How Fast Do Ficus Trees Grow? (How Big They Become?)


How fast do ficus trees grow

Ask 100 people what their favorite indoor tree is and I’m sure the vast majority of them will say some type of Ficus. With over 850 species worldwide, Ficus is easily one of the most popular trees out there. One consideration you might want to know before buying any however is exactly how fast do Ficus trees grow? 

Ficus trees will typically grow between 12 to 36 inches (30 to 91cm) per year depending on the species. If left unpruned most Ficus will grow to 25 feet (7.6m) in 10 years, when they are most productive. Following this, Ficus can reach up to 70 feet (21m) over the next 40 years. 

So how can you make your Ficus grow faster and live longer? Do Ficus you keep indoors grow at the same rate as Ficus that is grown in the wild? And are Ficus trees that are used for bonsai faster or slower growing? Keep reading to find out more!

How fast do Ficus trees grow? 

Now despite having grown a few Ficus trees myself these past years, I wanted to get the most comprehensive answer on how fast Ficus trees grow. 

As such, I got in touch with a fere horticultural experts, reached out to my local botanical gardens, and did a quick survey of 20 Plant Paladin readers who keep Ficus. 

To summarize: 

  • Most Ficus trees will grow between 12 and 36 inches per year.
  • This is between 30cm to 91cm per year 
  • Depending on the health of your tree it will grow faster or slower 
  • Ficus trees then will grow best when kept in an environment closer to their natural habitat – hot tropical conditions. 
  • Most of the Ficus trees that are kept indoors have been specially bred to grow near the bottom end of the spectrum (12 to 15 inches) to make them practical for indoor use. 
  • Ficus however that are grown in the wild will grow at the higher end of the spectrum, between 30 to 36 inches. 
  • The speed at which a Ficus grows however will vary greatly from species to species
  • Ginseng Ficus for example, which is commonly used for bonsai keeping will typically grow between 1 to 5 inches per year when compared to Ficus Macrophylla (commonly known as Moreton Bay Fig) which can add 20 to 30 feet of growth in one year. 
  • Most Ficus will grow the most in their first 10 years when they are most productive. 

How fast do ficus trees grow - Survey

How fast do Ficus grow – survey 

So as mentioned I didn’t want to just give the measurements that I have seen with my own Ficus trees, or go off some commonplace guidance found online on how fast Ficus trees grow. 

As such, I did a quick survey of 20 plant paladin readers asking them how fast their Ficus trees grow. 

How fast do Ficus trees grow – survey methodology

Now to summarize the method I used, the three main questions I asked were: 

  • How much height their Ficus adds per year 
  • The total height of their Ficus 
  • If they keep their Ficus indoors or outdoors 
  • If they use their Ficus for bonsai trees

These questions were asked for a few reasons. 

First, having grown bonsai trees in the past, I know that my Ficus bonsai tends to grow at a much slower rate than my other Ficus trees, as such, it would prove if this trend was true or not. 

Secondly, with there being well over 850 species of Ficus out there, it would give a practical indication of what most people keep as a Ficus – it’s unlikely that a lot of you reading this will be growing a super fast-growing Ficus like the Moreton Bay Fig. 

Finally, it will show if there is any significant difference between growing a Ficus indoors and outdoors. 

How fast do Ficus trees grow – survey results

How much height does a Ficus add per year

How fast do ficus trees grow

Most Ficus trees according to the survey grow between 15 and 25 inches (38 to 63cm) per year – this is well in between the range of 12 to 36 inches (30 to 91cm)

Total height of a Ficus 

How tall is your ficus tree?

The responses to this question showed that most people’s Ficus were between 11 inches (30cm) to 65 inches (167cm). 

This suggests that whilst Ficus can grow large, most people keeping Ficus tend to prune them to keep them indoors 

Is Ficus kept indoors or outdoors? 

is your ficus kept indoors or outdoors?

The vast majority of people in the survey keep their Ficus indoors, which can help explain the smaller growth and smaller size of the Ficus. If Ficus were kept in the wild or outdoors, we could expect larger sizes 

If they use their Ficus for bonsai trees. 

Do you use ficus for bonsai- How fast do ficus trees grow

As you can see, there is a pretty even split between keeping Ficus for bonsai and keeping them as a general houseplant. 

From this, we can derive that most people keep their trees indoors. 

Problems with the survey

So whilst the survey did a good job of backing up the recommendations of between 12 to 36 inches (30 to 91cm) per year, the survey should only be seen as anecdotal at best. 

