help me please...Ficus Benjamina

shenue(z7 MD)November 27, 2013

Many leaves have started falling off of my Benjmina. I got this plant in the Spring of 2011, so I am going into my third Winter with it. It is about 2 ft tall. Is in the exact same spot that it has been in since I got it. It has been healthy and grown with no problems. It is root-bound now but I was going to wait until next Spring to repot it. I haven't changed its care since I got it 2 1/2 years ago. It has done beautifully. In this last week it has dropped at least 60+ leaves and that's a lot for a small Benjamina. The leaves fade slightly in color and then drop off. I don't have a clue. It hasn't been over watered or under I said the care hasn't changed since I got it and up until now it has thrived. I have an emotional connection to it because it was in a condolence planter I received when my mom passed away in the Spring of 2011. The plant has done so, well and I would hate to lose it now. Any thoughts or suggestions would be very appreciated! Thank You. You all on this forum are a great group of people.

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auron22(6b OH)

When they fade slightly in color, is it yellow? If so I believe that is moisture stress. If not, has there been any sudden all? The only other reason that I'm aware of for leaf drop in ficus is acclimation.

Hopefully Al will shed some light on the matter, as he is probably the most knowledgeable. I think he has a thread somewhere with extensive information on how to care for ficus....but I can't seem to find it. I'm terrible at navigating forums.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I think this is the most current part of the discussion you're thinking about Auron? Maybe looking through it will help you know what's going on, Shenue.

One quick question. " I haven't changed its care since I got it 2 1/2 years ago." Does that include frequency/amount of watering? If so, as the roots have filled the pot, that may now be too little, possibly too much.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 2:06PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There are a number of reasons your ficus might be shedding foliage, so it's hard to point to any singular cause w/o some hands-on observation. If you haven't repotted since you received it, you might consider potting up to a slightly larger pot after cutting the bottom off the root mass & some vertical slits in the roots that remain after the bottom is cut off. This won't remedy the larger problem of an entirely congested root mass, but it will allow the plant to grow a little better.

Please read the link that Tiffany provided, with an eye out for anything that jumps out at you as a potential issue. The major causes of leaf loss are tight roots, a decrease in photo-period or photo-intensity, and drought response due either to over or under-watering. The under-watering might be a byproduct of root congestion or soil compaction.

Be careful not to over-water now, as the plant sheds foliage. Fewer leaves means a reduction in the amount of water the plant uses, so you'll need to adjust how often you water.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 6:29PM
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shenue(z7 MD)

Just got home after being out all day and just read the answers. A few things come to mind. I'm sure the plant is root bound and that could be the problem. Maybe I have watered too much because I haven't changed it to allow for it being root bound. I think that might be the answer for now. I kind of hate to repot when it is already stressed and dropping leaves but that may be the healththier thing to do. I was going to wait until Spring, but perhaps I sholdn't.
Ok....the leaves do turn yellowish before falling off. I haven't changed anything and that includes any adjustments in watering as it has become root bound. I did repot it when I took it out of the original planter/plantings. That was probably about 2 years ago. Anyway I sure thank you guys for the input. I am going to go back and reread them and figure out just what I am going to do with it. Thanks...Thanks!!!!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 8:55PM
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