Sunburnt f. elastica?

anne_g(5-middle Indiana)June 26, 2010

(I'm hoping this is the right forum for this post.)

So, I think I hurt my ficus elastica, y'all. Once the overnight temps started warming up I moved my houseplants outdoors.

After a week or so, my f. elastica started to develop brown areas on the bulk of it's leaves. This plant resides in my home office during the winter months, and receives indirect light from a south-facing window. I took it from this to direct, full-on sun. Didn't even think about gradual acclimation.

The only upside is, there have been new growth, here and there.

Here's what it looks like:

Is this plant salvageable? I've had it for several years now. Repotted once. Pruned some-what heavily last year. Not sure where to take it now.

Should I remove the burnt leaves? Are they even burnt, or is this browning another issue?

Thank you,


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you absolutely can't stand looking at the compromised leaves, you can remove them, but there are two good reasons not to. The first is that if the leaves are not net producers of energy (photosynthate/food - plants make their own food through photosynthesis), ans are instead net USERS of energy, the plant will shed the leaf on its own. Second, if the plant is in the process of shedding the leaves, it will translocate food (stored energy) and nutrients from the damaged leaves to other organs until the leaf is shed.

I would reduce the number of stems to 3 or 5, retaining only the strongest, and prune the growing tips off all the branches to force back-budding. You might want to consider repotting, too - it's the perfect time of year for it.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 10:25PM
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anne_g(5-middle Indiana)


Thank you so much for your reply.

I think I'll give it a go and follow your suggestions. By cutting down the number of stems, I'm guessing I should also downsize the pot when repotting?

I'm not willing to part with this plant yet!

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 11:44PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yes, it looks like you could step down in pot size. I'm going to suggest you do a complete repot, which includes bare-rooting, root pruning, and a complete change of soil. If you're up for it, I promise your plant will really appreciate it. In fact, I just got rained out, but I repotted several Ficus (bonsai) earlier today. It's the perfect time to be repotting them.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 2:51PM
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Hi Al!,

I think my Ficus might have been sunburt also? Can you please let me know what you think? Also what remedies should I take. Should I completely move it from the window until it heals and then start adapting it to light, or should I leave it and gradually reduce the amount of light I block with the blinds? I don't mind if it looks bad. I want my plant to be healthy. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 5:07PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I commented in your thread - find reply there.


Here is a link that might be useful: Click me and I'll take you there - no fuss. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 11:25PM
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