7 reasons why ficus leaves fall (and what to do about it)

In its homeland, in Southeast Asia, the ficus is considered a tree. All its varieties grow up to several meters in height. At home, exotics are grown as bonsai, low bushes or trees. It is valued for its high adaptability, rapid growth and decorative effect. All year round, the plant pleases with beautiful greenery, but in some cases it begins to turn yellow and shed its leaves. We will analyze why ficus leaves fall and what needs to be done in this case.

All about the fall and yellowing of ficus leaves

When help is needed
The reasons
— dryness and heat
— Change of conditions
– Lighting
— Watering errors
— Lack of nutrients
— Cold
— Insect pests and diseases
Simple preventive measures

How to understand that an exotic needs help

The handsome ficus takes pride of place in many home green corners. It is believed to bring prosperity and good luck. About 50 exotic varieties are grown indoors. You can choose a tall or compact copy, with small or, conversely, large leaves. But they all need about the same conditions. If they are not followed, problems begin.

The first signs of leaf fall in different varieties are different. So, small and large-leaved varieties such as Benjamin, Anastasia or Golden King first turn yellow. The leaf blades turn yellow very quickly, in just a few hours. The process starts from the middle and spreads over the entire surface. All yellowed leaves fall off after a short time.

Exotics with leathery dense leaf plates such as Elastica or Microcarps “ask for help” differently. It all starts with the loss of turgor. Leaves become limp. Their tips gradually dry out and begin to break off. Then the edges darken, the entire leaf plate dries up, turns brown. Dried leaves subsequently fall off. Sometimes the process doesn’t stop there. Darken and dry branches, stem.


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Why ficus sheds leaves

We list the main reasons why ficus leaves turn yellow and fall.

1. Dry air and high temperature

Almost all varieties of ficus trees do not tolerate dry heat. They need a moderately warm temperature, even in summer it should not exceed 24-26˚C. In winter, it is better to provide the bush with moderate coolness. Dry air is another enemy of exotics. Under natural conditions, it lives in humid forests, so it does not tolerate dryness at all.

For the normal development of ficus, he needs a moderately moist substrate, relative coolness and regular spraying.. The latter can be replaced by wiping the leaves with a wet cloth. It is also good to put the pot on a tray with wet pebbles or expanded clay, place it near a container of water, for example, near an aquarium. Elastica, Microcarp, Natalia, lyre-shaped, arrow-shaped and dwarf are especially in need of this.

2. A sharp change in conditions of detention

Most exotics are unpretentious, but there are capricious varieties among them. They literally react to any impact: a draft, turning on or off the batteries, moving to another place. A «trigger» for leaf fall can even be an accidental push or a small blow to the pot. This, by the way, is one of the most common reasons why Benjamin’s ficus drops its leaves.

The most capricious varieties are Benjamin, Palmera, Microcarpa, rough and equal-leaved. A small impact is enough for them to make the bush, which delighted the owner with decorative greenery, become naked in a few days. True, after a while it will grow leaves again. This must be taken into account when choosing a variety of ficus tree. If it is not possible to fulfill all the whims of a green pet, it is better to choose the most unpretentious varieties.

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3. Wrong lighting

Different varieties of exotics do not respond equally to lighting. Among them there are shade-tolerant and light-loving varieties. The former prefer partial shade and will suffer if they are placed on a brightly lit window sill or taken out under the direct rays of the sun. The foliage in such conditions will turn yellow, covered with brown dry spots. Not even burns are excluded. These varieties include wall (aka cherry), sacred.

Another group of exotic plants, on the contrary, prefers brighter lighting. But it shouldn’t be too intense either. The best option is diffused light. Darkening will lead to yellowing and subsequent fall of the foliage. This is characteristic of Benjamin, Elastica, Microcarp and others. Before choosing a place for a bush, it is necessary to study its varietal characteristics. Then there will be no problems with its cultivation.


