Ficus elastica has yellow & brown spots

lauriedutch(5 / CO)May 20, 2012


Do the spots and yellow/brown colors indicate a problem and if so, any tips on how to help the plant?

It is 15 years old and has had some fairly drastic pruning over the years each time it reached the ceiling.

I would like to give it away but first want to find out how to make it healthy . . . or is it just a matter of cutting off the few discolored leaves? Thanks.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The odds are the problem will be found to be one of 3 things. A) A combination of a water-retentive soil and over-watering B) A high level of soluble salts in the soil resulting from watering in small sips so most or all of the solubles from fertilizers and tap water accumulate in the soil C) Tight roots

The tree is beginning to get the poodle look, where foliage tends to be concentrated near apices (growing tips of branches), but the burning on leaf margins suggests over-watering or a high salt concentration in the soil.

The logical thing to do would be to repot (as opposed to potting up), making sure you get the plant into a soil that allows you to water properly. Fortunately, you're coming into the best time of the year to perform that chore. Feeling ambitious?


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 8:16PM
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lauriedutch(5 / CO)

Many thanks, Al.

I can't repot it myself but will be sure it gets done.

In the meantime, is it okay to cut off those few yellowing leaves and if so, should I cut near the "trunk" of the plant or at the juncture of the leaves and "branches"?


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:48PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If it was late fall or winter, your tree had fewer leaves, or if it was obviously circling the drain, I'd suggest you leave the offending leaves on and let the tree shed them of its own accord after it's salvaged all the mobile nutrients and whatever else it can translocate to other tree parts, but your tree has enough foliage that it will hardly miss them. If you want them removed, just snip through the petiole (leaf stem) anywhere between the leaf and its attachment point. The abscission layer that is already forming where the leaf is attached will soon be complete and the stub will drop off.


Here is a link that might be useful: More about trees in containers if you click me ...

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:22AM
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lauriedutch(5 / CO)

Thanks ever so much, Al!!


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:59AM
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