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Ficus benjamina

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Ficus benjamina

Postby Sandy Zone 3b » Nov 29, 2007 4:47 pm

Leaves turning yellow and falling off, is this normal for these plants?
What is the cause of this?
I have it in a south facing window, which have tinted windows. So I don't think that is the problem or is it?
I have other plants that bloom in front of these windows such as Stretocarpus and an Orchid and they seem to do fine.
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Postby bluebird » Nov 29, 2007 6:21 pm

Last edited by bluebird on Apr 01, 2008 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dropping yellow leaves

Postby Jeannie » Nov 29, 2007 8:58 pm

Sandy, while some leaf drop might be expected as a normal way the plant behaves, it is nonetheless something that should be made aware of.
Leaves yellow and drop off for other than what might be called 'normal' growing.

For instance, insufficient light causes leaves to yellow. It is after all photosynthesis the leaf derives energy from sunlight that gives the leaves the green. Our deciduous trees are a case in point.

Contrary to that....too much light can result in the same thing happening.
In your case, in a zone 3 hadiness zone, in November, I hardly think that applies here. And you say your window is tinted, cutting down again what light it receives at this time of season.

Too much fertilizer, or lack thereof. High nighttime temperatures or too much water are also causes of yellowing and/or leaf drop.

Then, there is the possibility of insects; most often "scale" or mealybugs.
These pests suck the juices from the plant causing distress.

So you see you need to carefully examine your plant and how it is cared for.
How you perceive your watering habits and what other ways you treat your plant may give you a hint as to the direct cause of your plant's problem.

Unless though, you do have insect invasion, a few leaves dropping --usually at the bottom, is not something to be too much concerned with.
Those bottom leaves, however, will not come back.

If indeed its the lowr leaves that are dropping, yellowing, chances are it is the low light levels the plant is receiving. I suggest, to experiemnt, move your plant to a brighter light with a southern, eastern or western exposure. Putting the plant into a northern exposure would be worse than leaving it where it is. After a time, see if this doesn't help the plant.

The green color though, once corrected, should come back.

You can, I'm sure, appreciate, in your zone 3, light levels at this time has dropped severely from what you are used to in summer periods.
December 21st, the winter solstace...from now until that date, the sun's intensity is dropping more and more.
After that date and until about mid February, the sun's intensity is at a very low level. Plants that are restricted to no direct light, can be probably given such direct light until the sun's intensity begins to again rise. Its the February timeline that we encourage our plants to renew themselves and we begin to help them along. That is when we begin to encourage new growth and begin too to begin feeding them.

Watering at this time is then much less than at other times because the plant is not growing. It can be allowed to dry down more than normal.
Yet, when watered, we should water to drainage and not let the water sit in the drainage saucer much more than 10 to 15 minutes before it is dumped.

In a summer period, I'm sure your tinted window may assist such plant that cannot, should not, be given direct exposure. At this time though, I think it is harming it.

One other note: Plants should not ever be in direct path of air currents from heating vents, or doors and windows that are commonly opened and closed on a regular basis.
Air currents cause plants to dry out much quicker than normal.
Increased watering is then needed to offset.

And, sometimes some plants react to water that is derived straight from the tap. Its cold and plants do not like too abrupt a temperature change.
Too, water should be allowed to sit gain room temperature and helps rid the water of fluorine that may be in a public watering system.
Some plants react to such chemical reaction.
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Postby Sandy Zone 3b » Nov 30, 2007 1:59 pm

Thanks for all the info......It would be difficult to move to a better location as all windows on the south side of the house are tinted.
I know in the winter months that the warmer conditions plays a big part, but that's hard to control here too! It is a cooler room then most others as I shut the vents off. I have other plants in there and they seem to be doing alright such as 'split-leafed philodendron', and 'yucca'. I guess I'll just wait and see what happens with it.
I like to decorate it with small Xmas balls for the festive season!
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Postby bluebird » Nov 30, 2007 2:19 pm

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Postby Sandy Zone 3b » Dec 14, 2007 11:16 pm

I left it in the same location so far and the leave dropping seems to have slowed down. I'm always worried when I see the leaves dropping that something has infected it and maybe the others too. I also have a huge split-leaved philodendron and a yucca plant in the same room as well as those flowering plants. I love your greenhouse and all the plants, sure helps with the dull days of winter!
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Postby Sandy Zone 3b » Apr 01, 2008 7:33 pm

The leaves are still dropping and now I noticed something small white and waxy on some of the leaves. It looks limp with dull looking leaves.
There's lots of leaves that have some kind of markings or spots on them, but I've never seen anything on them other then these white things.
:cry: Two weeks ago I washed it down a couple of times in the shower and also sprayed it with Pyrethum indoor houseplant spray. The leaves are coming off even the green ones.
Just don't know what to do next and I sure don't want any of the other big plants infected either.
:( I hate to give up on it but don't know what else to do for it.
Is there some kind of spray that should be used?
Ficus Benjamina & Stretocarpus
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Plant Talk

Postby Hank Freid » Apr 29, 2008 3:43 am

Falling of leaves not big problem. But if they continuous to falling then this is big problem and change the yellow color of the leaves is problem. So these plant should be pruned in the early spring before the new growth begings to emerge. Big leaf, oak leaf and climbing Hydrangeas are an exception to this rule. They are late spring or summer flowering, but they bloom from the previous years growth. So, they should be pruned only if necessary and after flowering.
prior to joining the impulsive group hank freid gained operational and asset management experience
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Postby Sheikea » Apr 29, 2008 9:48 am

you know it sure would not hurt to take a few leaves to the local greenhouse. :D
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