Indoor Ficus benjamina losing leaves
My indoor Ficus benjamina is rapidly losing its leaves. Help! I live in Ottawa, and have a 60+ year old Ficus benjamina that was given to me when friends moved out of town. It is in the back of a south-facing room with a large window; it receives bright indirect light. The temperature in the house is kept between 16-19 degrees, although in the summer it can go as high as 26 degrees. I will admit that I'm not very good at watering it regularly, nor has it received any fertilizer since it's been here (about 5 years). The soil at the top of the pot feels quite hard. I don't know when it was last repotted. It has also not been pruned since it was moved to my place. I understand from reading various articles that, at this point, I should: 1. Water it thoroughly, let it drain for about 20 minutes and then water it again to try to flush the soil. 2. Then watch the top of the soil and water it when it looks dry. 3. Fertilize it once a month in the summer and then taper it off to once every three months in the winter. 4. Repot it. 5. Prune the top and sides. Does this sound correct and can you tell me when I should do each of these, please? I'm concerned that if I do too many of these things too quickly, the Ficus will continue to lose its remaining few leaves. Thank you very much for your help. It's getting quite desperate! Best regards, Sarah
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Here is an article that will help you on "Helping a Ficus Tree That Is Dropping Leaves" - based on the hardness of your soil, I would say it was a case of under-watering that caused your leaf drop. You will want to soak the tree’s container in the tub for an hour to properly rehydrate the soil.
Based on what I am seeing, I think your ficus might also benefit from being re-potted into a larger container.
Here are some articles on the care and pruning of ficus trees that will also assist you: