Posted: 02/05/2017 at 17:32
I posted about this a while back and had some replies, but the situation is ongoing and I really don't know what else I can do!
So, my 5ft ficus is about 8 years old and has been in exactly the same location, in a south east facing room with loads of direct sun and light, not near radiator, not overwatered, not underwatered, not fed in winter, not standing in water...for the past 6 years and has always been the picture of good health.
It normally sheds about 30-50 leaves every winter, just before spring, which I know if normal, as they are the older leaves.
I feed it now and again with Ahern rainwater mix and occasionally (maybe 2-3 times a year) spray it with SB invigorator spray.
I always thought they were dead easy plants, simply because mine always has been, but this winter/early spring, I noticed that the dried up leaves kept falling...and that there were the following things:
One, (never more) rather waxy white blob always at the base of the underside of the leaf stem, like this:
As you can see, any leaf with the white blob also invariably becomes yellower, mottled almost, with a strange, almost 'dusty' surface to some of the leaves. As the leaf becomes more and more mottled, it then dries up and falls off.
There is very little stickiness I can see anywhere.
There are no white blobs that move and I have looked under a microscope and not seen any sign of life! That said, I am no biologist, so if they are eggs, I wouldn't know.
There are absolutely no signs of any insects, either winged or wingless, anywhere, even in the soil.
The leave also become blemished on both sides.
I have taken rather drastic measures and watered it with a systemic insecticide, just in case, about 4 days ago.
I have removed as many of the blobs as I can by hand (fun!), and also trimmed the entire plant.
I have removed all dead leaves from the pot, top dressed it with new soil and some Vitax Q4.
The pot is the correct size and it was only repotted 2 years ago.
Apart from repotting it, which I am not even sure will do anything if it not pot bound, I have absolutely no idea how to progress.
After some research online, I have seen that many experts and amateurs agree it could be a normal (though weird) phenomenon of the ficus benjaminus type - in that they apparently have a phenolic gland under the leaf which exudes a sap that is meant to attract the fig wasp, in the wild.
However, others disagree and think it is a pest!
I dont understand - if it is a normal gland and this happens with focuses then:
- why has mine never done this in all the years I have had it, when nothing has changed?
- why do the leaves with the white blobs eventually dry up and die?
Surely if the blob is only sap and not a pest, this poor plant wouldn't be dropping hundreds of leaves??
Thank you in advance for all your help and sorry about the long post! I am desperate, as this was bought when my daughter was born, so I'm rather attached to it!
Last edited: 02 May 2017 17:34:52