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Ficus Tree

Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 9:41 pm
by odonnnic
Hello. I have a ficus tree that seems to be doing relatively well...However, it is in the corner of a ver tall room with bright sunlight only hitting about 3/4 of the leaves. The 1/4 that is facing the corner and receiving the less light appears to be dying off. Is this a direct result of lack of proper light. Should I rotate it and how often? Could there be other problems I may be missing?

Thanks for your insight.

Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 9:50 pm
by Kisal
IMO, all indoor plants need to be rotated occasionally. Long ago, I read somewhere that they should be rotated clockwise, but I don't know if there's any truth to that 'requirement'. Could easily be a lot of hooey. But, that's how I do it. :lol:

Your plant might be potbound, or it might have some kind of disease or buggy infestation. I can't hazard a guess without seeing pics. Sorry. :(

Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 10:15 pm
by odonnnic
I am still relatively new at this gardening thing. Can you explain what Potbound means? The other side is doing very well with tons of green sprouts. It's just the one side where the branches are slowly dying off. Entire branches appear to be shriveling up to the point where I just prune them off. Thanks again for your response

Posted: Sat May 16, 2009 1:02 am
by Kisal
Potbound is a term meaning the plant is in too small of a pot for its roots. If the roots don't have enough room, they will grow around and around until they form a tight ball the size and shape of the pot. The roots can get so tight that some of them choke off others. Also, when the pot is too small and is filled with roots, the roots are unable to absorb moisture. Although root bound plants usually tend to wilt or die on all sides, I have seen them die on only one side, as you describe. That isn't necessarily the cause of your plant's problem, but the first thing to do is to gently remove the plant from its pot and look at the root ball. Do the roots look healthy all around the ball? Do they wrap around and around the root ball, forming a solid hard mass, or can you gently crumble a little of the soil away? Does the soil smell fresh and earthy, or does it smell sour? If the roots and soil look okay, then gently replace the plant in its pot. If it's root bound, you need to get a pot one to two sizes larger and repot the plant.

Next, it's time to examine the leaves. Look carefully at the tops and undersides of all the leaves, and also examine the stems. Do you see anything that looks like little dark spots, that might be bugs of some sort? They don't necessarily need to move around. Scale insects, for instance, suck the juices out of plants, and they are immobile in the adult stage. They look like little brown bumps on the stems and leaves. You can use Google Images to find pictures if you like. If you see fine white webs on your plant, then it may have spider mites. There is a lot of information on this site about how to treat various insect infestations. :)

If you can take pictures of your plant and post them, then others may be able to offer better help. What I've given you here is really just the basics. :)

Posted: Sat May 16, 2009 2:31 am
by cynthia_h
I think the advice to rotate indoor plants clockwise is just to give us a direction to go in, so that we don't rotate the poor thing back and forth without giving the whole plant a chance at the "window seat," as it were.

Be careful not to give the same quarter of the plant the same "quarter" of the sun, either, so rotate the plant either more or less than 90 degrees. For me, it's easiest to remember the two Equinoxes and the two Solstices for my own two house plants.

On my next visit to MIL (coming up shortly), I'm due to rotate a possibly dying F. benjamina and a few Pothos types on the top of an 8-foot partial wall btw. living room and kitchen. I don't know if I will actually rotate them in place or "rotate" them out of her house altogether; all of these plants were looking pretty bad in April.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Posted: Sat May 16, 2009 3:00 am
by vintagejuls
cynthia_h wrote:I think the advice to rotate indoor plants clockwise is just to give us a direction to go in, so that we don't rotate the poor thing back and forth without giving the whole plant a chance at the "window seat," as it were.
Cynthia_h You said it first. :) I was thinking the same thing when reading kisal's post. Which reminds me, mine probably need some rotating.

odonnnic, great suggestions here for your problem. I agree, the plant could be 'root bound' and probably should be rotated regularly. Is the dry side too close to the wall or a heat source? Maybe it got dried out over the winter. Pics would be great, as well. :wink:

rotating plants

Posted: Sat May 16, 2009 9:27 am
by rainbowgardener
Agree with all of the above. I rotate my houseplants 90 degrees every time I water them (thus the caution about sun quarter above doesn't apply, since they are being rotated much more often). I always rotate widdershins (counter-clockwise), but again that's just so I know that it's always the same direction so that one side doesn't get forgotten. If one side of your tree has always been to the wall that is the likeliest explanation for what's wrong with it.