Apartment plants

The leaves of the ficus

The leaves of the ficus

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Question: The leaves of the ficus

I won a 40cm tall Ficus Benjamin (including vase) at a village festival in early September of this year and had a dense crown.
As soon as I brought it home I placed it in front of my bedroom window, next to another Ficus Benjamin plant I have had for several years.
After about fifteen days the leaves have started to fall still green and healthy and now that almost 3 months have passed the plant has a very sparse foliage, especially on one side, although it cannot be said to be bare. The sprouts sn are quite numerous but I notice that when they reach a certain size they become black, as if they were "burned" rather than dried.
Finally up to twenty days ago my cat attracted by the plant would tear off its leaves and nibble some twigs that have dried up at the ends. Fortunately, after several scoldings it has lost interest in the plant!
After reading some information on the care of Ficus Benjamin, for a couple of days I moved it to another corner of the room, equally bright, because I realized that standing near the window at certain times some parts of the plant were hit by light direct solar and occasionally from qulche current of air that could cause of sudden changes of temperature. Now it is near the door of the room but I note that with the opening and closing of the same there are some movements of air that equally shake the hair.
I also cleaned the leaves with cotton soaked in denatured alcohol because I noticed that both Ficus, but to a greater extent the other plant, were affected by cochineal, visible as small white crusts present at the transition point between the petiole and ventral face of the leaf, together with other dark dots still motionless on the ventral face.
Until today I have no particular fertilization nor plant repotting.
I hope I have done well but I would like to have the expert's advice!
Thanks so much!!

Answer: The leaves of the ficus

Dear Daniel,
ficus plants are not difficult to grow, as you well know since you already have one; the fundamental problems are generally two:
- Ficus do not like change; if a ficus is fine in one place, if it has adapted to non-ideal conditions, you put it in a position with better exposure, it will surely deteriorate, until it has become accustomed to the new position. It often happens therefore that the ficus moved from the nursery to our house cry all their leaves. let alone then if they periodically receive fresh air gusts: in this case every day they change cultivation conditions several times. Therefore it is not always advisable to place the ficus near doors and windows, where they can receive the air coming from outside.
- The ficus love good environmental humidity, and fear water stagnation.
So they should be watered only when the ground is well dry, but in case of dry air (as always happens in the apartment) it is good to vaporize the fogle often.
In winter, therefore, let's keep them in a bright place, but where they don't receive blows of air; let's water them sporadically, since the earth in the vase in the cold season can take an entire week to dry; let's keep them away from radiators, convectors, air conditioning systems, underfloor heating; We often vaporize the hair, to increase the environmental humidity.