Propagation: My curly ficus drops all new leaves

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by redfield, May 23, 2013.

  1. redfield

    redfield Member

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    I have a curly-leaf Ficus benjamina; the leaves are small and tightly curled (it might be variety Pandora). It keeps producing lots of new leaves but they almost all fall off while still very tiny. In the attached photo you can see two tiny new leaves on the bottom; they both fell off when I touched them.

    Most of the mature leaves this plant had when I purchased it are still healthy after several years, so I think the problem is getting the new leaves established. Probably the grower used a special trick or treatment to help the new leaves survive to maturity. Anyone know the trick? Or have suggestions?

    (This isn't the typical Ficus leaf drop; the established leaves are fine.)
     

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  2. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Check for mites under the leaves? Soil medium soggy? Humidity changes? Relocation? So many variables.
     
  3. redfield

    redfield Member

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    This isn't the usual ficus leaf drop, although I suppose the usual causes could be involved. I think it's something to do with whatever mutation makes the leaves so curly. Here's a photo of the baby leaves just after they've fallen off, with a dime for comparison. None of the mature leaves fall off, just all the tiny new ones.
     

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  4. Grooonx7

    Grooonx7 Active Member

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    I didn't find your answer, but I did find a webpage and a person who might be of help. Possibly you should contact him directly. I noticed, in the advice he was giving, he seemed adept with numerous species of ficus. Good luck.

    http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/hortiscope/tree/ficus.htm
     
  5. redfield

    redfield Member

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    Curses, he retired at the end of 2012! His university web page doesn't list his email address, which probably indicates that he doesn't want to get emails from people like me.

    But thanks for taking the trouble to find this resource for me. I have several other ficuses suffering from various forms of neglect and it will be a big help.
     
  6. Grooonx7

    Grooonx7 Active Member

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    I think he'd be happy to receive correspondence from "people like you". Maybe the university system is restricted by legal concerns regarding email. I have no idea about that, but I think he was using a university domain, and he may have had constraints.

    Sometimes googling the person's name helps; sometimes not. It's likely worth some detective work on your part. If you do find a way to contact him, I think you should definitely try.

    Best of luck.
     
  7. Teresa M.

    Teresa M. New Member

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    Did you ever find out the answer to this problem? Same thing is happening to me! It’s so sad, all the dropping babies.
     
  8. redfield

    redfield Member

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    No, so sad indeed. By coincidence, this weekend I finally gave up on it and threw it out.
     
  9. Teresa M.

    Teresa M. New Member

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    Oh no, that is sad. You put in a good fight though... that was a while ago.
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    The plant in question looks like Ficus benjamina 'Barok'. Since the young leaves appear to be healthy and not diseased when shed and continue to be produced I would surmise the problem may be culture related. With that I would locate the plant to a spot with bright light and higher relative humidity to see if it makes a difference. Perhaps this cultivar is more sensitive than others in its requirements. You could try something like maintaining a consistent level of moisture in the soil. Fertilizing on a regular basis would eliminate the possibility of nutrient related issues.
     
  11. Teresa M.

    Teresa M. New Member

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    Thank you! It may be irregular watering as it’s at work so i’m not always there. I’ll try to keep it more consistent, perhaps a humidity tray too. It’s in the same spot it’s always been and it’s only just started dropping. Perhaps fertilizer...
     

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