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Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

Posted by mr_subjunctive 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 5, 08 at 8:04

I think I know the answer already, but I'm looking for confirmation:

I bought a Ficus benjamina 'Midnight' last October and brought it home. It dropped a bunch of leaves, as I was kind of expecting, and then settled down, but, now none of the leaves are the dark color that I bought the plant for; they're just kind of normal ficus-tree color.

I assume this is a light issue, either too much or (more likely) too little, but I wanted to check this with someone who'd grown this cultivar before.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

I grew this one at one time - it's one of the many plants I lost when my son was ill.

From what I understand, this cultivar was created specifically to grow in lower light, and to resist leaf drop. (So much for that, huh? () )
With that in mind, (I hate to say it, but...) I'd say too much light.
What type of light exposure is yours receiving?

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

I lost my beautiful "Midnight" to spider mites, but it certainly did NOT resist leaf drop better than any other ficus. :( Mine was in a West exposure with some direct sun but I never noticed the leaves converting back to a regular green color---mine stayed the darker green...

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

It's been in bright fluorescent light (like, 6 inches from a shop light with two 48-inch bulbs), with a small amount of indirect natural light, more or less since I got it. I've moved it to a slightly darker spot within the last few weeks, though the situation is similar: fluorescents with a little bit of natural.

Also, it didn't seem to resist leaf drop any better than any other variety as far as I'm concerned, and the ones that stayed in the greenhouse at work weren't any better.

If it helps: a lot of the older leaves have shifted orientation, to where now they're almost completely vertical, with the "top" of the leaf now facing the outside. When I first noticed it, I assumed it was probably because most of the light was coming from the side of the plant, instead of from overhead, but maybe I misunderstood what the plant was saying?

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

I've had mine since 02. It slowly throws out steady grow year around here.

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

Hi. I came here hoping to learn more about my Midnight Ficus, but since mine is 15 and doing well maybe I can share some of what I've learned living with mine and it's offspring. They'll tolerate lower light conditions, but treat a Midnight like most other Ficus and in a growing season you should see proper leaves back on your plant. My mother tree has recently gotten bigger better leaves than she's had in a long time. She's moved around the USA with us, so the number one issue is consistency, then light -- once you have a good location for your Midnight try to keep it put as long as conditions remain constant. A bright reflected light produces "Midnight" type leaves, whereas too little light will offer pale wiggly edged "benjamina" type leaves as the majority. I have a large set of South facing windows right now, but I don't raise the blinds until after high noon because direct sun will burn a Midnight ficus. You can tell if it's too hot because little white beads will sweat out of the leaves even if there aren't signs of direct burning. Also, I use a spray bottle to mist the leaves and trunk usually once a week if the house is dry. Keep the leaves clean as possible. I use a big old ostrich feather duster to gently tickle up and down before misting. I use a simple well draining potting soil, and find that the plant does better once it's settled into a pot for a while -- not root bound though. Avoid warm dry drafts, as from a heater, but they'll love a warm kiss of a Summer breeze. They seem to do alright with an indirect cool air flow, as from forced air conditioning, so long as the light is good and the plant doesn't dry out. Don't give up! Midnight Ficus has been a forgiving and hardy pal over the years.


Yours is Much nicer then mine, I think mine needs to be cut back.

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

Hi treeple! Welcome to Gardenweb.

What a nice testimonial and pic of your lovely plant! Thanks for sharing your story. What do you think has kitty mesmerized?

Polly, that's a fine tree! What is below it to the left?

Mr_S, are you still around? Or just completely immersed in orchids?, I think?

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

Monstera, its one of my favorites

RE: Ficus benjamina 'Midnight'

I think Mr Subjunctive has stopped visiting here but he still keeps a blog that has a lot of good plant info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mr Subjunctive's Blog

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