The Q&A Archives: Benjamin Ficus Tree

Question: I have a Benjamin Ficus tree in my house that I've had for about 4 years now. The last few months, the leaves are turning completely yellow, and falling off. I don't know what to do with it, or why the leaves are falling off. Do you know what the problem is and what I can do to stop it??? It has been growing great, getting big up until a few months ago. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Answer: Wow, this questions seems to follow me sister asked this question in the spring and a neighbor asked just last month. Are you fertilizing your ficus? A general use fertilizer such as a 20-20-20 applied every two weeks from March to September is a good rule of thumb. Be sure to follow package instructions for how much to apply. Fertilizers are not needed during the winter months and could actually harm some plants. However, a nice top dressing of compost would be well received by your ficus. Ficus generally enjoy bright light (but not direct sunlight) and grow best when the temperature is 70-80 degrees during the day and 65-70 degrees at night. You probably already know not to let your soil get too wet or too dry. Use the pencil test...insert a pencil approximately 3" into the soil. If it comes out with soil on it, the moisture level is fine, if it comes out clean, the plant needs watering. Also make sure your container is the appropriate size, could your ficus be rootbound. Onelast thing, keep an eye out for "suckers"... the twiggy growth at the base. It should be removed as it appears. Suckers can zap a plant's strength. A lot of info, yes, but in my defense, it worked well for my sister and my neighbor!

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