How To Take Care Of A Fake Ficus Tree (Complete guide!)

How to take care of a fake ficus tree

Ficus trees (also commonly known as Fig Trees) are among the most popular indoor plant species. With over 850 different species, Ficus trees make for excellent bonsai trees. Now Ficus species require a lot of sunlight, so the popularity of fake Ficus trees is booming. A common question I have then for my fake Ficus is how to take care of a fake ficus tree? 

To care for a fake Ficus, use a duster to remove all dust. For excessive stains and dust, spray with compressed air or mix a solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray your tree. Then individually wipe down each of the leaves of the tree. 

So what are the different methods you can follow in cleaning a fake Ficus? And what strategies should you avoid? Keep reading to find out how to take care of a fake ficus tree!

Just a quick heads up, over the past three years of running Plantpaladin, hundreds of people have asked for product recommendations. As such, You can find my favorite indoor bonsai tree here (link takes you to Bonsaiboy), my favorite outdoor bonsai tree (link takes you to Bonsaiboy), or have a look at all the products I recommend here

How to take care of a fake ficus tree?

Fake trees can make a massive difference to our homes and are scientifically proven to help reduce stress

While fake Ficus trees can add a much-needed pop of color in a lot of our dreary homes, the truth is these can be dust magnets. 

After a few days in my bathroom, my fake Ficus was slowly collecting dust in many hard-to-reach areas. 

I needed to clean my fake Ficus, so I got in touch with a few cleaning experts and surveyed 10 Plant Paladin readers who keep artificial Ficus trees indoors – asking them how to take care of a fake Ficus tree and more importantly, how to clean a fake Ficus tree. 

To summarize: 

  • Cleaning a fake Ficus or other fake plants with a fabric or feather duster once per week will usually be enough to keep a fake Ficus clean. 
  • For fake Ficus trees that are especially dirty, you will need to deep clean your faux Ficus. 

Other methods to clean a fake Ficus that have excessive amounts of dust, dirt, and grime build-up then include: 

  • Individually cleaning the leaves with a damp cloth or wet wipe
  • Spraying the fake Ficus with a solution of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and wiping down 
  • Using compressed air to force the dust out from hard to reach areas 
  • Place the fake Ficus in a bowl of warm water and liquid soap 
  • Placing the fake Ficus in the shower 
  • Use cornflower and black back to shake the dust out of your tree. 

Each of these methods will vary in results, but I recommend doing a deep clean at least once every three months between gentle dust downs to ensure your Ficus remains clean. 

How to take care of a fake ficus tree - infographic

Let’s explore these cleaning options in more detail:

Use a duster 

The best and most frequent method to remove dust from your fake Ficus would be to use a duster or brush. 

Using a duster is the fastest method and can take as little as three to four minutes to do. 

What is good about this method is it allows you to keep on top of the dirt on your fake Ficus, meaning you won’t have to deep clean your Ficus as frequently. 

I like to do this once per week – I keep my fake Ficus in the shower room, making it convenient for me to do so. 

While feather dusters can work well for this, using a fabric or microfibre duster will work best. 

Extend the duster to the right size for your faux Ficus and place your duster on the larger leaves of your fake Ficus and then push the dust away from the tree. 

It is essential not to shimmy the duster around and stick to one smooth direction that you will move the dust off the tree. 

Wipe the fake Ficus away from the leaves

Shimmying the duster around will instead cause the dust to get stuck in the hard-to-reach areas of your tree. 

In terms of a duster, I recommend considering using a duster with an expandable handle – something like the Delux microfibre duster works best – you can grab it here (the link takes you to Amazon) 

Wipe with a cloth 

A better option than using a general duster is to use a microfibre cloth or wet wipe to wipe down the fake Ficus. 

This method will be slightly more time-consuming than using a duster – typically taking 10 to 15 minutes to clean a small fake Ficus tree compared to the 2 to 3 minutes of using a duster. 

While you can use a dry cloth for this, in my experience, soaking a cloth and then ringing it dry allows for the best results. 

To use then: 

Start by rinsing and ringing your microfibre cloth. 

Wet your cloth
ring the microfibre cloth

Start with the large leaves, and again, wipe the leaves down away from the direction of the tree. 

Wipe down the fake leaf

Ensure you don’t forget about the bottom of the leaves. 

Wipe the bottom of the leaves

If the cloth gets too dusty on one side, fold it to use the clean part of the cloth. 

