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House Plants/Fica Tree Roots


We just got a new Fica tree from a neighbor who was moving.  The leaves are dropping and turning yuellow. I read your response about the tree adapting to a new environment and light.  That was good to learnand we realize there is some adjustment.  

Question:  The roots of the tree are showing near the trunk of the tree.  Is this normal?  Should we cover the roots with soil,bark or peet moss to prevent exposure?

Hi Emily,

Congratulations on your new acquisition. Ficus trees are always quick to shed leaves whenever they are relocated and the adjustment can last for several months or more. Locate your tree as close to your sunniest window as possible to ease the adjustment.

It is quite normal for Ficus tree roots to become exposed over time. This is mostly because the soil settles deeper into the pot. This is a gradual process and the tree responds by developing a bark-like protective covering over the roots as they are exposed to the air. Thus, there is no need to cover the roots. In fact, putting damp soil on top of these exposed roots can cause the bark-covering to rot. If you don't like the appearance of the exposed roots, then spread some Spanish moss or dry bark nuggets over the surface.

I have written an article on Ficus care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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