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Ficus Nitida: All you need to know about the Ficus Microcarpa Nitida 

The Ficus Nitida is an evergreen perennial tree plant that is native to the tropical regions present in Hawaii and Asia. 

Ficus Microcarpa Nitida

It belongs to the Moraceae family and is a member of the Ficus genus. One of the largest trees to come from the family, the Nitida Ficus variety can grow as tall as 60 feet while spreading as wide as 75 feet. 

The Ficus variety goes by a lot of names, some of which include; Ficus Microcarpa, Chinese Banyan, Indian Laurel, Malayan Banyan, and Curtain Fig. 

It has a lot of uses, as it can be grown indoors with proper maintenance and pruning as a small bonsai tree. The plant also makes a great ficus hedge plant and shade tree. 

Be careful when planting the Ficus Nitida as an outdoor plant as it is known to have protruding or invasive roots which could damage other structures and plants next to it. 

Its toxicity level is high, so do be careful to keep it out of the reach of children and pets. 

Botanical NameFicus Nitida or Ficus Microcarpa
Common NamesChinese Banyan, Indian Laurel, Malayan Banyan, Curtain Fig
OriginAsia and Hawaii
Plant TypeEvergreen perennial, tree plant 
Full Size60 feet tall, 75 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sunlight, can survive partial sunlight 
Soil TypeRich Sandy or Loamy well-draining soil 
ToxicityToxic to children and pets when eaten 

Ficus Nitida Care

When it comes to caring, the Ficus Nitida hedge tree ranges between average to high maintenance. For proper growth, their basic pruning, light, water, temperature, and soil requirements would need to be met. 

Ficus Nitida Care


Ficus Nitida Light Requirement

Irrespective of whether it is being grown as an indoor or outdoor plant, the Ficus Nitida does require adequate sunlight to flourish. 

It favors direct sunlight the most. However, the tree plant can survive in an area with indirect or partial sunlight. 

Too little sunlight for the Ficus Nitida would lead to stunted growth so you have to ensure that the light intensity being provided is adequate. 

When growing the Nitida as an indoor plant, consider moving the Ficus Nitida bonsai tree plant to an area of the house where there is enough access to bright but indirect sunlight. 

This is to help in controlling the growth of the Ficus Indian laurel. Using a light curtain to provide shade is a good practice.

Ficus Nitida Water Requirement 

Most members of the Ficus genus require regular watering to stay strong and healthy, and the Ficus Nitida or Ficus Microcarpa is no exception. 

But you do have to be careful when watering the evergreen plant so as not to leave its roots soggy or wet. Wet soil is harmful to the plant as it leaves the plant susceptible to fungal attacks that cause root rot. 

What you should aim for is moist soil that is kept moist at all times, this can be done through drip irrigation. 

Watering should be done after you are certain that the soil is almost dry. A good practice would be to use your finger to check the moisture level of the soil. 

Feel the top part of the soil with your finger, if it feels almost dry, you can then proceed to water. 

Make sure the water used in watering is free from chlorine and of the room or normal temperature so as not to stress the tree’s invasive roots.

Limit the frequency at which you water the Ficus tree during the winter season. Watering can be done once or twice a week during the hot summer season and once in 2 to 3  weeks during the winter season

Ficus Nitida Soil Requirement

Ficus Nitida Soil Requirement
Life Tree Nursery

A good thing about the Ficus Nitida is that it isn’t picky on the soil type being used. When grown outdoors, good sandy or loam soil would be okay for the plant. 

Ensure that it is rich in organic matter and well-draining so as to not accumulate water during watering. 

When growing indoors, be sure to use a good potting mix that is well-draining and rich.  You could mix 1 part potting soil, with 1 part peat, 1 part leaf earth, and 1 part sand to get healthy growth.

Keep the pH level between a little acidic and neutral, the best value with a range between 5.5 to 7.5. 

Ficus Nitida Fertilizer Requirement 

Fertilizer is a crucial aspect of Ficus Nitida care, as this has to be done during its growing season to encourage proper growth. 

You could make use of a good water-soluble fertilizer or make use of organic fertilizer. Whatever you decide to use would be fine for the Nitida Ficus as it isn’t picky when it comes to fertilizer. 

When using a liquid fertilizer, make sure it is diluted to about 50% of its initial strength to get the best results. 

Deep watering the Nidia tree’s soil is recommended to get rid of the residual soil that might be left from excess fertilizing. Ensure the water leaves the soil through the drainage holes located at the base of the pot.

Fertilizing should be done every week or 2 weeks during the summer to spring seasons. During the winter to fall seasons, limit fertilizing to once in 2 weeks or once in a month. 

Ficus Nitida Temperature and Humidity Requirement   

Ficus Nitida Temperature and Humidity Requirement   
Plant Master

The Ficus Nitida loves a zone with high humidity. So ensure this is provided for the plant at all times. 

You could try wetting the plant every day with a spraying bottle or make use of a humidifier to achieve the best results. 

The ideal temperature for the Indian laurel Ficus Nitida should range between 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature levels below 60 degrees Fahrenheit are bad for the tree plant.  Ensure the plant is protected from frost during the winter. 

Propagating the Ficus Nitida 

Because the Ficus Nitida tree doesn’t produce seeds often they can be propagated by two vegetative methods, which are;

  • Air Layering 
  • Stem cuttings

Do ensure you wear a protective hand glove when propagating as the plant’s sap can cause irritation to the skin. 

Pruning Requirement for the Ficus Nitida 

Pruning is essential for popper Ficus Nitida growth. When growing indoors, you would need to prune the plant to get the desired height. However, avoid pruning one-third of the entire plant at once as it would damage the plant. 

Your pruning tools should be kept clean and sterilized before use. And ensure you wear protective gloves before pruning. 


V&P Nurseries

The Nitida Ficus hedge plant has a high toxic level and as such should not be ingested by both people and pets. When grown indoors, keep the potted plant away from the reach of children and pets. 

If you notice that a child or pet has eaten from the plant be quick to call a licensed health professional and monitor the child or pet for signs and symptoms that might develop.

Common Health Problems of the Ficus Nitida 

A wide variety of factors can lead to health problems for the Ficus Nitida. Improper maintenance or pests and diseases can prove dangerous to the plant. Here are a few;

  • Yellow leaves
  • Leave drop
  • Root Rot 
  • Spider mites 
  • Scale

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ficus Trees be used for privacy?

Yes, you can use ficus trees for privacy as their large spread could act as great covers in reducing sound waves.

How fast do ficus nitida trees grow? 

Ficus trees can grow as fast as 36 in a year under the right conditions.

What is the difference between Ficus nitida and Indian laurel?

The Indian laurel is another name for the Ficus Nitida plant.

How far apart do you plant Ficus nitida?

When planting the Ficus Nitida for hedges, keep them 3 feet apart.

Which ficus is best for a hedge?

Of all Ficus genus varieties, the Ficus Nitida or Ficus Microcarpa is the best variety to be used for hedges.