Cactus soil is a very well draining soil that has been designed to suit the specific low-moisture needs of that type of plant. This type of soil is too dry to use on its own for a ficus plant. If you do have extra cactus soil that you want to get rid of then you can mix a small amount into a normal potting mix to increase its drainage speed.
If you want the perfect potting soil for your Ficus house plant, we’ve got the perfect solution. Our Ficus & Palm Potting Mix contains the right mix of charcoal, coir, bark, fine pumice, sand and worm coatings so you don’t have to worry about whether your soil mix is right.