Please help with my Ficus tree!!

Bri.26(9)October 20, 2013

Hi everyone! I have a ficus tree(not positive what type) thats not doing so good! My grandmother gave me the ficus around 3 almost 4 years ago and it has always done well until now. I live in Florida and have the tree (which is about 6ft) in a large pot on my front patio and do not bring it inside unless its gets below 40degrees or so. That was always how my grandmother kept it so i never changed the routine. It has started losing its leaves..it is very full on top but the lower leaves are beginning to fall off. The main issuue that its having though is that its gowing these skinny long roots all down the tree. Very hard to describe.(i will attatch pictures) If anyone has any suggestions please reply! I do not know much about the ficus as im sure can be told so.any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
*I can only post one picture but can email more if you would like.

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zzackey(8b GA)

Those are air roots. Did you change anything with the ficus? They can be sensitive to light changes.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Has it been in the same soil since you've had it?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Bri.26(9)

No i have changed the soil 3 times since ive had it but the last time was probably 6 months ago so im going to get fresh soil and repot it tomorrow just to be on the safe side.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:16AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Well that's defnintely not a "tired old soil/root bound" issue. I wonder if there might be something helpful in this discussion for you and your awesome tree. I know these are more finicky than most, not one I have any recent experience with. Sending good vibes, a Dracaena tree my Gramma gave me is very special to me too.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:00AM
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judyk_2008(9 DeLeon Sprs)

A picture of the whole tree would help. I have had a ficus in a pot for 30 years and they can be a bit temperamental. They don't like sudden changes in light or temperature. But usually recover. I only repot mine every 4 or 5 years. Mainly because it is so big and such a chore. Mine is on an open porch that gets afternoon sun. I turn it each time I water which is usually every couple weeks and I water until it comes out into the saucer. I fertilizer with a slow release a couple times a year and if it is going to freeze, I wrap it in frost cloth unless it's a hard freeze. Then I bring it inside. Once every year or two it decides it needs more attention and some of the leaves turn yellow and fall off more than normal. That's when I trim it back in shape getting rid of the bare branches and air roots, a little TLC and it's happy again.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 11:10AM
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Bri.26(9)

Im sorry i would have posted more pictures bit im new to this site and couldn't figure out how. Im very glad to know that the ficus can be kept in a pot for a long period of time. Unfortunately where i live there is no where that it can plant it outside and its a very sentimental tree therefore i dont want it to become immovable. The temperature has dropped about 10degrees so thats probably the reason for the leaves falling but my main concern is the air roots (which was i put that picture.) Im going to do what you suggested and trim it up giving it some TLC. Thank you for your feedback it is very much appreciated!! Here is a picture of the whole tree. Also, if you have any more info about the ficus, please let me know. I love to learn anything i can about it.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Bri.26(9)

Ficus

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Bri.26(9)

Ficus

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 11:55AM
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Bri.26(9)

Ficus

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That's Ficus benjamina, a very nice looking one. Does the pot have an attached drain saucer? Removing those has helped my plants a lot. No pots outside have saucers, and I quit using them inside too, though something that big that can't be trekked to sink/shower for a drink (where excess water can easily escape) would be sitting on something. My plants come in for a few solid months, so I do what I can with the big ones to make sure water doesn't sit in the saucers. That attached type doesn't leave any room to extract excess water, or even see in there, never prevented a water accident when I did have them attached to pots, drives me nuts. Probably not an issue with your plant, coming inside just at night sometimes, but more reason to remove the saucer, IMVHO.

Is all of the growth at the top also part of the Ficus? I can't tell if there's also something growing on the other side of the fence that's just a bit taller, or what. Looks like some kind of pruning might be in order, but from that pic, I couldn't really say more specifically than that. Good job adding another pic to the discussion, BTW!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Bri.26(9)

No it doesnt have a drain saucer. I also removed them from all my plants. Every plant that had one seemed to die on me. All the growth on top is the ficus. Growing on the fence are jasmines. How would you suggest that i prune the air roots and the top growth? Thank you for all the good advice!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

GMTA! And wow, that really is a really big potted tree.

Trimming advice for it is beyond me, hope Judy or someone else can help with that.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 4:53PM
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judyk_2008(9 DeLeon Sprs)

The yellow leaves would make me think too much water or a change in sunlight, but your soil looks dry and you haven't moved it unless something that was blocking some sun has been changed. I think you are potting it too often. They really don't like being messed with. I really can't remember the last time I potted mine. I braided my base as it grew and keep the lower roots and branches trimmed up. I also trim the top branches to keep it shorter. I'll try to remember to take a picture and post it for you.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 10:26AM
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judyk_2008(9 DeLeon Sprs)

Here's my ficus. It needs the lower branches trimmed again. I cut them close to the trunk. As you can see mine is more weeping probably because I trim the top to keep it shorter. It could use reshaping but will have to wait until next spring.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Bri.26(9)

No it doesnt have a drain saucer. I also removed them from all my plants. Every plant that had one seemed to die on me. All the growth on top is the ficus. Growing on the fence are jasmines. How would you suggest that i prune the air roots and the top growth? Thank you for all the good advice!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 10:50PM
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Bri.26(9)

No it doesnt have a drain saucer. I also removed them from all my plants. Every plant that had one seemed to die on me. All the growth on top is the ficus. Growing on the fence are jasmines. How would you suggest that i prune the air roots and the top growth? Thank you for all the good advice!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 12:54PM
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