Ask a Question forum: Saving a ficus lyrata that was a garbage can

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Maryland
Elizabethmary1
Oct 31, 2017 8:47 PM CST
I was at Home Depot and they had a discounted fig tree tucked away in the corner that was being used as a trash can, and it broke my heart! They had old succulent plants thrown away in it along with wrappers, other trash, etc. I've never had a fig tree. I'm a new plant mother in general with 2 snake plants that I haven't killed yet so I must be doing something right! I'm a smart cookie, I'm assuming the tree was discounted because something is wrong with it. That mixed with my character flaw of constantly needing to *save* things, we should make a perfect match! I am feeling I may be in over my head with this one, though. I'll shut up and get to the point now!

Problems:

ROOTS?!?! There are tons of roots showing at the top of the *soil*.. is this normal? Should I re-pot? I hear my figgy does not like change so I don't want to make any sudden moves.


Upset/Brown Spots/Bubbly/Curled Leaves!!

It doesn't have that relaxed "gone with the wind" look to it as the other "healthy ficus lyatra plants" do on google image search. It looks uptight, cranky, and dry.. it's starting to show minimal brown spotting under some of the leaves.




White cast!!! My tree has a white cast/powdery residue on its leaves. I sprayed them down with water (I know, I have read mixed reviews on this process) and wiped it off, but it won't go away!!!



Sunlight?! Am I providing enough sunlight in this window? I read not to put it in the spots the sun rays are directly in. What would you guys reccomend?



If you have stuck around this long, bless you my child. You might as well stick around to write me a response and help me save this figgy tree, too!!

Any help is greatly appreciated!! I may have bit off more than I can chew but I hope you can understand, and I hope that someone out there might be willing to walk me through this process! Thank you for your time.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 1, 2017 5:47 PM CST
I first read your description and expected to see a very sad looking plant. Then I saw the photos and see you have a beautiful Lyrata that does not have any serious problems. Not sure why it was considered discardable, but I'm glad you rescued it!

The surface root exposure is normal and it does not need more soil or repotting.

The brown leaf spots are minor blemishes and not a cause for concern. The white patch looks like something wet collected on that leaf and sat there long enough to cause permanent discoloration. Nothing you can do about it.

The location where you have it should be just fine. A few hours of direct sun on its leaves each day is not a problem.

Yours has been grown as a single-stemmed specimen and it is not intended to branch, so it will look different than other Lyrata images you find. It will grow taller as all new leaf growth is added on top. At some point, it will need to be pruned so that it doesn't get too tall or top heavy.

Water it thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels almost dry. Overwatering your Lyrata is not likely to be a problem.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Maryland
Elizabethmary1
Nov 1, 2017 6:40 PM CST
Will!!! Thank you so so much for your response. I feel like I just went to the doctor expecting bad news and leaving with a clean bill of health! Hurray! I will admit, I used my figgys history as subject bait to get someone to read my post, but I had no choice! I had posted on NUMEROUS forums and received many *likes* but no responses! I'm very thankful that you have taken the time to help me, and very thankful to hear the good news! I have never pruned before, like I said I am new to the gardening world with only 2 snake plants and an aloe plant. I will have to do some research on the pruning process. Again, I appreciate your reassurance and advice!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 3, 2017 12:48 PM CST
Glad I could help and encourage, Elizabeth.

Pruning will not affect the health of your plant, but it will affect its appearance. When you think its too tall, then you can pinch out new leaf growth as it emerges. You will have to do this persistently. It will keep it from getting taller and may encourage some branching near the top. As an alternative, you can prune the main stem at any height. New growth will then emerge on the stem just below where you made the pruning cut.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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