Repeat the process until you get to the smallest leaves. 

Then wipe down the pot and fake soil of the artificial Ficus tree with the same cloth. 

Finally, I would recommend switching to a wet wipe to clean the smaller, more difficult-to-reach areas of your tree – this would include the stems, branches, or ridges and groves your fake Ficus tree might have. 

Use a wet wipe to get to the hard to reach areas

In terms of cloth, I would recommend using a quality microfiber cloth that is easy to fold, such as Amazon’s Basics range (link takes you to Amazon). 

Shake the tree

Another easy method to clean your fake Ficus would be simply shaking the tree to remove any loose excess dust. 

Shaking the tree works well if your ake Ficus is more prominent in size (more than 1 meter tall). 

Move the tree outdoors and shake thoroughly to remove any built-up excess dust. 

Following this method once per week typically works well. 

Canned air 

So you might have done the first three methods – which, I’ll be honest, worked like a treat for my fake Ficus, but find that you still have a lot of dust stuck in had to reach areas. 

When you haven’t cleaned or dusted a fake Ficus tree in a while, the dust will harden and is more difficult to clean. 

Luckily, this, too, can easily be removed. 

If you have this stubborn dust that won’t dissipate, one of the best tools you can invest in is to blast your Ficus with compressed canned air. 

Move your fake Ficus trees into an outdoor space to not blast dust indoors. 

Gently take the cap off the compressed air and point the needle/nozzle of your air bottle directly at the spaces with a lot of dust. 

Moving the nozzle is typically easy as most gas bottles have smaller-sized nozzles. 

After 3 to 5 sprays, the gas should have blasted any excess dust and dirt away. 

Then wipe down the tree using either of the previous methods to ensure that any excess dust has dissipated. 

In terms of compressed gas that I would recommend, consider using Falcon Dust Can, which I find works particularly well for fake plants. 

You can grab it here – The link takes you to Amazon. 

Vinegar and water 

Sometimes, strong smells can occur when the dust has been left on a fake Ficus tree or fake plant in general for too long. 

If you notice your fake Ficus is starting to smell, consider using this method to clean your fake Ficus and reduce the smell. 

In a spray bottle, pour in 150ml of water and 150ml of vinegar of your choice. 

If your spray bottle is more significant, use equal parts water and vinegar. 

Then, give this solution mix to ensure the solution emulsifies. 

Attach the top nozzle, and give it a quick shake.

How to take care of a fake ficus tree - use vinegar and water

Then move your tree outdoors to avoid getting vinegar all over your house.

Spray all parts of your fake Ficus thoroughly with this mixture. 

Spray your artificial tree

Let the vinegar site for 5 to 10 minutes, and then wipe down clean either using a wet wipe or damp microfibre cloth. 

Silk plant cleaner 

While the vinegar/water solution will work well, it might not be that effective if your vinegar is out of date or a little tame. 

On top of this, some but not all vinegar can even strip the color and shine from your tree. 

Thankfully, if you own a silk-based fake Ficus tree, several purpose-built silk plant cleaners are available that work like a charm on artificial Ficus trees. 

To use, move your fake Ficus tree outside ( you will be spraying with chemicals after all) 

Then gently and slowly press the trigger to squeeze out the silk plant cleaner solution. 

Aim to keep the nozzle 8 to 10 inches away from your tree. 

Leave the spray to dry like the instructions of your silk plant cleaner of choice permit, and then wipe down and move back indoors. 

Folex Silk plant cleaner is what I would recommend when you can buy it on Amazon here

Place in the shower 

Another easy method that works very well is to move your fake Ficus tree in the shower. 

I would avoid using hot or warm water for this as it could potentially cause the color to run from your fake Ficus. 

Instead, use the cold water or temperatures lower than 12 degrees. 

Then, hold the showerhead in one hand and thoroughly rinse your fake Ficus. 

How to take care of a fake ficus tree - place in shower

I would avoid leaving your shower head attached to the wall and leaving it to shower the Ficus from the wall as you will miss a lot of the underside and the tree. 

Now, if you have a fake Ficus tree that has some organic elements to it, such as mosses or soil, keep these covered with a black bag to prevent 

Submerge your Ficus in water 

Another fantastic option to take care of and clean your fake Ficus is to wash it thoroughly in a sink/large bowl. 

To use this method, fill your sink or bowl with lukewarm water until it has enough in to submerge your tree’s leaves. 

