Ficus Benjamina - the plant you love to hate! The most common complaint is that the leaves turn yellow and fall off, leaving you with bare branches - not very attractive to look at! Here are a few tips to keep your ficus healthy and thriving.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Spray Bottles
- Ficus Benjamina Trees
- Liquid Fertilizers
- Water Meter
- Slow-release Fertilizer
Avoid overwatering your ficus! The most common mistake people make is to add more water once the leaves begin to turn yellow. This is the opposite of what you should do. Always feel the surface of the soil with your finger tip. If it feels dry to the touch one inch below the surface, it is time to water. If the soil still feels moist, withhold water for a day or two.
Provide ample humidity, especially for new plants. Mist ficus plants at least twice daily.
Make a humidity tray by filling the plant saucer with gravel. Runoff water will collect in the saucer, which has two benefits: the roots will not sit in standing water - the most common cause of root rot; and the surplus water will evaporate through the plant, providing additional humidity.
Select a site with bright, filtered light. To determine if the light is bright enough for a ficus, you should be able to see your shadow on the wall behind the area you select. Early-morning or late-afternoon sun is fine, but avoid an area that gets direct sun all day.
Find a location free from drafts. Place your ficus benjamina away from opening doors or heater vents. Also avoid large windows that change temperature throughout the day.
Fertilize your ficus monthly throughout the growing season with half-strength liquid fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer according to label directions. Withhold fertilizer in the winter months.
Tips and warnings
- Ficus will use less water during the winter months, so be sure to check the soil prior to watering.
- If leaves start to yellow and drop, decrease water and increase humidity. Use no fertilizer until the leaf drop stops.
- Use a water meter if you are unable to determine the moisture content in the soil with your finger. This ingenious device measures the amount of moisture present in the soil and provides a reading of dry, wet, and time to water!
- Growing ficus benjamina is not for the faint of heart. These plants require constant surveillance.