Ficus Trees

Indoor ficus tree losing leaves

greentoes added on July 17, 2014 | Answered

It suddenly got extremely hot about 4-5 days ago. About 80 degrees. My ficus tree has started to drop yellowed leaves since then, 5 or more a day.

It's a real beauty (10 yrs old) and has to have its own corner (I can't move it, it complains!!). I had it in front of a hot west window with the blinds done and that didn't help. I then moved it out of the window and to a shadier spot a few feet over. I have also started misting it morning and night. It lost 3 so far today. Am I doing the right thing or is there something else I can do? I love this plant and don't want to lose it.

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Answered on July 17, 2014

I love ficus trees too! (Why are you not surprised?) The first step in solving the puzzle of why Ms. Ficus is dropping leaves is to think about why ficus trees drop yellow leaves. Are they cranky and temperamental? Contrary to what many people think, not really! They're just extremely efficient and supremely adaptable. When the light changes, most plants fuss around (i.e.use their energy) changing the cells in their leaves; ficus have no time for that, they just pull all the valuable elements out of the leaves (that's what makes them yellow) then throw the leaves away, and either make new leaves that can better use the lower light, or go with a reduced number of leaves. Of course, another major thing that makes them drop yellow leaves is not enough moisture. And remember that any change you make isn't going to have a visible effect for a week or two.
So what about your tree? If you've had it for 10 years, you obviously have a good idea of how to water it, so that's probably not the problem. If you didn't move it within a week or two of the leaves starting to drop, that's not it either. You said it got really hot, like 80 degrees? ( Okay, I realize that for most of the country, that's not really hot, but relative to normal temps for you it must be.) Changes in temperature (unless you're talking about cold) don't generally cause leaf drop. What else could it be? If it's not light or water, the next thing we think about is soil/minerals. Especially if the plant has not been repotted recently, or if you fertilize much, there could be a build up of salts in the soil. Take the tree outside, and run a lot of water through the container, around 5X the volume of soil. This washes out the salt. Also, if the plant is rootbound, the roots won't be able to get enough water no matter how much you pour in, so leaves turn yellow. At some point you will need to repot, if you haven't done so in the last few years. I don't know if you have or not, but just in case, here are some tips on repotting:

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