Pour a tablespoon of liquid soap and mix with your hands until bubbles start to form.

Pour in water and mix liquid soap

Then cover the part of your tree you do not want to be submerged in water – mainly the pot or any organic material on your fake Ficus. 

Fake ficus that has been wrapped
This fake Ficus has been wrapped in a sealable plastic bag with two rubber bands to keep the bag tight.

Gently place the leaves of your fake Ficus in the water/soap solution until submerged. 

Pour water over your fake Ficus

You may also need to use your hand to manually pour water on any harder-to-reach areas or leaves that stick out.

How to take care of a fake ficus tree - manually pour water on the tree

Leave for about 5 to 10 minutes and pat dry with a towel. 

Finish off by wiping away any hard-to-reach water residue or remaining dust with a microfibre cloth. 

Use Cornmeal 

The final method of cleaning your fake Ficus is a variation on the “shake your fake Ficus” method. 

Get a plastic bag/trash bag and fill it with 3 to 4 tablespoons of cornmeal or salt until it is at the bottom.

Tightly wrap the bag around your Ficus, util only the base or pot are exposed.

How to take care of a fake ficus tree
An example of how to wrap the bottom of a fake Ficus using two rubber bands and a sealable sandwich bag
wrapping using a reusable store bag
Wrapping a faux Ficus with a recyclable carrier bag and one rubber band

Then gently place the top of your fake Ficus that you want to clean in the bag, and using some tape, cover until you have formed a sea around the leaves of the tree – ideally, leave the pot exposed outside. 

Then, thoroughly shake the tree, which should remove excess dirt from the tree’s leaves. 

Turn the tree upside down and shake thoroughly
Turn the tree upside down and shake thoroughly

What do you need to clean a fake Ficus? 

To clean your fake Ficus, I would strongly recommend using the following items: 

  • A microfibre cloth 
  • A spray bottle 
  • Liquid soap 
  • Vinegar 
  • Wet wipes 
  • Microfibre duster 
  • Plastic bags/trash bags 
  • A hairdryer
  • Cornmeal 
  • Silk plant cleaner 

How often should you clean a fake Ficus? 

A fake Ficus can be lightly cleaned once per week, either by dusting or wiping. You can undertake a more robust clean every few months using liquid soap and lukewarm water.  

How to clean fake Ficus bonsai trees?

Unlike regular fake Ficus trees, artificial Ficus bonsai usually have more nooks and crannies for dust, dirt, and grime to accumulate. So is cleaning a fake Ficus bonsai tree different from cleaning a regular indoor Ficus tree. 

Cleaning a fake Ficus bonsai tree is no different from cleaning an artificial Ficus tree. Consider spraying with a silk plant spray or a vinegar/water spray bottle for a deep clean. Wipe with a damp cloth and use a cotton swab to get to all the hard-to-reach areas. 

Should you shine artificial Ficus?

You can polish a fake Ficus to add shine back to the leaves. Use a bespoke fake plant polisher such as silk plant cleaner, or consider using hairspray to add shine back to your tree’s leaves. 

How to take care of a fake ficus tree – What to avoid?

As fake/faux Ficus trees are, well, not real, they are super easy to care for and, aside from the occasional clean, can be a set and forget indoor prop. 

If you plan to keep your fake Ficus tree around for years to come, you can do a few things to ensure it stays pristine. 

These include: 

Keep away from direct sunlight

While natural Ficus trees love sunlight (or artificial light if you keep indoors), holding a fake Ficus in direct sunlight can potentially cause damage. 

Sunlight mainly affects the shine and color of the leaves. 

Anyone who has kept a painting on the wall only to move it after a few years can see the sun damage caused t the walls compared to the spot underneath the picture, and the same goes for Ficus. 

To prevent then, consider moving your faux Ficus into rooms of your house that do not have direct sunlight – I find that keeping them in the bathroom works exceptionally well. 

Place the fake Ficus where you see them. 

The whole purpose of fake Ficus trees is to provide greenery and the benefits of looking at flora. 

One of the most significant ways people don’t take care of their fake Ficus trees is by not having them where they can see them. 

Fake Ficus then can bring the added benefits of reducing stress, anxiety, and a sense of calmness, so keep where you can see it. 

Check for insects

When people ask the question of how to take care of a fake ficus tree, one of the things they often don’t concern themselves with is insect infestations.

