Finicky Ficus?

Find out why your ficus may be losing its leaves.

Q: My ficus drops its leaves all the time. What's wrong with it?

gby1208_4a_Ficus_benjamina

gby1208_4a_Ficus_benjamina

frame 1

A: Ficus benjamina, or weeping fig, is notorious for dropping its leaves, and it's typically easy to grow--until you move it. Ficus prefers to stay put. In fact, the seemingly simple and harmless act of moving it from one corner of the room to the next, or even a few feet for that matter, may cause it to lose its leaves.

So give the plant a permanent spot in your home, ideally one that receives moderate to bright light. Water only when the soil begins to dry out. Mist often, every day if possible. Wipe the dust from the leaves once a month with a damp rag.

gby1208_4b_variegated_ficus

gby1208_4b_variegated_ficus

Untitled 2,915

Like so many other tropical plants, ficus, like this variegated selection, prefers to be potbound, so repot it only when its roots occupy over three-fourths of the pot space. Repot only in spring, stepping up to a container no more than two inches in diameter larger than the previous pot.

Overwatering and drafts from heating and cooling vents and poorly insulated windows and doors may result in leaf drop. And actually, a natural gas leak can also be the cause. Ficus benjamina is like a canary in a coal mine, so if it sheds its leaves and you smell gas, call the gas company.

Those issues aside however, the ficus makes a fine houseplant and enjoys spending time outdoors from late spring to early fall. The bad news is that it tends to lose its leaves, but the good news is that they tend to quickly grow back.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Purple Heart

The flowers of purple heart are pretty in their own right, but it's the rich purple foliage that really steals the show

How to Care for Ferns

Learn simple techniques for taking care of indoor ferns.

The Best Ferns to Grow Indoors

Green up your home with a graceful, tropical fern.

Q&A: Fading Coleus

Here's a tip on caring for a coleus plant over the winter.

Fun Ways to Design with Ferns

With a little imagination, and expert advice, ferns can become a gorgeous garden asset.

How to Make a Fresh Magnolia Wreath

Holiday decor is simple and inexpensive when it's collected from your own backyard. Gather magnolia leaves to create a fresh take on a traditional Christmas wreath.

Perennial Stars

Have planting to do? Master gardener Paul James suggests some interesting plants you may not be familiar with that will increase the variety and beauty in your garden.

Favorites in an Atlanta Garden

One gardener's solution to living on a busy suburban corner.

Learning From Hummingbird Fuchsia

An HGTV gardening expert finds a lesson in beauty with hummingbird fuchsia.

Crested Iris

You can grow a crested iris in a rock or woodland garden.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.