Houseplants forum: Ficus Benjamina needs some help

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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Oct 21, 2017 1:01 AM CST
I bought a Ficus benjamina last week and planted it in an unglazed ceramic pot with a soil I also purchased that was labeled "Indoor plants soil".
My ficus benjamina is losing many leaves a day. I have read that this is common to the temperamental nature of this ficus. But might it be a soil problem? The soil feels "heavy" and that it retains much water to me. I water twice a week. Is it overwatering? Note: the whites on the leaves isn't a disease or bugs, I checked the leaves, it's a residue, maybe they were spraying it at the store?

Can I repot, putting more perlite in the mix and maybe save my plant? And how much perlite?
Showing you some of the fallen leaves of this morning. I live in a 13a zone in Greece, the weather is still sunny at the end of October. I have put the ficus in front of a big glass window, which gets a lot of indirect light and am careful not to expose him to drafts. He is the left one in the picture with another benjamina next to him. The strange thing is, both were bought at the same day, from the same place. The other one hasn't shed a leaf!!!
Any anwers will be greatly appreciated! :)

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In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
[Last edited by Faridat - Oct 21, 2017 6:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Tommy
Hudson Valley of N.Y.
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tommyr
Oct 22, 2017 9:19 AM CST
Let the soil dry out a bit between watering. Sounds like you're over watering to me.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Oct 22, 2017 10:47 AM CST
https://www.thespruce.com/grow...

Yes, that Ficus is known for dropping leaves if it is moved. Also very sensitive to drafts. IMO, repotting it now is only going to add to the overall stress. Gene
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Oct 22, 2017 10:50 AM CST
Ficus benjamina is just doing what that plant does. Any time they are moved, they can lose all of the leaves, but will eventually leaf out again and be happy. I have one I took from outside and just moved it inside for the winter. It's in the messy process of losing all the leaves. Just be patient, and you'll have a good plant. Do be careful on watering. Less is better if you love watering!
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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Oct 22, 2017 11:13 AM CST
@tommyr, thank you for your answer and the advice! Smiling I will follow it!
@gasrocks, oh no! I already repotted it today, followed the 50/50 soil and perlite Gene, the soil they gave me at the store was holding too much moisture, I wasn't watering it very much, it just wasn't drying! Plus now I know that I had overpotted the Ficus, I read a lot from all you these days in the forum and thank you for being so informative in all the answers. I am learning so much!
It still may have a better chance now than going for a sure root rot.
@plantmanager, thank you! They are plants that do not like change, aren't they? I must learn to respect each one's nature. Thank you!

In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
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plantmanager
Oct 22, 2017 11:22 AM CST
They are plants that do not like change, aren't they? I must learn to respect each one's nature. Thank you!

That is for sure! They sulk and pout when things change, sort of like some people I know! Rolling on the floor laughing

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Oct 26, 2017 1:32 PM CST
Normally it is the change in light that causes Ficus trees to adapt by dropping leaves. However, the stress of the repotting may have aggravated the situation. Much can go wrong if repotting is not done correctly. I suspect that it was the pot size, not the soil quality that was keeping the soil from drying out sooner.

The white stuff on the leaves is pesticidal residue from the nursery. It will do no harm and can be removed with a leaf cleaner.
Will Creed
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Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
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Carter
Oct 26, 2017 7:18 PM CST
If you were watering twice per week, then I suspect you were watering way too much. The soil wasn’t drying out because you weren’t giving it a chance to. Try slacking off on the watering - instead of watering on your schedule, water on the plant’s schedule, such as when the soil begins to dry some.

These ficus aren’t too terribly picky about soil, but 50/50 perlite/soil is too much perlite. That said, it will be okay in this for a while. I wouldn’t change the soil again so soon after moving to new growing conditions and being repotted twice already. Let it stabilize and regain some vigor before doing anything else to it.
Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Oct 30, 2017 3:32 AM CST
@WillC, thank you for your answer! I will follow the advice given!
@Carter, thank you, much appreciated! I had no idea about the 50/50 being too much, I have to learn some things about the percentages in the soil! The soil is drying out much easier now, in any I will leave as is, like you said.
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer

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