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?
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.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH