My friend had a couple of houseplants that were in dire need of help. As her family had moved a couple of times in the last two years, her sister-in-law had been plant sitting. She recently got her plants back since moving into a new house, they have a new puppy, and did I mention she has 4 children? She is a very busy lady! She called me and asked me to help save her Ficus (Ficus benjamina). Here is what I found:
I think the soil is probably in a moving van somewhere. It wasn’t well rooted in the pot and so was leaning precariously. It is a braided ficus and some of the branches died and have been cut off. I decided to add soil and trim the top of the plant into a rounded shape, as the top was very uneven.
I trimmed the top of the lopsided plant so that it would have a more pleasing shape. The plant is very thin, meaning it doesn’t have a lot of leaves. Many of the leaves fell off as it was carried outside, as it needed water badly. (P.S. I also re-potted both Spathiphyllum lilies that you can see on the porch.) The plant was very full when it was purchased. When Ficus are moved into lower light situations or moved at all, they usually lose a lot of leaves. They are doing a lotr of hybridizing, trying to come up with a plant that doesn’t drop so many leaves. As a rule, when any plant is moved into a lower light situation than it is used to, it is going to drop leaves because it doesn’t have enough light to support all the leaves. Usually the inner leaves drop, and in the case of this plant, most of the inner leaves fell and I trimmed all the small dead branches out of the center. Now it is even more bare than it was when I started. I’m hoping it will come back to life with new soil, a Western window full of bright light, and some consistent watering. I’m going to take her some Superthrive fertilizer and hopefully that will give it a boost. Here is the picture of the plant in its new home and I will post some new pictures as it starts growing and looking better.