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Unhappy Ficus... HELP!

Posted by BlackThumbInDenial Northcentral WI (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 10, 12 at 13:56

Hi, all.

I bought a braided ficus about a month and a half ago, and it was healthy, vibrant, and full of leaves. It has since lost a significant amount of healthy, green leaves, usually dropping about a dozen per night. The branches are now looking very bare.

Care: I mist it twice a day, only give it water when the soil feels bone dry about a few inches down, and have it away from the drafty windows. It has been fertilized once since I brought it home.

Below is a link to a few pictures of what the branches look like, the potting situation, and the ficus' placement in the room.

If any of you can figure out what I can do to make it happy, please let me know.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Unhappy Ficus... HELP!

RE: Unhappy Ficus... HELP!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 10, 12 at 19:24

It sounds like you're not over-watering, which would normally be a prime suspect. I'm guessing it's not getting the light it was getting just before you bought it, which causes a decrease in the flow of a growth hormone that if slowed significantly causes leaf abscission (shedding). If there are lots of new buds appearing along the branches, I wouldn't be overly concerned. Just be sure you don't over-water, as plants with a reduced volume of foliage can use a LOT less water than previously. Give it as much light as you can & be patient.

If you put it in full sun indoors, try to be sure there is some air movement in the room. The plant will definitely tolerate a full sun light load indoors, but the associated heat build-up w/o air movement might be too much for it.

Just to satisfy my curiosity, what did you fertilize with & what strength was the dose? Strangely, moving a plant to a lower light site also reduces the amount of fertilizer (soluble salts) the plant can/will tolerate in the soil solution, so a plant that was doing well having been heavily fertilized can suddenly exhibit symptoms of fertilizer burn or a drought response, which includes shedding of foliage, just by virtue of the move. Given that fact, you fertilizing might have been enough to trigger the leaf loss, Still, my money is on the reduced light issue.


Here is a link that might be useful: Follow the link to more about Ficus in containers.

RE: Unhappy Ficus... HELP!

i have a hunch that from when he bought i he didnt check for pest. it can have:

aphids, little plant lice that suck juices right out
mealy bugs do same thing as aphids
scale are similar to mealy bug in every way
spider mites build webs and suck sap.

post a image of a closeup of some leaves. i am the best teengardener in albany and i can help you trust me

RE: Unhappy Ficus... HELP!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 11, 12 at 11:01

BTiD - Some perspective: Teengardener is a very young seedling (still has the cotyledons, in fact), only just beginning to learn the most basic tenets of tending plants in containers.


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