House Plants/Fica plant


How should we treat a FICA plant that was exposed to freezing temps for couple nights! It is in a pot that was on covered porch on west side of house in South louisiana.

Hi Harold,

The recent cold wave has brought me lots of inquiries similar to yours. First, make sure your Ficus tree is now in a warm location and stays there. The leaves are the most vulnerable part of any plant. They will discolor and fall off and there is nothing you can do about that.

Your tree's future depends on the condition of the roots. Unlike the foliage, the roots are somewhat protected from the cold by the insulating effect of the pot and soil, so they may not be too badly damaged. If so, you should see signs of healthy new shoots emerging within a few weeks. This will require patience, but not much else. There are no "cures" for cold damage.

Your tree will use a bit less water than it did before, so be careful not to over-water. Provide as much direct sun light as possible. Do NOT repot or otherwise disturb the roots. Fertilize is intended for healthy, vigorously growing plants, so it will not help.

You may want to prune back long stems that have lost most of their leaves. New leaf growth always occurs at the tip ends of the stems and branches. Pruning will help keep the tree full and compact.

I have written detailed articles on cold damage and on Ficus care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

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

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Horticultural Help, NYC

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Harold - What was unclear in my reply and what knowledge was I lacking?

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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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