Why is My Ficus Tree Losing Leaves?

Hi Judy,

I got this house plant at Home Depot back in September. The sales lady was eager to sell it to me because it was sitting outside and she told me it was getting way too much sunlight and the leaves were burning. I brought it home, potted it and put it in a corner that gets very little light because I was told it didn’t need much light.

The leaves have started shriveling and falling off in large amounts and now that I’m worried about it dying, I can’t even tell what kind of plant it is to find a remedy. I kind of think it may be some sort of ficus, but the leaves don’t look quite pointy enough at the end. Do you have any idea what kind of plant it is and do you have any suggestions for saving it?

I’m thinking I should give it more sunlight and possibly mist it. I live in a basement apartment, which means it should be humid enough. But, possibly winter is dehumidifying the house. We also typically keep the temperature in the house around 65-70. Is that possibly too cold?

Any advice is appreciated!

Best,
Erik

Hi Erik,

IMG_4795IMG_2291

Your plant is a Ficus Benjamina. These plants are very sensitive to a change in light, location, and temperature and can quickly lose almost all of their leaves. It sounds like your basement is a tremendous change from where it was sitting outside. I would recommend using a product called superthriveSuperthrive combines vitamins and hormones to encourage plant growth both above and below the soil line. It's not a plant food so it needs to be used in addition to your regular plant food; the two can be used at the same time. Just put a few drops into your watering can & that's all that's needed to improve the health & appearance of your plants. If your plants are in real trouble, add about 10 drops per 2 gallons of water. SuperThrive works best when the soil is dry.     every time you water for the next few months. You can read about superthriveSuperthrive combines vitamins and hormones to encourage plant growth both above and below the soil line. It's not a plant food so it needs to be used in addition to your regular plant food; the two can be used at the same time. Just put a few drops into your watering can & that's all that's needed to improve the health & appearance of your plants. If your plants are in real trouble, add about 10 drops per 2 gallons of water. SuperThrive works best when the soil is dry.     in the Glossary of the website.

Here are some care instructions for a Ficus Benjamina.

Ficus trees, especially Benjamina and Wintergreen, need very bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.. New varieties of called Ficus of the Future can survive in medium and even low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron..

Allow the top 25% of the soil to dry out before watering. Under-watering causes yellow leaves.  Over- watering causes green leaves to fall off and new growth to turn black. Ficus trees grow better if you follow a consistent watering schedule.

Fertilize monthly in the spring and summer when the tree is actively growing with a balanced houseplant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.

Ficus Trees like temperatures between 65°-85°F ( 18.3°-29.4°C). Keep Ficus trees away from cold drafts, air conditioners, and heaters or they will lose leaves.

You can read all my care tips for a ficus tree in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/ficus-benjamina-tree-how-to-grow-care-weeping-fig-tree

Save 10% on select product(s) with promo code 10LGBR8I on Amazon.com