Ask a Question forum: Ficus Tree Help

Views: 442, Replies: 12 » Jump to the end
San Anselmo, CA
Koelnerin
Apr 13, 2018 7:24 PM CST
Hi,
We have a potted indoor Ficus that is about ten years old that we are wondering how to revive.

It seems that it has been looking the exact same for years, neither particularly unhappy nor particularly thriving. So we are worried to upset it by taking any action, but it also does not quite look like it has reached its potential...

We live in moderate climate near San Francisco/ the coast. It sits by big (well insulated) windows with tons of light, but no direct sun light, nowhere near a heating vent, room temperature is about 21-23C during the day and 18-21C during the night (when we crack a sliding door about 6 feet away from it; no wind or draft from that). Humidity is about 40% typically. We moved it once in its life, about three years ago, which did not seem to bother it.

It looses a couple of leaves here and there, but no major dropping. We water it about once a week (when the top soil is dry), and fertilize once a month April to October.

There are no big roots growing out of the pot. There are a bunch of branches without leaves (that look sort of dead?), but others are full of leaves, making it quite lopsided. It's gotten quite dusty, but we are scared to spray it down.

What should we do to make it happy?

Thumb of 2018-04-13/visitor/34b540
Thumb of 2018-04-13/visitor/73c263


Thumb of 2018-04-14/Koelnerin/1c93dc
Thumb of 2018-04-14/Koelnerin/775973
Thumb of 2018-04-14/Koelnerin/79a24e
Thumb of 2018-04-14/Koelnerin/b2c634

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Apr 13, 2018 9:16 PM CST
Welcome!

That is a really nice looking plant. I love how variegated it is. Lovey dubby I think all it needs is some cleaning up. Start by cutting all the dead stuff out. Then, take it outside and wash it thoughly. I would use Insecticidal Soap because that will get rid of the dust and also any insects hiding out. Then rinse and let it dry.

Your tree will never be a fast grower because of the variegation. Photosynthesis only takes place in the green part of each leaf. There is a lot of tree to support on a small amount of chlorophyll.

If you give it a quarter turn every time you water, it will grow more evenly. Ficus take well to pruning so if there is a branch that gets too long, trim it.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 13, 2018 10:41 PM CST
I used to have a focus tree inside a chameleon cage. I had to mist it every day. Sometimes twice for the lizard to drink. It flourished in there. It was under grow light though so that might have had something to do with it.

Good luck!!🍀

Mindi
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
Sempervivums Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias
Image
plantmanager
Apr 13, 2018 11:06 PM CST
I have one of these variegated ones. Mine was in great light and had good care, but it really never grew much taller or larger. It pretty much stayed the same for about 10 years. I finally got a greenhouse, and moved it into the greenhouse. It's now almost up to the ceiling, and a very wide plant! It gets a bit more light, but I think the main reason it's growing so well is the added humidity and warmth. I've been taking cuttings, and the cuttings root easily.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Bill
Livonia MI (Zone 6a)
I measure my wealth in friendships!
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Dahlias Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Apr 14, 2018 3:00 AM CST
To be very honest, we try to grow things as house plants that are not meant as such. These things in a sub-tropical climate grow like weeds!
Down there they plant them as individuals or as privacy hedges!!
Now as a hedge they grow thick, tall and lush in full sun. Rainy season, dry season makes no difference.
To have one inside for ten years is great. They are susceptible to false spider mites indoors and dry humidity. It is the low humidity and low light that produces less than optimal growth.
If it were mine I would prune it and re- pot it since fresh soil might help. Fertilizer won't help much because in Florida, they get very little yet achieve great growth!
Children are the messages we send to a time we will never see.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Apr 14, 2018 6:26 AM CST
The number of leaves a Ficus can support is directly related to the intensity and quantity of the light it receives. Variegated Ficus require a bit more light than their all-green counterparts. Yours is receiving enough light for it to have stabilized, adding some new leaves while dropping some older ones, but overall staying in balance. Repotting, fertilizer, warmer temps, and increased humidity are not going to change that dynamic. If there is a way for you to increase the light, it will produce more leaves.

However, there are some other things you can do to improves its appearance. Start by pruning off all dead, brittle stems. Then, prune back some of the longest stems and those that are the leggiest with only a few leaves at the tip ends. New growth will emerge on an any pruned stems just below where you make the pruning cuts. Pruning is a way to promote growth in the center portion of the tree.

Pruning does no harm to a Ficus. It will alter its appearance, but not affect its health. How much you prune depends on how you want it to look. In general, I recommend pruning as much as you can stand!

Your overall care seems to be fine, so no reason to change any of that.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
San Anselmo, CA
Koelnerin
Aug 14, 2019 10:22 PM CST
I just wanted to circle back and say thank you all for the helpful advice! I did all the things you all suggested, and the ficus is looking great! Thanks again!!!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Aug 15, 2019 1:58 PM CST
Thanks for "getting" back. No need to go in circles.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Aug 15, 2019 2:33 PM CST
Can you post a update photo? We love photos!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
San Anselmo, CA
Koelnerin
Aug 15, 2019 3:57 PM CST
Waiting for new growth since we just pruned it (had twin babies in the meantime 😉), but it is looking a lot more healthy already!

Thumb of 2019-08-15/Koelnerin/2de12d

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Aug 15, 2019 6:01 PM CST
Very nice! Thumbs up
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Aug 16, 2019 2:49 PM CST
I agree Thumbs up
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Aug 16, 2019 2:52 PM CST
Good job, your Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina 'Variegata') is looking great and Congratulations on the twins!!! Lovey dubby
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Marilyn and is called "Marilyn's Seedlng BMWB x NWD"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.