House Plants/Ficus ginseng


I have a ficus ginseng that is sick, the "trunk" is thining and in some spots feels hollow and if you press down it kind of feels like a balloon, I noticed this a few days ago, before it had a very full and normal "trunk" but it started getting smaller and wrinkled as an old lady's skin, some of the leaves are geting yellow and falling. I spray it and the soil with water every day and its in a well lighted area, as its been since I got it about 6 months ago. On the soil  I have noticed some tiny white bugs like worms and some like fruit flyes but black.
How can I treat this so it won't die ?
I really appreciate you help and advice.



It is probably too late to save the tree. It is dying of root rot that has extended into the trunk from being kept too wet. The black fruit flies are fungus gnats that go after the the rotting roots and the white worms are their larva. The tree should not be watered more than once a week. It should be in a pot that has large drainage holes and a drain tray under it. There should never be standing water in the drain tray. It should not be watered until the soil has been dry for at least 3-4 days. If it has glued together stones on the surface of the soil when you purchase the plant those should be removed immediately using a screwdriver to gently pry them off. They are only there to stabilize the soil for shipping. If it is getting soft it will not survive. I suggest that you look for another one and replace it. All ficus loves the sun and needs as much as possible. During the summer they love to be outdoors if that is possible. Good luck!


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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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