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Benjamina Ficus losing leaves

5 years ago

Hi everybody!

Happy New Year to all!

Late last November, I purchased from the Fast-Growing-Trees a beautiful 3'-high Benjamina Ficus tree, which was delivered to me in a 3-gal standard pot on December 2nd. The tree was in a great shape with a nicely trimmed crown of dense leaves. A week later, I re-potted it into a larger pot with good drainage. Soon afterwards, it started to loose lots of leaves. And in spite of the fact that many new ones continually appear, the tree is far from looking happy. I water it approximately once a week and only when the soil is completely dry about two inches down. The thing is that when I stick my finger into the soil and feel that it is dry some two inches down, the root ball is still a bit wet. Therefore, I am not sure when to water it: when the 2" layer of the soil is dry or when the root ball is a bit dry.

Although I am not much of a gardener or house plant expert, I have read a lot about how sensitive to any change (temperature, humidity, light, location) Benjamina Ficus tree can be and that losing leaves is its response to any change. The problem I am facing is twofold: I live in a Bronx, NY, apartment where none of the windows provides bright sunlight (the tree stands now near the biggest window). In addition, the air in the apartment, esp. now in winter time, is pretty dry. So, in the course of past month, the tree had to acclimatize and adjust to these rather uncomfortable conditions. I suspect it may be sling leaves because of this new environment in addition to the fact that I must have overwatered it. Today, as it continued to lose leaves, I decided to take it out of the pot, mix in as much perlite into it as I could and planted it again. I know that I am stressing the tree by all theses steps, but I am afraid it would inevitably die on me if I left it without trying to improve the potting mix a bit.

I'd appreciate any good, educated advise on what else could be done to revive and bring back this nice tree, which feels rather miserable now, which you can see on the attached photos.

Thanks much in advance for reading this rather longish post and for any help with this problem.

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