Houzz Logo Print

Ficus Lyrata Re-Repot into Al’s gritty mix???

7 years ago

Hello, I need advice if it is safe to repot my Ficus Lyrata for a second time this season.

I purchased my Ficus Lyrata from Home Depot at the end of March. He arrived in perfect condition and I kept him in his original container placing him in front of a big 10ft wide west facing window that gets full afternoon sun starting around 1pm. During the first week of April it sprouted 3 new leaves, and continued to sprout new leaves thereafter. I watered about once a week but did not fertilize.

By mid May it seemed that the plant had acclimated to apartment living rather nicely as it was still putting out new growth and by then, I was itching to get it into a shiny new pot with fresh soil so I went ahead and removed most of but not all of the original soil which consisted mostly of large chunks of bark mixed with some potting soil. I did not fully bare root it and I was a bit nervous about root pruning too much so I just cut straight across the bottom and removed about 2-3” of whatever was hanging down, then repotted into a 3-gallon glazed ceramic pot with an attached saucer. I had only just started reading about the gritty mix here on this fabulous forum, but I did not have a full understanding of it at the time (would not have gotten said pot with attached saucer!) and so tried to create some semblance of a mix by using a commercial mixture of orchard bark, charcoal & pearlite to which I added some of the original medium as it seemed to be doing very well in that to begin with.

After this initial repot, I moved the plant about 6ft away from the window and off to the right side of my living room where he would continue to have bright, indirect light, but no direct sun at all. After 2 weeks in this spot, he looked a little listless, so thinking it wanted sun, I moved him back infront of and to the left side of the window which receives mostly indirect light and direct afternoon sun around 3 pm. I check the soil with a chop stick and the bottom inch or 2 never seems to totally dry out so I’ve been watering approximately every 7 days by hefting the heavy pot to my kitchen sink, flushing with tap water, tipping pot on 45 degree angle to drain from the built in saucer, then watering again with a weak solution of Foliage Pro and again letting it drain on an angle.

As of today - July 25 - there has been zero new growth since the May repotting, some leaves have dry patches & cracks, some edges are slightly shriveled, and holes are appearing on some leaves. I do not see any insects on the plant although I do have a fungus gnat problem that I am starting to get under control by treating with water that I have soaked mosquito bits in. I have some plants in conventional MG potting soil that this problem started with - several herbs, a dracaena marginata and a ficus elastica which is doing very well and putting out new leaves despite the gnats…but oddly enough, I don’t see the gnats hanging around the ficus lyrata.

Since the May repot, I have been reading up on the wealth of information offered in these forums thanks to all the wonderful members willing to share their knowledge, and I now have a much better understanding of the merits of the 1.1.1 gritty mix (bark, surface, grit) which I would love to get my ficus lyrata into asap. Since I root pruned back in May, I am hoping that all I would need to do is bare the roots of the current soil with no additional pruning. I also want to drill new drainage holes in the bottom of the pot to help facilitate proper drainage.

So my dilemma is that being it is the end of July, and the root prune/repot I have already put it through in May, is this a wise thing to do now? I have repotted a janet craig compacta, a snake plant, & a paddle leaf succulent into the gritty mix - and they are all doing very well to the point that I feel like the ficus lyrata is jealous and begging to be transferred now as waiting until next June seems like an awfully long time away.

Any advice as to whether I should undertake this transplant or not is greatly welcomed as I want to do what is best for the plant.

Here are some photos.

Many thanks!

April 4th

May 17 - 1 day after Re-Pot

July 25

Nothing is going on in there & feels dry & crispy

Comments (13)