This is because we didn’t go into too much information about the different species of Ficus and had a very small sample size of 20 participants only. 

How fast do Ficus trees grow – what do the experts say

As mentioned, I also got in touch with my local botanical gardens and spoke with one of the employees who worked there about how fast Ficus trees grow.

Their response was: 

“Ficus used in bonsai will typically grow about 5 inches per year but Ficus used generally indoors can add about 30cm per year”

What species of Ficus grows the fastest

Moreton Bay Figs are typically the fastest-growing Ficus species and can add up to 20 to 30 feet of growth per year in their first ten years. As such Moreton Bay Figs can exceed 200 feet in height in the wild. 

Rubber Figs (Ficus Elastica), are also fast-growing and can add 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5M) of growth per year, reaching over 100 feet in the wild. 

Now with there being well over 850 species of Ficus, there will be a huge difference in the variation of how fast Ficus trees grow. 

As such, I’ve put together a table below that highlights some of the most common Ficus species, how fast they grow per year, and what their maximum height is: 

Ficus Species

Growth rate

Average growth per year

Total height

Ginseng Ficus

Slow

1-5 inches per year

70 inches

Ficus Elastica

Fast

10 to 15 feet

100 feet

Indian Banyan

Fast

10 to 15 feet

100 feet

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Medium

12 to 36 inches

144 inches

Chinese Banyan

Medium

12 to 36 inches

144 inches

Red Leaf Fig

Medium

12 to 36 inches

144 inches

Common Fig

Medium

12 to 36 inches

144 inches

Moreton Bay Figs

Fast

20 to 30 feet

200 feet

Fiddlelaf Fig

Medium

12 to 36 inches

144 inches

Ficus Benjamina (Weeping Fig)

Medium

12 to 36 inches

144 inches

How fast do Ficus trees grow indoors? 

Ficus trees grow between 12 and 36 inches (30 to 91cm). When kept indoors. This is because most Ficus trees that are kept indoors ornamentally have been bred to grow slower than outdoor Ficus.

Indoor Ficus typically grows to 40 inches in their first ten years and max out at around 70 inches if left unpruned. 

How fast do Ficus trees grow outdoors? 

Ficus trees that are grown outdoors, planted in the ground, and grown in their natural environment typically grow between 10 to 30 feet per year and can reach upwards of 100 feet. 

Potted Ficus species that are grown outdoors in warmer climates will grow between 12 to 36 inches per year. 

Ficus trees grown outdoors in cooler climates will grow substantially less and in some cases fail to spout new growth. 

How big do Ficus trees become?

Ficus trees that have been manufactured to grow indoors will typically reach a maximum height of 144 inches. Wild Ficus trees can reach upwards of 100 feet in some species such as Moreton Bay Figs. 

How fast does commercial Ficus grow? 

Commercially grown Ficus are Ficus that has been grown on fields in their native climates such as India, Turkey, and Africa. 

These trees are mainly grown for the fruit they grow (figs also known as berries) and as such, will typically grow faster than homegrown commercial Ficus trees. 

Commercial Ficus then will typically add around 10 feet of growth per year and will be productive for about 10 to 15 years. 

How fast does ornamental Ficus grow? 

On the other side of things, we have ornamental Ficus.

Ornamental Ficus is the everyday Ficus trees you see in homes and gardening stores. 

These Ficus have been purpose-bred to make the perfect indoor trees. 

Now that being said, if you were to live in a warmer climate and plant these in the ground they would grow to about 70 feet tall and wide. 

Most people however will be growing these types of trees indoors, in climates that are much cooler than what they are accustomed to. 

As such, these trees will typically add between 12 to 36 inches of growth per year. These trees will be most productive in their first 20 years. 

Most Ficus however will be pruned when kept indoors and so it is rare to find an ornamental Ficus that is larger than 144 inches in height indoors. 

How fast do wild Ficus trees grow? 

Wild Ficus trees will typically grow between 3 and 30 feet per year depending on the species. Most Ficus will add 10 feet of growth in the wild per year and will reach a maximum height of between 70 and 150 feet. 

When will Ficus trees grow the most? 

Ficus trees will grow the most during the first 10 to 20 years of their lives when they are most productive. After this, they can grow about half as much in the remaining life as they did in the first 10 to 20 years. 

Ficus will also grow the most during the spring and summer when they have the most access to direct sunlight. 

How fast will Ficus hedges grow?

