Houseplants forum→Repotting a benjamin fig, need help deciding on the size of the pot

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Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 9, 2021 2:01 AM CST
Hey everyone,

I've got this poor plant in a pot that is way too small for it. It's exactly 16 centimeters in diameter. How big should the new one be to accommodate those roots sticking out the ground?

Thank you.

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Name: Omie
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Omie
Jun 9, 2021 6:58 AM CST
Need a photo of the entire plant and pot together. Thanks!

Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 9, 2021 7:23 AM CST
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He's wilting really badly and i don't know what to do. I'm hoping the small pot is the reason he's sick.

He was already pretty sick when i got him, which at first i thought was to do with the cold winter we were having and him being dragged around a bunch.
[Last edited by bennybenny - Jun 9, 2021 7:24 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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purpleinopp
Jun 9, 2021 8:41 AM CST
Hi & welcome! Does this pot have a drain hole in the bottom?
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Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 9, 2021 9:03 AM CST
purpleinopp said:Hi & welcome! Does this pot have a drain hole in the bottom?


Thank you! Yes, it does, a small one, about the size of pinkie in diameter.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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purpleinopp
Jun 9, 2021 9:31 AM CST
OK, that's good. Ficus sometimes make roots above the soil. Covering those is not a good idea. Do you see any roots poking out of the drain hole? If not, I would probably not repot this plant right now, but just put it in my sunniest available spot and water when the soil has lost most of its' moisture, but before it become literally completely dry. The size of the pot does not look too small for this tree unless roots are coming out of the drain hole.

Getting cold and being moved around can cause foliage to drop off. Warmth & sunshine should cause many lovely new leaves to grow.

Once it start to look more healthy, you can trim any little stems that aren't growing any leaves, and any other puny branches that are going in a weird direction. You may want to put your plant outside (in the shade) or in tub/shower, to do that because when cut, Ficus plants leak white latex sap. Spritzing the cuts with a spray bottle will help avoid white stains on your plant.

Avoid getting the sap on your skin because it causes a rash like poison ivy for some people. You don't want to find out if you're one of them.
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Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 9, 2021 10:27 AM CST
Thank you so much for the answer.
There are no roots sticking out, but I'm still worried because it's been about 5 or 6 months now since we got it and he's only gotten worse since then, despite it being much warmer. I water it regularly and spray his leaves with a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide daily. It also has these little white dots on the stems of its' leaves and little "webs" around twigs. Some sources say that it's to do with overwatering it, some say that it's some parasite. I'm totally new to this, so i have no idea. The leaves themselves also don't look that good. I just thought that it's something to do with the pot being too small, cause of the roots sticking out and maybe it not having enough soil, etc.

Sorry if it appears that i'm mistreating it. I have little clue as to what i'm doing when it comes to plants, we just took it from the office, cause the people there wanted to get rid of it and no one wanted to take it.

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[Last edited by bennybenny - Jun 9, 2021 10:31 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 9, 2021 10:35 AM CST
Happy to suggest. The webbing and stippled appearance of the leaves in the last pic make me think this plant might have spider mites. I don't know what that is in the pic above the last.

If you can change your spray bottle to diluted rubbing alcohol, that might have more effect on the spider mites. It's tedious and with the sap issue, you would probably want to wear gloves, but wiping each leaf on front and back with a cotton ball damp with rubbing alcohol could help to get rid of the mites most effectively.

Although you shouldn't let the soil get literally completely dry, it shouldn't stay soggy either. Give the plant some time to use the moisture before adding more.
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Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 9, 2021 10:56 AM CST
purpleinopp said:Happy to suggest. The webbing and stippled appearance of the leaves in the last pic make me think this plant might have spider mites. I don't know what that is in the pic above the last.

If you can change your spray bottle to diluted rubbing alcohol, that might have more effect on the spider mites. It's tedious and with the sap issue, you would probably want to wear gloves, but wiping each leaf on front and back with a cotton ball damp with rubbing alcohol could help to get rid of the mites most effectively.

Although you shouldn't let the soil get literally completely dry, it shouldn't stay soggy either. Give the plant some time to use the moisture before adding more.


Do you mean rubbing as a one-time solution or something to be repeated for some time?
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 9, 2021 11:15 AM CST
This kind of plant would not otherwise benefit from being spritzed, but if there are spider mites, the rubbing alcohol can help get rid of them. Wiping would probably be more effective.
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Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 9, 2021 10:29 PM CST
purpleinopp said:This kind of plant would not otherwise benefit from being spritzed, but if there are spider mites, the rubbing alcohol can help get rid of them. Wiping would probably be more effective.


Sorry, english isn't my native language, i meant to say "wiping" instead of "rubbing", as in should i wipe the plant just once or a number of times for a period of time?
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critterologist
Jun 9, 2021 10:39 PM CST
You're right that you may need to treat the plant repeatedly, since the alcohol (insecticidal soap or premethrin spray should also work) may only kill the adults. Wiping individual leaves is more necessary with scale than with spider mites, IMO. Give it a good spraying, making sure to wet stems and undersides of leaves, then remove any remaining "webs." If webs reappear, repeat the treatment.

