Ficus Alii leaves turning brown

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by jujuliaju, Apr 3, 2020.

  1. jujuliaju

    jujuliaju New Member

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    Hello,
    Around a week ago my Ficus' leaves started to turn reddish-brown, I feel like it gets enough sunlight as I take it down every morning into an all-glass sunroom. I used a green plant fertiliser on it once a few weeks ago, I diluted it as instructed but I can't help but feel like it is the reason why the leaves are turning colour. I would really love some advice as to what I should do.
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  2. Andrew Matheson

    Andrew Matheson Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    Hi there,

    How long have you had the plant for, and how long have you been moving it? Ficus tend to be sensitive to movement within a house and often react by dropping leaves. I would recommend picking a good spot and leaving it in place. Plants adjust to where they are. If a leaf is in shade for a long time and is suddenly exposed to sun, it can get sunburned. However, if that leaf is allowed to acclimate, it can survive. When did you start moving the plant? Is the browning mostly on one aspect of the plant? Or on all sides?
     
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  3. jujuliaju

    jujuliaju New Member

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    Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for your help. I have had the plant for around two months and have been bringing it down to the sunroom or outside almost every day since then. It is just in the corner of my bedroom and my window isn't too big so I was worried it wouldn't get enough sunlight otherwise. I live in Ireland so it's not too sunny or hot here at all. It seems to be browning in random spots on all sides, however, the spots seem to be most concentrated on the one side. I have to admit, it's one of the first plants that I have owned that's not a cactus so I would love to be able to save it. Do you think it could survive in my bedroom without being brought down for sunlight? It's definitely not a poorly lit room, I just thought the more sunlight the better! What would you recommend I do with it now to try and save it?
    Again, thank you so much for your advice,
    Julia.
     
  4. Andrew Matheson

    Andrew Matheson Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    More sun isn't necessarily better, as long as it's *enough* light for the plant to grow, then the plant will adjust to its environment, which is so awesome! Plants are the best. However, because of this, if they suddenly get moved they have to adjust to a new environment. Some plants are better at doing this than others, and my understanding is that some of the household Ficus species aren't the biggest fans of moving around. So the trips to the sun room every day might not be so great for the health of the plant.

    If you're wondering how much light your plant is getting, I would ask a couple questions. From the perspective of the plant in the bedroom, can it see the sky? This might seem silly because of course the plant can't actually see at all- but it will give you an idea of how much light is reaching the leaves. (Try taking a couple photos with your phone if you are having trouble picturing what your plant is seeing). If the plant can see the sky, even if its not getting direct sun that is still quite a bit of light. However, if all the plant can see is drywall and concrete, it may not be enough light. And remember, the further from the window the plant is, the less light it is receiving.

    Consider downloading a Lux meter on your phone. There are a number of free apps that use your phone camera's light centre to measure the "luminous flux" reaching your phone. (Luminous flux refers to the amount of light that is REACHING a surface based on the source, eg, a lamp might be very bright but if you're far away from it, less light will be reaching you than if you were close to it). Download an app like this and take measurements around your house, it's kind of fun! Then you get an idea for how much light different areas are getting.

    Also something so critical to remember with houseplants and light- if a plant is receiving less light, it needs less water. A plant can only use water if it has light for photosynthesis! If it's not getting the same amount of light, it won't use the same amount of water, and extra water in a pot could cause rot. So if you're worried a plant isn't getting enough light, also consider watering less.

    Hope this is helpful info, basically try to pick one place for the ficus and monitor it and see how it does. Adjust watering depending on how much light it gets.

    Feel free to ask more questions!
     
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  5. jujuliaju

    jujuliaju New Member

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    I think that it's actually starting to get better since I've been leaving it upstairs! No new brown leaves and it's even growing new leaves! It's definitely close to the window but, only the top half of the plant actually gets the sunlight as the window is quite small. I just hope that all the brown leaves don't fall off!

    Thank you again, Andrew, for all your time and help!
     

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