My Ficus Tree Keeps Dying - Knowledgebase Question

Tupelo, Mi
Question by lizzetteandk
April 19, 2010

I am wondering if there is some trick to keeping a ficus tree alive. I am now on my second tree and while it seems do be doing OK and had some new buds, it was bumped and all the leaves fell out. Now the branches are dead and I can't seem to figure out what the right combo of light, water and grooming it needs. I have other plants in my home that seem to be doing OK. Help!

Answer from NGA
April 19, 2010


Ficus will lose its leaves if sudden changes of light or temperature are made. It seems to just hate change! Don't worry though, if it is losing leaves due to change it will usually put on new leaves and adapt itself to the new situation in a few weeks. Other causes of defoliation include water stress and insect populations. Check very carefully for signs of fine webbing or tiny insects (mites) on the under sides of the leaves, and also check for small disc type spots which might be scale. If you find either of these, use insecticidal soap according to the label instructions. The Ficus, sometimes called Weeping Fig, does best in a bright area, but not much direct sunlight. During the growing season of about April to September, give your Ficus plenty of water to keep the soil moist yet not sopping wet. Use your finger to test the soil and see if it needs watering. When you water make sure that it soaks in and isn't running out between the soil and the side of the pot. During those same months, fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer about twice a month (follow the label instructions). In winter, cut back a bit on water and either do not fertilize. If your house is very dry during the heating season, you might also consider raising the humidity level around the plant by setting the pot on a pebble tray (a tray of pebbles and water, set the pot on the pebbles and keep the water level just below the bottom of the pot) or possibly running a humidifier. Hope this information helps you determine what the problem might be.

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