Ficus elastica drooping

theAteamFebruary 28, 2014

I bought a ficus elastic burgundy and a variegated one as well. I have three questions:
1) I put my burgundy ficus in the window to give it plenty of light. No direct sunlight at all though. It gets about 10-12 hours of light a day. I noticed that the top leaves started drooping or the edges are culling downwards. Is this due to too much light or is the plant adjusting to new environment? The plant sits between two windows, an east and a south facing window (in Australia). I'm not sure if I should move it away further from the window.
2) my variegated ficus elastica is very small at this stage. Is there anything I can do to help the colour on it develop and 3) to help it grow strong?

Thank you in advance

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Extremely bright light CAN cause wavy undulations on leaf margins of Ficus b, but so can a couple of nutritional issues. No way to tell w/o more info or having "hands on".

Variegated plants require lots of light to remain healthy, and so the color of tissues dominated by different pigments show clear delineation. The problem is, the lighter tissues that are light because of a scarcity of the green pigment, chlorophyll, don't tolerate light as well as the area of the leaves protected by a higher concentration of chlorophyll, which is sometimes referred to as 'nature's sunscreen for plants' - so you're dealing with something of a catch-22 situation.

Keeping your plants strong is a holistic process, but no one can argue that the first step in the process that results in a healthy plant is being able to maintain a healthy root system. Soil choice is a very important consideration, one that usually has more impact on how healthy the root system can be than any other factor. It's easy to change light levels by moving the plant, moisture levels by attention to how you're watering and when to water, fertility changes and temperatures are equally easy; but changing your soil once the plant once its roots settled is a different story, and the window of opportunity is short.

I'll leave a link that goes into quite a bit of easy-to-understand details about how to keep a Ficus happy in a pot. If you have any questions, ask here or there - I'll be following both threads.


Here is a link that might be useful: About growing ficus in pots .....

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Thank your or the link Al, its awesome!

I repotted the drooping focus after buying it. I made up a soil mix with fast draining potting mix, perlite, a bit of course propagating sand and some small pebbles in the hopes of making it a faster draining soil. I loosened the roots a bit but I didn't cut any back because it's the end of the growing season here and the plant wasn't root bound (plus, the roots were so fine). I loosened the roots from it's soil though. I also placed an inch layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot before putting int he soil, to make sure that the roots don't ever sit in excess water.

I only water using rain water that I collect.

I have only discovered indoor house plants in the past 3 months so I'm still new to all of it. I have a rather large collection of plants now and I have to say, the ficus are my favourite ( I also own a ficus lyrata)!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:05AM
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I hope the image that I have taken has attached. You can see the leaf on the left, drooping.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:11AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think that understanding how water behaves in soils so you can avoid the effects of excess water retention is probably the largest step forward a container gardener can make at any one time. I'll leave you a link to a thread that goes into detail on that topic. it can make a significant impact on the quality of results you get for your effort, and take a lot of frustration out of the growing experience.


Here is a link that might be useful: I'll take you there if you click me .....

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:34AM
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It has to be so complex doesn't it? :)

Thank you so much for that detailed thread. It is very well written and it's given me a lot to think about. I feel like re-potting all of my plants now, I'll wait till Spring though.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:20PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

At first it might seem so, but making sure your plants are in a good soil is the largest part of the battle. Almost all the problems that bring people here looking for remediation are directly related to their soil choice; that, because of its impact on root health and the fact that a healthy plant is impossible without it being on healthy roots.

I can teach almost anyone how to be a successful grower in only a few minutes if they're using an appropriate soil because the soil works in concert with the grower to provide a good home for the plants being grown. When they're not using a good soil, they'll be fighting against their choice for the life of the planting - in most cases not even realizing what's holding their plants back.

You can absorb a lot between now and spring if you have the motivation ..... and depending on how close to the equator you are, summer might be the better bet for repot timing.

Best luck!


    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:37PM
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