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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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Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Grenada, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Best of Smarty, Non-Natives, Watering
Title: Why is my Weeping Fig crying leaves?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a weeping fig that I bought Memorial day in Birmingham, Al. It has 8 or 9 trunks growing altogether. It sits on a porch with eastern exposure, only about 2 hours of sun. It has been losing leaves steadily since I got it. They turn yellow and then fall off. I was watering it daily. Now I water it about once a week. But the leaves are still falling off. Could it be our bad water that is spoiling the plant? Thanks for any help you can give me.

ANSWER:

Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina is not a North American native plant species and is outside our area of expertise.  However, we may be able to help some. 

Mr. Smarty Plants once saw a cartoon of a weeping fig with the caption, "Ficus benjamina - Latin for, its leaves fall off."  Leaf drop is a universal truth of this species.  It will drop leaves in response to just about any change in its environmental condition: light, water, air temperature, relative humidity, you name it.  Leaf drop is a weeping fig's way of saying, "I don't like being messed with!"  Fortunately, ficuses rarely show any ill-effect from their leaf-shedding.  They usually soon produce new leaves and going on doing whatever the heck it is that ficuses do all day.  Watering once a week sounds about right.

 

 

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