Q.How Do I Fix Ficus Root Rot? I’m Stuck Atrepotting…
Hi, I’ve had a 4ft Benjamina ficus for about six months here in Denver Colorado. The ficus had been thriving outdoors under a pergola until more recently. I tend to water once a week. About a month ago, I repotted the ficus into a bigger prettier pot which has some Small rocks and hole at the bottom for drainage. The ficus seemed to be doing fine until 10 days ago when I noticed the leaves were turning dark brown and the branches were becoming limp. Initially I assumed this was because I foolishly left the tree outside when the nighttime temperatures were dropping into the low 30s. But after bringing it into the house, And despite spring with one of those organic plants anti-fungal sprays, the ficus seemed to progressively wilt into an ill- looking plant. I’ve done some Internet sleuthing and I think the problem is root rot, so I started the process of repotting. I took it out of the old pot and I am trying to get dirt away from the roots to dry them out before repotting. But I’m confused because it seems like in the center of the route body is a solid mass, which I don’t want to disturb because I have a feeling I accidentally hurt the plant. I’m uploaded some pictures. Basically I need to know how do I save this plant, please? Any help would be appreciated!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Unfortunately, if fungicides are not cutting it, then the tree may be a loss. Most Ficus will rather it be on the dry side, and will tolerate a surprising length of dry time! Watering should, only, be done once the soil is bone dry down to at least 3 or 4 inches. This length of time will vary depending on the humidity and temperature.
One last thing you could attempt will be copper based fungicides. These are a big tougher, and will only be suitable for trees that you will not consume from. In this case, it could save your tree. This article will help:
I would try repotting into a light potting soil amended with compost. This will offer drainage, while still allowing the tree to access nutrients from the compost.
You will need to disturb the root mass in order to ensure that the fungicide reaches into the center of the infection. Soaking the root ball in a light fungicide/water solution can help to loosen things up.
Once you get it repotted, proper care will be necessary. This article will help:
It is worth noting that you will need to keep this tree indoors. It will not tolerate the slightest of condition changes. Try and keep the temperature and humidity constant, year round, if you can.