Plant diseases

Why does my ficus benjamina have yellow leaves?

The ficus benjamina tree , also known as «boxwood» or «benjamina rubber» is probably one of the most popular, due to its easy care and adaptability to different climates, as well as its ability to live inside our homes. We can find a great variety of types within the ficus species. Although some adapt to unfavorable conditions, the ficus benjamina is the one with the greatest adaptability.

Unfortunately, as with all plants, none are exempt from suffering diseases or problems during their development, for this reason, in Friends of Gardening we will explain why a ficus benjamina has yellow leaves and how to solve this problem.

General care of ficus benjamina

Ficus benjamina are trees that do not require excessive care , but if we want to avoid long-term problems, we must provide good living conditions. Doing a previous review of the care of the ficus benjamina will be essential to ensure that the yellow leaves are not due to a possible disease or parasite.

The ficus benjamina needs sunlight but never directly. If our ficus lives indoors, we will have to place it in a place where sunlight can reach it. Another aspect that can affect the ficus benjamina are air currents , these tend to cause the leaves to fall, therefore we will keep it as far as possible from the air currents.

We will provide irrigation water a couple of times a week in summer, once a week or ten days in winter. The excess of lime in the water  is the most frequent cause that explains why a ficus benjamina has yellow leaves.

The temperature required by the ficus benjamina is between 13 and 25 ºC. In the interior we must watch with the heating since it affects it negatively, like the rest of the plants. Another care that we can give to our ficus is a periodic water spray to clean the leaves and provide moisture, especially on days with drier heat.

The subscription will be made every 15 or 20 days in spring and it is highly recommended to bet on an organic fertilizer or to acquire one with the same characteristics. The pruning that we usually do to the ficus benjamina is a cleaning pruning, carrying it out a couple of times a year.

We will remove the dry or fallen branches, the damaged or diseased leaves and we will also prune the suckers. Another type of pruning that we can perform on ficus benjamina to favor its foliage is to cut the last two leaves of each branch, in this way, we encourage the buds that grow behind the cut to wake up and begin to sprout.

Ficus benjamina diseases

Most of the problems and diseases that affect ficus benjamina are derived from lack of care. The most common diseases of the ficus are the fall of green leaves , which can be due to several factors, such as drafts, a recent change of place, the lack or excess of irrigation water, a sudden drop in temperature or due to be located in a place with little sunlight.

We can also have leaf drop problems on our newly purchased ficus as they take time to acclimate to their new environment. In spring the ficus tends to shed leaves, therefore, if it does so at this time of year and it does not last, we should not suffer since it is common.

Another of the most common problems in the ficus benjamina is the presence of yellow leaves , which is usually due to excess lime in the irrigation water. The solution will be to provide a fertilizer rich in iron .

Like the ficus elastica, we can find a variety of ficus benjamina with a pigmented yellow leaf, but we should not confuse that color with any disease since it is simply one of the varieties of ficus benjamina.

Our ficus benjamina can also be attacked by some pests . The most common are the cottony mealybug and aphids , for this reason it is so convenient to check the leaves of our plants frequently.

Precisely aphids tend to attack the leaves, leaving them deformed and sticky. We can make a natural and organic insecticide based on nettle leaves , very effective in eliminating this type of parasites.

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