House Plants/fica leaves


Should dead fica leaves be cleared from the potted fica's soil?

Hi Dianna,

In general, it is best to remove dead leaves from the soil of any potted plant or tree. Outdoors, leaves will break down into soil over time due to exposure to weather, bacteria and insects. But that doesn't happen indoors so there is no reason to keep the dead leaves around.
In fact, dead leaves occasionally will atract insect pests or provide a place for them to hide and breed.

So go ahead and remove all dead leaves and dispose of them. It will make the plant look neater. If you don't like the appearance of the soil, you can cover it lightly with Spanish moss as a top dressing.

As I am sure you know, Ficus trees drop lots of leaves (more when they don't get enough light, are relocated or not watered properly). Each time you water, grab the trunk and give it a vigorous shake. Any loose leaves that are likely to fall in the next several days will come down. I find it easier to pick up a bunch of leaves all at once rather than  a few every day.

I have a written detailed article 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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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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