Why is my plant dying

Emily Banks
4 months ago

Hi, i have this house plant not entirely sure what plant it is. We had it on our landing for around 6 months and few leaves would drop off time to time but new leaves were growing. since the winter it has lost many leaves and on of tbe branches has died and another is dying. i have moved it into the spare which gets more light and is warmer. have i made the right decision? has anyone had similar problems? TIA

Comments (4)

  • socks
    4 months ago

    What kind of pot? Does it drain?

    What kind of potting mix? Was it ever repotted after purchase?

    How much light does it get? Natural light?

    Send pic ot potting setup.

    It’s a rubber plant.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    4 months ago

    We had it on our landing for around 6 months and few leaves would drop off time to time


    first.. the tag tells you its a ficus ...

    second.. what does the above mean ... outdoors for summer??? .. and where are you.. big city name ... it might not be uncommon for a plant brought in for winter to shed some leaves ... or if you mean vestibule... how much cold exposure did it get every time the door was opened? ...

    the first pic shows it in a interior corner.. doesnt appear to be any window near it .... it should probably be within a few feet of a window.. and preferably in front of a window if possible .... plants shed leaves when they give up more energy trying to save them.. than the leaf actually produces ...

    and what socks said ...


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  • tapla
    4 months ago

    "Ficus" covers a lot of territory. There are more than a thousand species of Ficus, and that doesn't include the myriad of cultivars of the more popular species. Ficus benjamina alone has several dozen cultivars of the species plant, all varying from the species plant from a little to a lot. I have several trees of a cultivar of F benjamina which naturally has leaves around 1/10 the size of the species plant. The name of that plant, with binomial and cultivar, is Ficus benjamina "Too Little".

    Since I'm not familiar with the species name 'regina', I was looking around only to find the same tag (and the name 'regina') on at least 3 different species of Ficus (F audrey, F alii, and F benjamina). That leads me to think 'regina' is not the plant's species; rather, it probably has something to do with trying to lead people to their operation (exclusively) in order to purchase the plant. Your plant looks very much like F elastica, but I can't be sure because there is nothing in the images that allows us to get a good sense of the size of the leaves.

    "Why is my plant dying?" The broad answer is, all plants die because they are being subjected to cultural conditions they are not genetically programmed to tolerate. Somewhere within the range of conditions they are programmed to tolerate (wet to dry, hot to cold, humid to arid, et cetera) you'll find a sweet spot such that, if we're providing all conditions in 'the sweet spot', the plant will realize as much of its genetic potential as possible. Asking the plant to tolerate conditions at the extremes of what it's programmed to tolerate causes stress which causes the plant's systems to wobble out of balance, the price for which is lost potential in terms of growth, vitality (health), appearance, and where applicable, yields. stress unchecked leads to strain. Strain causes the plant to use more energy than it can produce, an unsustainable condition that always leads to death of the organism unless the cause of stress/strain is eliminated. That's how it works, but there isn't enough information in your post to determine why the plant seems to be in fairly serious decline.

    "I have moved it into the spare which gets more light and is warmer. have i made the right decision?" Unless the conditions where it was before the move were favorable, it was certainly a good decision. There are soo many potential causes of leaf shedding that we can't nail anything down w/o more info; however, the first suspect for plants that were growing in a spot which was too cool and dark would be over-watering, and the symptoms are consistent with those presented. I suggest you start by monitoring moisture levels at the bottom of the bot by using a "tell" to "tell" you when it's time to water. See "Using a Tell" below.

    If you're determined to work toward learning how to keep cultural conditions in your plants' 'sweet spot', This Overview of Good Growing Practices should be very helpful. For more specific advice re long term care of Ficus in containers, what I share in this piece focused specifically on the Ficus genus, Long Term Care of Ficus in Containers, will help you avoid all the common pitfalls you're likely to encounter as you work toward a higher level of proficiency. I have 30 - 40 Ficus trees I've cared for for around 40 years, covering 12-15 different species, and I've learned much about the entire genus along the way.

    If you have questions you think I can answer, or concerns you'd like me to weigh in on, I'll be following the thread.

    Also, you really do need to put together some kind of regimen aimed at providing supplemental nutrition (fertilizing) if you don't already have that in place. It's an essential part of the care of virtually all containerized plants for any grower looking for average or better results. Nutrients are the building blocks plants use to grow and provide elements necessary if they are to keep their systems orderly. Ask if you have interest ....

    Using a 'tell'

    Over-watering saps vitality and is one of the most common plant assassins, so learning to avoid it is worth the small effort. Plants make and store their own energy source – photosynthate - (sugar/glucose). Functioning roots need energy to drive their metabolic processes, and in order to get it, they use oxygen to burn (oxidize) their food. From this, we can see that terrestrial plants need plenty of air (oxygen) in the soil to drive root function. Many off-the-shelf soils hold too much water and not enough air to support the kind of root health most growers would like to see; and, a healthy root system is a prerequisite to a healthy plant.

    Watering in small sips leads to avoid over-watering leads to a residual build-up of dissolved solids (salts) in the soil from tapwater and fertilizer solutions, which limits a plant's ability to absorb water – so watering in sips simply moves us to the other horn of a dilemma. It creates another problem that requires resolution. Better, would be to simply adopt a soil that drains well enough to allow watering to beyond the saturation point, so we're flushing the soil of accumulating dissolved solids whenever we water; this, w/o the plant being forced to pay a tax in the form of reduced vitality, due to prolong periods of soil saturation. Sometimes, though, that's not a course we can immediately steer, which makes controlling how often we water a very important factor.

    In many cases, we can judge whether or not a planting needs watering by hefting the pot. This is especially true if the pot is made from light material, like plastic, but doesn't work (as) well when the pot is made from heavier material, like clay, or when the size/weight of the pot precludes grabbing it with one hand to judge its weight and gauge the need for water.

    Fingers stuck an inch or two into the soil work ok for shallow pots, but not for deep pots. Deep pots might have 3 or more inches of soil that feels totally dry, while the lower several inches of the soil is 100% saturated. Obviously, the lack of oxygen in the root zone situation can wreak havoc with root health and cause the loss of a very notable measure of your plant's potential. Inexpensive watering meters don't even measure moisture levels, they measure electrical conductivity. Clean the tip and insert it into a cup of distilled water and witness the fact it reads 'DRY'.

    One of the most reliable methods of checking a planting's need for water is using a 'tell'. You can use a bamboo skewer in a pinch, but a wooden dowel rod of about 5/16” (75-85mm) would work better. They usually come 48” (120cm) long and can usually be cut in half and serve as a pair. Sharpen all 4 ends in a pencil sharpener and slightly blunt the tip so it's about the diameter of the head on a straight pin. Push the wooden tell deep into the soil. Don't worry, it won't harm the root system. If the plant is quite root-bound, you might need to try several places until you find one where you can push it all the way to the pot's bottom. Leave it a few seconds, then withdraw it and inspect the tip for moisture. For most plantings, withhold water until the tell comes out dry or nearly so. If you see signs of wilting, adjust the interval between waterings so drought stress isn't a recurring issue.


    Emily Banks thanked tapla
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Judging by the sockets, Emily is in the UK or Ireland. The landing would almost certainly be indoors, not out, and wouldn’t have a door to the exterior.

    Emily Banks thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK