Weeping Fig Dropping Leaves – House Plant Journal

Weeping Fig Dropping Leaves

Plant: Ficus benjamina variegata (weeping fig)

How long have you had the plant? 1 to 6 months

Concerns:

I’ve had it for a few months but it’s leaves have been dropping off a lot in the last month or so.

Light Situation:

Plant Parent: from this spot, the plant only receives indirect light

How do you determine WHEN to water: I wait for the soil to become just slightly dry.

Describe HOW you water: Bottom watering

What fertilizer do you use? I have not used fertilizer

When was the last time you repotted? I haven’t repotted.

Darryl

Thanks for all the details!  Here’s my assessment and recommendations:

  • This plant is called “weeping” for good reason: you should expect some degree of leaf drop.  But there is a more obvious reason why your plant will experience significant leaf drop – its current light situation is 100x less (yes, a hundred times less) than where the plant was raised.  If you use a light meter on this spot, I estimate the light levels would be 50 FC most of the time.  The commercial nursery where Ficus are raised typically gives them 5000 FC most of the day.  Most indoor spaces will not have anything close to this level but during the warmer months of the year, Ficus will do well outside in a partially shaded area.  If you only have indoor space for the plant, it needs to be right in front of your largest and sunniest window for the least amount of leaf loss (and there will always be some leaf loss)
  • When your plant is in a better light situation, you should use fertilizer on a regular basis – my recommendations here.
  • When your plant is in a better light situation, the water usage will be faster, which means you will be watering more frequently.  You can continue with bottom watering if you want but I find it to be too time consuming.  Pouring to evenly moisten all part of the soil is sufficient.

If you want clarity in houseplant care – learning what will have the most impact on your enjoyment and not wasting your time – I think you’ll enjoy my book and online course.


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