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Article: The Finicky Ficus Benjamina: my Ficus trees

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Forum: Article: The Finicky Ficus BenjaminaReplies: 6, Views: 40
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Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

November 15, 2010
6:51 AM

Post #8212532

I have had two Ficus trees for about 6 years now. I love having them on my deck during the warmer months. This year, we got them moved indoors several weeks before we had to turn the furnace on. That way, they were in, but still had some days of fresh air from open windows nearby. I found that this timely move has really cut down on the leaf drop.
Another problem I had with one of them was scale insect (I think that is why the plant was given to me, it was a heavy infestation, and they were going to toss it)
I have been very diligent with an application of a systemic pesticide(yea, sorry) every spring and fall. Also applications of horticulture oil, in fall before they come in. Having the plant outdoors helps so much, but you have to watch for signs of pests, and get em before they become a huge problem.
I wish I lived in a place that these Ficus could stay outdoors, they seem to thrive, but I think they are well worth the time and trouble I go to to have them in my home.


Gurnee, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 15, 2010
8:55 AM

Post #8212760

Bobsgirl, bringing the ficus in while you can still have the windows open is a great idea. I'm sure it's less of a shock to the plant. Mine has gotten too unwieldy to take outdoors anymore but it seems happy year-round inside. The only garden "pest" bothering it is my cat who nibbles the leaves. I agree, ficus are worth the trouble because they are so graceful and really bring nature indoors.
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

November 15, 2010
9:45 AM

Post #8212839

One of my Ficus is about as big as the one in you photo. I love it. One of your kitties is a look alike to my Chloe!
Thanks for your article.

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Oklahoma City, OK

November 16, 2010
4:38 AM

Post #8214282

Thanks for the great article!
I have a lovely ficus that has not (knock on wood) dropped leaves during moves in and out of the house yet and has not shown any signs of disease or pests.

But then, Mr. Ficus goes on vacation every fall and comes back in the spring because a friend, who has a huge south facing window, likes having it visit and Ficus seems to love watching television at her house in the winter. Her cat likes to curl up in the pot for a snooze, but hasn't, so far, been inclined to dig in the pot.

I had thought that ficus were so finicky that they didn't like being moved even from one room to another, let alone from one house to another, but this ficus seems to do just fine.

A master gardener friend said that she repotted her ficus four times until, finally, it grew too big to wrestle in and out of her house! She ended up donating it to a local college.

I did top dress mine this year but may have to repot it in a slightly larger pot and try pruning it come spring.

Once it has acclimated to being outside again, of course!


Gurnee, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 16, 2010
6:08 AM

Post #8214434

Chloe is very pretty! You cannot tell in this photo, but Pickles is a manx, so he matches Chloe except for the tail.

Jazzy, Mr. Ficus may eventually have to decide if he wants to live with you or your friend. It's funny how big plants do seem like another person in the room. I inherited my ficus from my mom--it (he? she? not sure) came to her as a good-sized plant 35 years ago, so it has some history. It's been in the same big clay pot for probably 30 years--I just topdress. I trim it severely twice a year and it grows back in no time. It's a big job to even turn it, so I never move it.
Albuquerque, NM

June 23, 2014
9:12 PM

Post #9875763

I know this is an old article, but I just had to comment. I, too, rec'd my ficus from someone else. Actually, I rescued it from the community college where I worked because someone (perhaps on the maintenance staff) was killing it by watering it too often. We had posted a sign saying not to water it, but apparently the offender could not read or didn't take us seriously. We never found out who was doing it. The poor ficus was dying so I asked my boss if I could bring it home to let it dry out. Since it was moribund, she said, "Yes." It was still in the gimpy black standard-issue nursery pot. I repotted it to one of my own and set it in front of an east-facing window that is partially shaded by a porch roof. It also receives filtered light from windows high in the nearby wall. Once it dried out, I asked my boss if she wanted me to bring it back, and she said, "No. It will just get too much water again and will undoubtedly die. Since you saved its life, you may keep it. You may be the only one that knows how to take care of it." That was in 1996. I have repotted it twice when it got too big for its pot. It is still not taller than I am. However, since there is a low wall around the indoor planter where it resides, it is too heavy to lift now. Therefore, I just dig out some of the old soil and put some new around it. I hesitate to rotate it since it always drops its leaves, but its doing that at present anyway. At Christmas, I hang a few lightweight ornaments on it. It mostly receives filtered light so the branches are never full, but it is still alive so it must like it here.


Gurnee, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 24, 2014
5:51 AM

Post #9875917

Herbella, this sounds like a horticultural fairy tale! The plant is surely rewarding you with its beauty because you rescued it from peril. Thanks for sharing your ficus experience!

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