Ficus hedges on average grow 2 feet per year (24 inches, 61cm). In total Ficus, hedges can reach 25 feet tall. The best species to plant for Ficus hedges would be Ficus Microcarpa. 

How fast do Ficus bonsai trees grow? 

Ficus used for bonsai, such as Ginseng Ficus, will typically grow between 3 to 5 inches per year. This is significantly less than Ficus used for other horticultural activities. This is due to the miniaturization process that slows down the tree’s growth cycle. 

Ficus bonsai, however, do live significantly longer than regular Ficus trees, averaging 100 years in age with some Ficus bonsai living for thousands of years

What species of Ficus grows the fastest? 

Moreton Bay Figs, also known as Ficus Macrophylla, are the fastest-growing species of Ficus. These trees can add 20 to 30 feet of growth per year and reach heights over 200 feet in the wild. 

What species of Ficus grows the slowest? 

Ginseng Ficus is typically the slowest growing species of Ficus. This Ficus will only grow between 3 and 5 inches per year and reach a maximum height of 70 inches if left unpruned. This is one of the reasons why Ginseng’s Ficus is so popular for its use in the art of bonsai. 

How to make your Ficus grow faster? 

To make your Ficus grow faster, you must maintain regular care of your Ficus. 

One of the problems that a lot of you reading this will run into, keeping your Ficus indoors is not managing the sunlight levels of your Ficus. 

Ficus tres require a lot of sunlight if kept indoors. 

Aim to place them near a south-facing window and allow it to get 4 to 6 hours of light per day. 

Now, this can be manipulated to further speed up how fast your Ficus grows by adding a grow light with a full light spectrum which will drastically improve the photosynthesis process of your tree indoors. 

Keeping Ficus indoors means that it is a lot more likely to dry out due to the dry air in a lot of our homes. 

As such, check the topsoil of your Ficus trees regularly. 

Most Ficus will benefit from being watered around once to twice per week. 

Now a sneaky trick you can follow to further make your Ficus grow faster is just regularly defoliate the leaves of your tree. This will force new leaf growth, causing faster tree growth. 

Finally, to whack your Ficus tree in high gear and make it grow faster, consider fertilizing your tree. 

Using something like liquid fertilizer can rapidly speed up the process of growth in your tree. 

Ficus care guide 

Now to help with the points I laid out above, I’ve included a care guide for Ficus in the table below. 

Whilst this is focused solely on Ginseng Ficus, most Ficus will benefit from the care requirements below: 

Ginseng Ficus Bonsai tree Requirements

Explained

Water

Once per day in the spring-summer or if kept indoors. Once per week if kept outdoors during the winter. Only water if dry to touch.

Sunlight

4 hours of direct sunlight in the summer. LED grow light can also be used.

Temperature

Between 60 degrees F and 100 degrees F

Fertilizer

Fertilize 18 times per year, twice per month between spring and summer. Once per month in the fall and winter

Repotting

Once every 2 to 3 years in the first 10 years. You can then report once every 5 years

Placement

Can be placed outdoors in direct sunlight or indoors in a bright spot.

Wire type

Both copper and aluminum wire can be used.

Time to grow from scratch into maturity

8 to 12 years to reach full maturity

Potting soil

An inorganic Akdama, volcanic ash soil mix works best.

Growth type

Slow growing, averaging 3-5 inches per year

Size

Average store-bought trees are size is one or two-handed bonsai trees - 3 to 10 inches in size, 2 to 8 inches wide

Lifespan

50 to 150 years

Fruit

figs

How long does it take for Ficus to reach maturity? 

Ficus trees, grown both indoors and outdoors will typically take about 10 years to mature, and reach 20 to 30 feet in height. Ficus trees used in bonsai will typically mature in 3 to five years.

How long do ficus trees live - lifecycle

Years

Lifespan

1-3

Infancy

3-20

Adulthood/maturity

20-40

Slow decline

40+

Steep decline

Do Ficus with figs grow faster than Ficus without figs? 

There is no correlation between the growth rate of Ficus trees that produce figs and Ficus trees that do not produce figs. The most important factor in the growth of Ficus is the care and species of the Ficus 

Also, just a heads up, Ficus does not typically produce flowers either, so this will not impact the speed of the growth of your tree. 

This post was written by Fehed Nicass who has been passionate about bonsai for over 3 years. He currently resides in the UK and works in sales.

Fehed Nicass

Fehed Nicass has been passionate about all things bonsai and botany focused for the past 3 years. What started out as a hobby has developed as a passion and he is now on a mission to teach and learn.

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