If you look closely at the webs, you should see tiny dots that move. Those are the mites. Getting rid of them will probably take care of the "sickly" look -- the mites literally suck the life from the leaves, causing that yellowing, stippling, and drooping.

Good job rescuing the plant!
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WillC
Jun 10, 2021 6:19 AM CST
What has been your watering routine? How do you determine when to water and how much do you give it?

As long as your tree is indoors, then the outdoor weather is largely irrelevant. The root exposure on top is normal.

Can you post a photo that clearly shows the webbing or the suspected critters?
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 10, 2021 12:51 PM CST
Benny, your English is fine!

"Rubbing alcohol" is what we call medicinal alcohol in United States. I can see where the "rubbing" could be interpreted as an action. Gently spritzing leaves with "rubbing alcohol" would be good. Rubbing leaves with "rubbing alcohol" would be too rough. Wiping leaves after spritzing with a cotton ball, or wiping without spritzing by first moistening a cotton ball with "rubbing alcohol" would also be good.

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The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
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Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 10, 2021 11:12 PM CST
critterologist said:You're right that you may need to treat the plant repeatedly, since the alcohol (insecticidal soap or premethrin spray should also work) may only kill the adults. Wiping individual leaves is more necessary with scale than with spider mites, IMO. Give it a good spraying, making sure to wet stems and undersides of leaves, then remove any remaining "webs." If webs reappear, repeat the treatment.

If you look closely at the webs, you should see tiny dots that move. Those are the mites. Getting rid of them will probably take care of the "sickly" look -- the mites literally suck the life from the leaves, causing that yellowing, stippling, and drooping.


Thank you for the response and will do! I can see a lot of tiny white dots but i can't see any movement, even with a macro lens.

WillC said:What has been your watering routine? How do you determine when to water and how much do you give it?

As long as your tree is indoors, then the outdoor weather is largely irrelevant. The root exposure on top is normal.

Can you post a photo that clearly shows the webbing or the suspected critters?


Thank you for the answer! I usually just touch the soil and when it's dry, i water it with about 3/4s of a mug. The reason i brought up the weather is that the only good place for a plant in my apartment is on the windowsill and the window there is kinda drafty and at winter times it gets quite cold. We moved it as far as possible from the draft while still keeping it near the window, but i was still unsure as to how the plant was feeling in that spot.

I took a bunch of photos with a macro lens and the webbing is clearly seen on a lot of the plant, but i cannot find any critters. There are white spots on all the leaves, could that be them?

purpleinopp said:Benny, your English is fine!

"Rubbing alcohol" is what we call medicinal alcohol in United States. I can see where the "rubbing" could be interpreted as an action. Gently spritzing leaves with "rubbing alcohol" would be good. Rubbing leaves with "rubbing alcohol" would be too rough. Wiping leaves after spritzing with a cotton ball, or wiping without spritzing by first moistening a cotton ball with "rubbing alcohol" would also be good.


Okay, gotcha! Would 99.9% isopropyl alcohol do? What part water and what part alcohol should the mix be?



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[Last edited by bennybenny - Jun 11, 2021 1:04 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 11, 2021 11:56 AM CST
Yes, rubbing alcohol - isopropyl alcohol. I buy it already in a little mist/squirt bottle and I don't dilute it.

The pics show a current or recent spider mite establishment.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Will Creed
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WillC
Jun 11, 2021 3:15 PM CST
You are probably underwatering. If the pot has a drain hole you would water thoroughly enough for some water to run through as soon as the top cm of the soil feels dry to your touch.

Spider sites can be treated effectively with water and any liquid dish soap. Alcohol is not necessary to treat mites. Just spray very thoroughly so you cover all leaf and stem surfaces.

F. benjamins are quite cold hardy so there is no need to move it away from a drafty window in winter.
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Contact me directly at [email protected]
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critterologist
Jun 11, 2021 4:16 PM CST
Yes, periodically drenching the soil to really soak the roots is better than 3/4 mug at a time.

Not sure about the tiny white bumps except that they aren't part of the leaf. If you use alcohol instead of soap, 70% is plenty strong!

I agree the draft shouldn't bother it.

Here's what I'd do. Get rid of yellow leaves, as they aren't doing much for the plant. It will leaf out again. (Benjamima figs are notorious for dropping foliage, but the leaves grow back.) Just break them off, make sure they go right into trash. Then use either soapy water or 50 to 70 % rubbing alcohol to spray the remaining leaves. rub with your finger, cotton ball, or scrap of paper towel to try to remove white dots, webbing, etc.

Now if those things reappear you'll know it's a currently present pest, not old eggs or residue. Water thoroughly, even let it sit in water for a couple hours to really soak the roots, then no water for 1-2 weeks, until the soil is dry a couple inches from the top (poke your finger down below the surface).

Hoping for a happy Ficus in a few weeks!
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.

Cat Lover
bennybenny
Jun 12, 2021 3:13 AM CST
Ok, got it, thank you all very much!
Will post updates.
Thank You!
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sallyg
Jun 16, 2021 7:14 PM CST
Just like to mention, one single small hole in a pot can get clogged. I had a pot with a single hole sitting outside with some soil and debris, getting rained it, it did not drain. Even when I picked it up, it held water.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)

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