MinnMonkey
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Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Indoor Ficus Dropping Leaves

I did a search of this forum and found a lot of useful information, but still have some questions about my ficus tree.

I purchashed a 4 foot ficus tree a few months back at a local garden store, and it has been doing pretty good. But recently it has been dropping about 10-15 leaves a day. I have been watering it per the instructions (water when soil is dry about 1 inch below the surface, and mist daily), and it doesn't get any direct sunlight, but the room has windows on 2 sides, and is the brightest room in the house. Also, over the past few weeks days have been getting shorter, and we have had several overcast days in a row.

Should I be concerned about the falling leaves, or is this normal this time of year?

Petra26
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Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:23 am
Location: Chicago, IL

since you have it in the brightest room in the house and it is getting colder out, i am going to assume that it has the most drastic temperature changes in the house. ficus DO NOT like the cold. so the drastically colder night temperature drop can affect the ficus greatly. i would look into getting some kind of insulation plastic stuff to cover the windows to prevent cold streams of air to slip through the cracks. windows are notorious for allowing cold air into the house through convection and numerous cracks. also, if your heater just turned on and since it is getting colder, the humidity levels is probably dropping. they love humidity/moisture so a humidifier could be helpful in that room if possible. or if you're cheap like me, several trays of water with large surface areas spread out through the room can help. also, make sure the heating vents aren't blowing too close to the ficus thus drying them out further. there are plastic coverings that can direct the warm air from the vents away from the plants.

as for normality of it dropping leaves, it's somewhat normal b/c the environment conditions in the room are deteriorating due to events mentioned above. BUT if the conditions are kept optimal, ficus do not go through the typical dormancy of other trees. they can grow all year long as long as the conditions are proper.


edit: you should take a couple pictures of the tree and a few of the room itself and post them here. you can upload them at www.imageshack.us and use the links/codes provided and post them here :D

ynot
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Re: Indoor Ficus Dropping Leaves

MinnMonkey wrote:I did a search of this forum and found a lot of useful information, but still have some questions about my ficus tree.

I purchashed a 4 foot ficus tree a few months back at a local garden store, and it has been doing pretty good. But recently it has been dropping about 10-15 leaves a day. I have been watering it per the instructions (water when soil is dry about 1 inch below the surface, and mist daily), and it doesn't get any direct sunlight, but the room has windows on 2 sides, and is the brightest room in the house. Also, over the past few weeks days have been getting shorter, and we have had several overcast days in a row.

Should I be concerned about the falling leaves, or is this normal this time of year?
I am not sure why this is in the bonsai section...[:razz: :wink:]

But here goes:

I am going to assume this is a Ficus benjamina, That's what most of the type you describe are.

Ficus being tropical trees are not deciduous. Meaning they do not drop their foliage and have a dormancy.

Yes, you should be concerned. No, It is not normal for this [or any] time of year. It's no catastrophy but obviously there is at least one problem you need to fix.

Despite it being in the brightest room in the house I feel I should tell you that ANY indoor situation is a relatively dark place as far as most plants are concerned.

Ficus do get a bit grumpy and shed their leaves at times, In the low light levels it lives in now I'd expect the new crop of growth to be fairly leggy w/ large leaves.

They are fairly tough and pretty tolerant of low light conditions though I would suggest getting it far closer to the window as the intensity of light decreases to the square of the distance.

What this means is that if your plant is 10 feet from the window the available energy in the form of light is 64 times less than if it were 2 feet from the window. { 10-2=8, 8 squared=64}

You haven't mentioned it [But I will]... Are the leaves turning yellow before they fall off? This could be a sign of overwatering.
I am guessing it is in a fairly large pot and it occurs to me that you may want to let it dry out a bit more before watering it. There is after all alot of soil below that top one inch that has not been anything other than wet for a very long time.

Check out how dry they let the ficus get at the place you bought it, You might be surprised.

I think less water and more light will set your ficus right.

Good luck
ynot :)

Sharp
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Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 12:42 pm

I think in this case, moving it closer to the sunny windows will end up making it colder. Ive always found that ficus can tollerate lower sun lvls but HATE the cold. Minneapolis is a very cold area. Even a sunny window is pretty cold. Id personally make sure the temps and the humidity are higher and then address the light with some supplimental lighting instead of moving it to a colder cold source (aka windows). Even a lamp with the proper bulb would do wonders. Of course if this is a 4 foot ficus bonsai it may get tricky.


Ficus from my understanding grow well on jungle floors, where the lighting is dim. Of course for bonsai purposes the more light will bring smaller leaf size which is highly desireable for the bonsai. But we do the best we can. And I find for beginners that its best to learn to keep the tree alive rather than focus too much on the finer points of bonsai. :)


Id love to see some pics of this tree Minn.


The local nursery here have a large ficus bonsai that I just adore here.

MinnMonkey
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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Indoor Ficus Dropping Leaves


I am not sure why this is in the bonsai section...[:razz: :wink:]
Because, I don't know a whole lot about houseplants and this is my first one. :lol:

I am going to assume this is a Ficus benjamina, That's what most of the type you describe are.
I believe you are right. The trunk is braided, I don't know if that helps at all.

You haven't mentioned it [But I will]... Are the leaves turning yellow before they fall off?
The leaves are green when they fall off, and the tree is currently producing new leaves.

ynot
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Nah, Braided makes no difference. :wink:

Before you go all crazy worrying about the cold temps outside...

I want to emphasize that's outside.
It is not really relevant consideing your four foot ficus isn?'t going to be snuggled up against the glass.

Finding out the ambient temp near the window requires nothing more than a weather thermometer. Stick it 2' or 5' [Whatever...] from the window and see what the temps are at night [the coldest time]. I sincerely doubt you will hit 50f [Do you have decent windows in your house?]

A living room is far darker than a jungle, especially if you consider the fact that the sun shines 12 hours a day year round in the tropics. That's a far cry from when it is getting dark at 4pm where this ficus lives. It needs to grab as much sun as possible to maintain it's health.

This being Minns maiden voyage into housplants...Having a 5 foot tree of lights blazing into all hours of the night in the livingroom...

Well, That just might not be quite the atmosphere desired....know what I mean?

Humidity/ Misting will help also.

Tosses .02$ on the table ...:D
ynot
Last edited by ynot on Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MinnMonkey
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Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Everything I have read said the place the ficus tree in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight.

I am thinking of moving the plant, but what will happen if it gets a coulple hours a day of direct sunlight a day?

ynot
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MinnMonkey wrote:Everything I have read said the place the ficus tree in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight.

I am thinking of moving the plant, but what will happen if it gets a coulple hours a day of direct sunlight a day?
It will get better.

Ficus benjimina are native to places like Thailand and Australia...

Personally, I don't think you are putting too much at risk in the fierce Minnesota October sunshine. :wink:

MinnMonkey
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Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

ynot wrote:.

Personally, I don't think you are putting too much at risk in the fierce Minnesota October sunshine. :wink:
LOL..We haven't seen the sun in days here.

MinnMonkey
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Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

I moved the tree closer to the window, and have been misting it daily, and it only dropped a couple leaves all weekend (compared to 10-15 each day).

ynot
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MinnMonkey wrote:I moved the tree closer to the window, and have been misting it daily, and it only dropped a couple leaves all weekend (compared to 10-15 each day).
Thanks Minn, Keep us posted :)
ynot



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