THE AGRONOMIST ANSWERS ON HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PLANTS
MY FICUS ELASTICA IS LOSING LEAVES
QUESTION OF BIANCA
For my birthday, on September 8, my children, knowing my love for plants, but without having the classic green thumb, gave me a Ficus Elastica. It is a 1 m tall plant with 3 stems; it was and still is beautiful but alas it is losing its leaves. The leaves are a beautiful dark green color, but within a few days not to say hours they turn yellow and peel off. For the first 2 months he was in the room not really in the light but not even in the dark; now i put it next to the window behind the curtains, but the problem persists. I observed with a magnifying glass the possible presence of spider mites but there is not even the shadow. I observed that the roots are coming out and I read in your column, which was found by chance and that I will certainly never forget, given its usefulness, that it should be repotted. But is the time now or should I wait for next spring? As for watering, I bathe it little and often and keep the leaves clean and vaporized with water at room temperature.
I have not given any type of fertilizer.
I really hope you can help me with some good advice because I'd really be sorry to see her die.
I look forward to your response before the total disappearance of the leaves and I wish you a happy Sunday.
from the symptoms you described, I understand that more than illness, your ficussoffra of non-optimal environmental conditions in fact generally defoliation is linked to poor conditions of light, humidity and temperature.
In the cultivation of your ficus you must take into account that it does not like temperatures above 24 ° C, drafts, temperature changes, little light (not direct sun) and low humidity.
Now in your case, you should check all the above conditions and in case, run for cover.
Let me explain: if your ficus plant does not receive a good brightness or vice versa if it is exposed to direct sun, place it elsewhere; ditto if it is exposed to drafts or if it is near a heat source. In the latter case, if the room in which it is located is hot, you need to increase the irrigation so that the soil remains moist (I strongly recommend that you do not leave stagnant water in the saucer).
For the nebulisations, it is advisable to do them during the winter period only if there is a particularly hot microclimate in the house due to radiators and the like.
I recommend that you do not clean the leaves with those polishing products that are on the market. Use only a soft damp cloth.
For fertilization, you could start helping her with liquid fertilizers that you mix in the irrigation water, once a month. On the market you will find many types, buy one that has Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and use the doses indicated in the package.
For the repotting of the ficus wait for spring and use a peaty soil, where at least one part out of four should be made up of soil of leaves. Do not cut any aerial roots and support the stem with braces, preferably made of bamboo.
Keep me informed.
Dr. Maria Giovanna Davoli