Ficus lost all of its leaves !!

billy_gskJanuary 14, 2007


I had to carry the tree with me for one week and there is no leaves on the tree now. For two weeks, its now resting in a light and dry kitchen. I mist it with spraying and watered it daily. As I read from the forum, my ficus is in shock. What I want to know is, do I have to wait more for its leaves? Or is it too late and its dead. The tree and the brunches seem completely dry. Can I check it by scratching?

Thank you for your answers.

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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)


If you really have watered a shocked leafless plant everyday for 2 weeks, it's probably dead or soon will be.

You can scratch the bark and look for green.

A plant in shock has very little need for water. Only after the soil has almost dried out completely do you water again.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 4:12PM
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Yeah, misting isn't a good approach to keeping up humidity anyways. And you don't need to water every day. Your best bet would be to get a humidity tray and fill it with gravel, then put water in it daily but not so much that it comes up to the bottom of the pot because it could contribute to root-rot. My ficus plants are on humidity trays and its working great.

All you can do now is just to leave it alone in a south facing window and keep it away from vents.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 5:35PM
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Thank you all for your quick answers.

I really want to save this tree and I will keep your suggestions.

Are you sure it wouldn't be a problem to place it under the direct sunlight near the window?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 3:55AM
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The only problem is that you can't provide enough sun 15 hours a day as up-close as it wants it (where you live).

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 5:47AM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)

Are temps above 50 degrees at night outside where you are? If so, get it outside. Put it in a spot where it gets morning sun a few hours then shade.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 8:42AM
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I have scratched a little bit and its green !!
I am a little bit hopeful now.

There is 10 hours of sunlight here I may provide as you said lucy. I hope that will be enough for it, does it need anything else as for light?

It is around 50 (10 C) at night here, so i will keep it outside. At around what degree do I have to take it inside? 40 something?

I would also appreciate if you can look at the photos at the link below, my Live Spaces site and comment.

Here is a link that might be useful: Billy_gsk's Live Space

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 3:14PM
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part of your problem might be the water you have been using. if you are daily putting water directly from the tap into your plant it may be killing it. tap water has a high concentration of clorhine which in very large doses can be deadly to a plant. if you are giving it water straight from the tap try letting the water sit overnight before introducing to the soil.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 5:25PM
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Do NOT keep your ficus outside at 50 degrees (and who knows what overnight!). It may not survive, especially if it's not used to it. That other poster's in a very hot dry climate and doesn't understand what it can be like otherwise or how fast it can change and 50 is much cooler than ficus LIKE to be at. It may well have gotten too cold in the car, or dry, and you must allow it to settle in one place now properly, with high humidity, sunlight and water only when most of the soil is dry. Just leave it and wait a few weeks. Either it'll come back or it won't but putting it out now will be deadly.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 7:01PM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)


I think you are right about moving a half dead tree out doors now in his zone. If it were healthy, that's where it should be though.

I have about 100 ficus in a greenhouse that goes down to mid 30's some nights, but usually in mid 40's. 2 night ago it hovered right at 32 for about 3 hours.

50 degrees is a very safe low temperature for a healthy ficus. Do you think night temps stay at 70'- 90's all year round in the subtropics?


    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 7:51AM
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The problem is that (theoretically) where you live you can be relatively sure of how low it won't go on a given winter night, but further north or east, the weather can surprise you and just drop below safety and by the next a.m. it's just too late to rethink things.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 10:57AM
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I am not using tap water. Thanks for reminding.

I have placed it inside next to a window where there is 7-8 hours sunlight.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 1:12PM
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Not nearly enough light unfortunately! If you can get hold of a fluorescent fixture, hang it so it's 4-5 inches above the plant, use 40w Full Spectrum Grow bulbs in there for 15 hours a day you'd be just about right.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 2:45PM
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just found this forum and desperately hoping someone can help. We bought our daughter a bonsai (think it's a chinese or japanese elm?) for her 21st and she's cared for it lovingly for over a year.
She's now away at uni and during a family crisis, I forgot to water it. I've left it a little too long without water once or twice and it's quickly recovered but all its leaves died and fell off this time and it's now a very bare tree.
I think it might be totally dead but I'd like to try anything that might help if there's any life in the roots!
Last night, after a week of no change, I repotted into a larger pot with new compost - retaining original root ball.
Having read some messages here, that might have been completely the wrong thing to do, but I couldn't think of anything else that might help.
I live in the UK and it;s pretty cold here at the moment. I've put it on a kitchen window sill where it gets what little morning sun there is. Daylight ends at 4pm here at the moment.
someone has mentioned fluorescent lights. I have fluorescent lighting in my office - would it be better in there? There's no natural light in the office at all.
My daughter will be devastated if I've killed her pride and joy so any advice at all would be wonderful.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 5:08PM
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Have you watered it well? I know it's probably a redundant question, but you didn't actually say, only that you'd repotted (and yes, it wasn't the best idea). It may have also dropped leaves because it was half-dormant (the light outside would have told it it's winter, even if it's indoors). Watering now (a leafless tree) is pointless except if it's completely dry right through, so relax. The office is no good, but leave it just where it is (in a sunny window?), and don't worry about the cold (it should have been living outside all its life anyway in the UK and after the last frost in spring should go out forever). Otherwise, give it a few weeks of infrequent watering and see if it doesn't come back with new leaves - elms are great that way, and it may well be fine if it isn't fussed anymore.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 6:55PM
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Chinese elms are deciduous and are supposed to lose their leaves in the winter. Even if your daughter's tree dropped leaves due to mistreatment rather than normal dormancy, elms have a remarkable ability to regrow foliage after such trauma. That said, they are not house plants in the strictest sense, so you need to do some reading in order to keep the tree healthy long-term.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 5:55PM
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i live in a static caravan and it got below freezing through the winter and my bonsai has now lost all its leaves is there anything i can do to bring it back to life the branches are still pliable and not brittle.please help.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 4:25AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Not to be smart, but there is only one degree of 'dead'. No one can tell you the extent of the chill injury. Nor can we judge the state of vitality of your tree before the exposure to sudden chill, which is a deciding factor insofar as whether or not your tree has enough energy to push another flush of foliage, assuming it is still viable.

All you can do is wait, keep it warm, and be very careful not to over or under-water. Make sure the tree is in the best light you can provide when/if it starts to push new growth. Keep the soil 'just damp'. Your tree will use far less water now, than when the canopy was intact.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 5:59PM
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