Ficus Disease

Overview

Ficus plants are small trees, originating from the Old World tropics, that are often found in office buildings and homes. Although there are many species, the Ficus benjamina (weeping fig or fig) is the most common ornamental ficus tree. Usually diseases that attack ficus plants are caused by poor growing conditions. It's important to recognize symptoms of disease, as soon as they appear, so a disease can be controlled.

Identification

The Ficus genus is made up of more than 800 plant species, notes the University of Florida. Ficus trees, such as the weeping fig, generally have a shallow root system. They typically have palmate leaves divided into three to seven main lobes. These plants can suffer from several bacterial diseases or insect problems such as nematodes.

Considerations

Watering is an important factor in preventing disease, notes FicusPlant.org. Most ficus plants need to have their soil dry to the touch before more water is added, although there are some species that should be somewhat wet to the touch before watering. Keep moves from pot to pot at a minimum as a ficus does better if left it the same container.

Types

Crown gall is a common ficus disease causing swollen areas on leaf veins, stems and roots, notes the University of Florida. In severe cases a root mass or extremely distorted stem can develop. Anthranose disease has symptoms of leaf tips that turn yellow, then become tan and finally dark brown, says Mississippi State University. Twig blight and canker are ficus diseases that display symptoms of pink, corky lesions on stems. Leaf spot is a disease involving spotting on leaves. Botrytis blight has symptoms of tan or brown large leaf spots with concentric rings, typically located on leaf tips or between the leaf and sheath.

Misconceptions

Often caretakers are too quick to toss out a weeping when it starts to shed leaves, thinking it's dying. According to PlantCare.com, a weeping fig can lose 20 percent of its leaves. A weeping fig prepares for a dry season by shedding its leaves to lower the amount of leaves able to survive when it doesn't have enough water. Fortunately, new leaves grow back with the return of the rainy season, notes FicusTree.com.

Warning

One of the main factors contributing to problems in ficus plant care is temperature. Because ficus trees are native plants to tropical and subtropical areas, they do best in warmer temperatures. According to FicusPlant.org, all types of ficus plants need a room temperature no lower than 50 degrees F.

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About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.