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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - October 23, 2008

From: Palm Beach, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native Ficus Pumila
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have successfully maintained Ficus Pumila trees indoors for many years. Over the last year my two indoor,5' (in container) ficus trees have developed large brown lesions that turn "papery" before the leaf ultimately drops. I hvae tried rotating the plants indoors/outdoors, watering some more, others less, fertilizing, not fertilizing - all to no avail. Help please PB gardener

ANSWER:

Thank you for your question. While we would like to answer all questions we receive, Mr. Smarty Plants' expertise is limited to plant species native to North America, their habitats and cultivation. Limited resources require us to decline answering questions that delve into other areas. We hope you understand. Ficus Pumila is native to Asia.

We did, however, attempt to find some information on the plant. Mostly, it appears to be grown outside, and to be very invasive. We found one forum, Dave's Garden, on Ficus Pumila, Creeping Fig in which all the participants seemed to be dealing with it outdoors. Another site, Ficus Trees Information Common Ficus Tree does have a section on problems with the plant, so you might be able to find something there. Floridata Ficus Pumila refers to it as a vine.

 

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