4. Watering errors

Both overfilling and underfilling are equally undesirable for ficus. With regular waterlogging of the substrate, the root processes rot and die. This is reflected in the condition of the foliage and is the reason why the ficus leaves curl. Too dry soil mixture is also not good — the indoor tree will begin to dry, turn yellow. Maybe even die.

The best option for exotic is a moderately moist substrate at any time of the year. True, there are some varieties, for example, figs, which are characterized by a resting phase. At this time, abundant watering is contraindicated for them. Most varieties, among them Elastica, sacred, dwarf, Benjamin, require constant moderate humidity.

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5. Lack of nutrients

Over time, any soil mixture is depleted. The lack of nutrients has a detrimental effect on the plant. It loses its decorative effect, the leaves turn yellow, gradually fall off. And new ones do not appear. This is another sign of soil exhaustion. Regular, but not very frequent feeding with any complex fertilizer will help. You can’t overdo it. An excess of nutrients is also undesirable. It is indicated by the drying tips of the leaves.

From time to time, the bush needs a transplant. Otherwise, it will drop leaves. Soil depletion is corrected by top dressing, but is not completely corrected. Once every three to four years, the flower must be replanted. Usually it is transferred to a pot with a fresh substrate. If it is clear that the roots are cramped in the old pot, a new one is chosen with a larger volume.

6. Low temperature

Some flower growers are confident in the cold resistance of the exotic, because he does not like the heat. However, he also does not tolerate cold. Excessive coolness, 16-17˚C and below, is undesirable for the plant. Especially if the soil mixture in his pot is constantly moistened. Wet and cold roots quickly rot. It is often not possible to save such an instance.

Drafts are highly undesirable. They cool the plant, which is unacceptable for it. You can not put a flower pot in winter near glass or on a cold surface. An ice floor, for example, is not the best place for a ficus. The soil in the container will quickly cool down and cool the sensitive roots. In order not to harm the plant, when installing on cold surfaces, foam plastic, felt, etc. must be placed under it.


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7. Diseases and pests of ficus

Another cause of a leaf problem is a disease. It can be caused by a fungal or bacterial pathogen. Most often, exotic suffers from cercosporosis or anthracnose, infection with botrytis, root rot or soot fungus is possible. Before a disease can be treated, a correct diagnosis must be made.

It is necessary to carefully consider the bush, to identify other signs. These can be dry or weeping dark spots on leaf plates or stems, drying out of branches, etc. Only after that, a fungicide or an antibacterial agent is chosen, which is used to treat the bush. They do it not only for medicinal purposes. If the risk of infection is high, preventive treatment is also needed.

Pests are also dangerous for exotics. Their invasion may end in his death. They love the ficus tree of scale insects, aphids, nematodes, mealybugs and thrips. Red and yellow spider mites are especially dangerous for him. It is possible to understand that pests have attacked a bush not only by yellowing and falling leaves. Small dots-punctures and small dark spots will be noticeable on them. These are traces of insect activity.

At the initial stages of infection, it is better to try low-toxic home remedies: wash the leaves with soap, sprinkle the ground with tobacco dust, spill the substrate with a solution of potassium permanganate, etc. If the pests are not getting smaller, chemicals are used. Special insecticides will help, the method of application is indicated on their packaging.

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How to prevent leaf fall

It is very unpleasant if leaves fall from a ficus tree. To prevent this from happening, you need to follow a few simple rules.

  • Find the best place for your flower and do not move it unless absolutely necessary. He can easily do even without a summer «move» to fresh air. Heat and drafts are fatal for him.
  • Water regularly, do not allow the earthen coma to dry out or become waterlogged.
  • Maintain optimum humidity and temperature. Overcooling or overheating is not allowed.
  • Once a year, carry out preventive treatments with fungicide and insecticide. Spray generously on the crown of the tree. This will protect it from pests and diseases.
  • Repot the bush every three to four years. Be sure to replace the soil with fresh. It is best to do this in early spring, then the plant will experience less stress.

The decorative tree is beautiful and unpretentious. It is necessary to create favorable conditions for it, then it will delight all year round with its bright greenery.


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