Ficus leaves bleaching and browning!

Alexis_DCJuly 16, 2014

Hello fellow gardeners,

Please let me know if you have insight as to why my indoor ficus fiddle leaf tree is bleaching and browning. It's dropping leaves now.

The leaves started to bleach and brown a few months ago. I thought it was nutrition/drainage. Two weekends back I changed the soil. Here's what I did:

Bottom or pot is mix of perlite and round river rock
Middle section is mix of potting mix and perlite
Top section is only potting soil (Espoma Organic Potting Mix)

Two leaves have dropped since. The soil isn't really drying out.

Please let me know if you have any experience with these types of symptoms?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi - I rec'd your message.

When roots are not functioning well or are damaged by the environment surrounding them, they have trouble moving water to all the plant's living parts. The first parts affected are usually the leaf tips and margins. If you've never noticed wilting foliage, you can be pretty sure your problem lies with excess water retention or a high level of salts in the soil. These might seem like problems with different causes, but both are closely related to soil choice as the primary, and to a secondary degree, watering habits.

Your soil should not hold so much water after a thorough watering that it causes prolonged periods of impaired root function and death of a fraction of the root mass. The all-important fine roots can begin to die in as little as an hour or two in soils that remain soggy after a thorough watering. The key to reducing the bad kind of water retention is using soils made of mostly large particles. A good soil is a soil we can water correctly w/o compromising the plant's vitality. If we can't properly water a plant in a particular soil, it's difficult to see how we could define a soil as a GOOD soil if we can't water plants in it correctly.

What are you fertilizing with? Are you watering while the soil is still damp near the top?


    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Thanks for responding. Wow, I lost 4 leaves today.

I have been fertilizing with Miracle Gro miracid and all purpose ~ 1 a month. I moved in November, maybe the water here is bad? This started >2 months ago.

Haven't watered since repotting because the top soil didn't dry out (2 wks back).

Also. Recently I crushed much of the fine root structure with bad repotting technique.

I am thinking emergency re-pot with heavier particle soil?

I appreciate your help,


    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:17PM
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