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Indoor ficus — 1

I have a ficus tree that is now about 5 feet high growing inside in a room that does not get a lot of direct sunlight. It's on the south side of the house and gets none at all in the winter. We have electric central heating and keep the room at about 17 degrees during the day and 20 in the evening. The tree is doing well but losing quite a few leaves. I don't want to overwater it, but could it be lacking water? Last February I repotted it, but maybe it needs some food over the winter?


Are the leaves shrivelling up and dropping, or dropping off while still green? If they are shrivelling up and dropping, the plant is too dry and could also be in need of repotting. Increase the amount and frequency of watering if this is the case. If the leaves are green and dropping, it is likely that you are overwatering your ficus. Reduce watering.

With artifical heating, it is likely the air is too dry and so your ficus will benefit from the leaves being regularly misted with water. You could also put pebbles in the saucer and keep it topped up with water to help increase the humidity around the plant. The pebbles prevent the plant from sitting in water.

You may like to look at the size of the pot your plant is in. A plant the size of yours should be in a pot at least 40-45 cm wide and as deep. Use a quality potting mix when repotting, not garden soil or compost as it compacts down and lacks enough aeration for the roots.

Ficus, or any houseplants, will benefit from regular liquid feeding say every fortnight. Use Phostrogen or Lush and mix to the instructions on the pack.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

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