ficus benjamina follow-up

shenue(z7 MD)June 24, 2011

A follow up question about replanting the small ficus. What kind of potting mixture is best for them? I can mix some if need be. What I have on hand: coarse sand, sphagnum moss, pearlite, vermiculite, african violet potting mix and orchid bark. I really want to give this ficus the best chance and not kill it like I have managed to do to every ficus benjamina I've ever had. Thanks

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Shen. Mix Perlite, a wee bit of coarse sand, and African Violet Soil.
AV Soil has a lower pH than All Purpose, (or supposed to)but Ficus need a little acidity anyway.

If you pot in complete soil-less mediums, you'll have to water and fertilize more.

IMO, blending soil with soil-less mixes, adds nutrients. Your Ficus needs nutrients and soil should be well-draining. So, among the three ingredients, your Ficus will be a healthy specimen.

No need for Sphagnum or Orchid Bark.

Soil is important, but there's also proper light, environment, and watering.

Ficus require bright light to full sun. Since your Ficus is young, place in very bright, indirect light.
Water when soil looks/feels crumbly. Ficus dislike wet feet.
Fertilize once a month, with half-strength, All Purpose or a balanced fertilizer. No need to fertilize during winter months, or once growth stops..Plant is dormant.
Once your heat is turned on, spray daily and/or shower leaves in the sink...once a week.
Rotate your Ficus once a week, 'quarter turn.'

Tap water is fine, but tepid/room temp water is safe..unless your home is freezing. lol.
Let water sit at least 24-hours before watering.

Last, find a bright spot, and let be. Ficus detest being moved..'especially to lower light.'

Good luck. Toni

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:44PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Shenue - mixes that are made from ingredients that are durable enough to guarantee a long life and coarse enough to guarantee superior aeration from repot to repot are going to offer much greater potential for plants to grow as close as possible to their genetic potential, within the limits of other cultural influences. Soils that are more open (free-draining) require more frequent watering, but the significant upside is that you can water them properly/thoroughly with little concern for the root rot issues that are often inherent with heavier peat-based soils. They also offer a much wider margin for grower error and make it much easier to achieve the kind of results you're looking for. We can talk more about soils if you would like.

As far as the cultural preferences for your benjamina, you might find the thread I'll link to below to be of interest. I initially wrote the original parts of the thread as a hand-out supplement to a F benjamina workshop I conducted for a bonsai club, but I've since modified it to cover most of the Ficus species grown in containers. I hope you find it helpful.


Here is a link that might be useful: More about Ficus in Containers

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 12:32AM
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shenue(z7 MD)

Thank you Toni (again) and Al. This little ficus has a special meaning to me and I want so much not to kill another one. I gave up on trying to grow ficus benjamina years ago because I could never get them to live, when most of my other plants were flourishing. Going to give it a try and do the repot today. Wish me good luck.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 5:35AM
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Linda, Good Luck!!!
I understand how important plants are, especially those with meaning.

I'm certain your Ficus will do well this time around.

After you finish repotting, give soil a hearty drink of water.
Set in a brightly-lit spot, then let be.

Too many people buy Ficus, leaves start dropping, so the poor plant is moved to several locations, drenched in water and fertilizer. Then good-bye Ficus.

If you use SuperThrive, add a few drops in the container you'll water with.
Mist leaves daily, if possible, and/or shower leaves once a week.
Allow soil to dry between waterings.
Two or so weeks from now, add half-strength, All Purpose Fertilizer. or one higher in Nitrogen..'first number, higher than the other two.

I'm certain your Ficus will do well, again, Good Luck, Toni

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 2:40PM
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shenue(z7 MD)

Just a follow-up
I potted the ficus a couple weeks ago. Used a good draining mix (orchid mix & perlite). Threw in a tiny bit of bark, just for good measure. I watered it and misted the leaves and put it into a plastic bag with a small opening in the top. Gradually I opened the top of the bag top a little more each day until finally after about 10 days I took it out of the plastic completely. I has now been out of the plastic for about 5 days. So far, I've not had even 1 leaf fall off. WOW I actually might not kill this one. That would be a first for me, since in the past I've never gotten a ficus benjamina to live.
Thanks to both of you for the advice. It worked !


    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 4:00PM
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I bought a ficus benjamina about 2 or 3 months ago. I didnt even want it. It was just potted with a polka dot plant I wanted. I separated them and put the ficus outside and its doing fantastic. It must really like the weather here or something because I ignore it lol.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 7:40PM
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I bought this Ficus at Jewel, 'grocery store,' I believe, winter 2010. It was in a 3" pot, for 1.00!
It stood about 4-5" and has grown quite a bit since.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 4:19PM
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shenue(z7 MD)

I again want to thank all that helped me with such good information about my ficus. It is still doing well. yeayyyy.

@ Moosetrackz and Hopefulauthor...I hope I have as much luck with mine as you both have had with yours. Thanks for the pics, hopeful.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 3:32PM
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