While organic Ficus have natural insect-repelling abilities, the same can’t be said for fake Ficus trees. 

Now you won’t find insects such as AphidsScaleSpider-mites, or Caterpillar eating the flowers or bark of your tree like this will regular plants; however, it is common to find insects nesting in your fake Ficus as they look for shelter. 

Check your fake Ficus regularly for signs of insect infestation and blast with water to remove them. 

Can you put fake Ficus in a dishwasher? 

If your manufacturer mentions it on the label, packaging, or tree, you can only put your fake Ficus in the dishwasher. If the manufacturer does not say this, placing your Ficus in the dishwasher is not safe. 

Putting a fake Ficus in a dishwasher when your manufacturer has not mentioned it can cause the dye to spread, ruining the color of your fake Ficus and even rip your fake tree to shreds in severe cases. 

Can you spray your fake Ficus with water? 

You can spray your fake Ficus with water from a spray bottle to clean your tree. Mix water with liquid soap or a few tablespoons of vinegar for best results.

How to update your faux Ficus tree?

One of the best ways to update your faux Ficus tree is to repaint the leaves and branches of your tree. Over time, the color from your fake Ficus will fade, so painting them will help improve the tree’s appearance.  

However, ensure to use waterproof paint, so the color does not strip off when you clean your tree. 

Consider trimming the leaves of your fake Ficus that have wilted over time and get replacement plastic leaves to further update your unnatural Ficus’s appearance. 

Finally, set a regular schedule to dust and clean your fake Ficus. 

How to remove stains from a fake Ficus?

To remove tough stains from a fake Ficus, mix one tablespoon of liquid soap with 1 liter of water and stir thoroughly. Place into a spray bottle and spray directly on the stain. Rub in with a microfiber cloth. Repeat until the stain has disappeared. 

This method can be repeated every 24 hours and is a staple in people finding out how to take care of a fake Ficus tree.

Why do people use a fake Ficus? 

Many of you will be thinking, why use a fake Ficus? After all, is it not easier to buy the real thing. 

The main reasons then why people choose faux Ficus trees over natural species are: 

  • Allergies – Sadly, some people have sensitivities to pollen and other micro-particles that some fig trees produce., As such, the only realistic way to have a Ficus tree would be to invest in a clean one 
  • Upkeep – While Ficus trees are relatively easy-going, they still require plenty of sunlight, watering, and fertilizer. As such, faux plants are easy to care for alternative, only needing cleaning properly once every few months. 
  • Location – Natural Ficus trees require a lot of sunlight and warm temperatures to thrive. These can be hard to meet, so faux Ficus makes a worthy alternative.
  • Cost – Some Ficus varieties can be expensive, the rarer they are. Faux Ficus trees then are a much cheaper alternative, having no ongoing costs such as fertilizer or soil. 

Now, if you are exploring not just how to take care of a fake ficus tree but also a regular Ficus tree, I believe the following posts would help: 

Where to place a fake Ficus tree? 

Home offices, bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms are fantastic options for keeping faux Ficus trees. The best place to hold a fake Ficus is where you will regularly see it to get the mental health benefits associated with artificial plants. 

My top picks for the gear you will need!

So like I mentioned earlier, over the past three years of running PlantPaladin, hundreds of people have asked me for my recommendations on the best bonsai gear on the market. 

Having spent thousands of dollars on bonsai items these past few years and tested at least 100 bonsai-specific products, I’ve listed my favorite products below – All of which I highly recommend and think you can get great value. 

They can purchase directly by clicking the link to take them to Amazon. 

Bonsai Tool Set: One of the significant challenges I’ve had is finding a toolset that was not only durable but didn’t break the bank. SOLIGT has recently developed a fantastic bonsai tool set that covers all the tools you need to trim, prune, and repot your trees. – You can grab it here

Complete Bonsai Set: Many of you will want to grow your bonsai trees entirely from scratch, but finding the varicose seeds, pots, and other items in one place can be challenging. Leaves and Sole then have created a complete bonsai set that I’ve personally used that ticks all the boxes. You can grab it here

Bonsai wire: The number of times I’ve run out of wire for my bonsai or purchased cheap bonsai wire that doesn’t do the job is embarrassing for me to admit. After a lot of trial and error, I found that using Hotop’s aluminum bonsai wire is one of the best options on the market. This can easily be used for both indoor and outdoor bonsai. You can grab it here.

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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