how do I move my ficus tree indoors after being outside all summer
How do I move my Ficus tree indoors after being outside all summer? I live in Missouri. We have very hot temps. I haven't seen any bugs but to make sure, should I spray? Looks very healthy.
Yes, gradually accustoming your ficus to lowered light is very important. Be aware that most ficus will drop leaves when moved to lower light.
Probably if the plant looks healthy you don't have a bug problem, but if you want to make sure, spraying with soap-and-water should be sufficient. 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap in a small spray bottle of water. I would not recommend using a pesticide unless specifically targeting an infestation. Neem oil is another thing you can use, but I basically only use soap and water. You should probably flood the pot with water a few days before bringing the plant in, to drive out ants and worms.
The most important aspect to address is watering. Your plant will use much less water indoors than it did outside. Make sure you check the soil moisture all the way to the bottom of the pot, and don't water unless the bottom soil feels only slightly damp.
Another thing you can try, I've heard some people do this though I've never tried it, is to spray the ficus with water to the drip point every day for 5 days after you bring it in. This is supposed to be very effective in stopping leaf drop. If you try this, let me know if it works.
You need to prepare your ficus for the move now. I try to have all my temperature sensitive plants ready to move inside by October 1. On large leafy tropical, such as ficus and hibiscus, they get regular pruning's during the summer to keep from having to really butcher them in the late summer. If possible, start the acclimation process to indoors mid-September by placing the plant into a more shady place. You can "spray to drip" with an insecticide that is labeled for your specific plant, or use an organic product such as neem oil. You could also use the product as a drench for any possible insects in the soil. Always read and follow package directions.