The Q&A Archives: Ficus Leaves Turn White

Question: I repotted my ficus and did a massive pruning job, and I'm afraid I may have harmed the plant. I have placed it outside in a sunny area and am crossing my fingers. The leaves have started to turn a yellowish white from the center outwards. Is there anything you can suggest to help turn this plant around?

Answer: Poor pruning can injure or kill a plant, but most plants have incredible recovery skills, taking abuse and thriving in spite of it all! It sounds as though your ficus is responding more to the direct sunshine on its leaves than to the massive pruning it has undergone -- it has sunburn! Plants that live indoors need to be placed in a protected area for a few weeks when they're first taken outdoors. Put your ficus in a shady spot that's shielded from strong winds, and gradually move it into more direct sun over the course of a few weeks. The affected leaves will fall off but new growth should come from the twigs and branches once it's had some time to recover.

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