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Ficus lyrata
Ficus lyrata  

Ficus lyrata
Ficus lyrata  
Dear will,

I always wanted a ficus lyrata and finally, I bought one a week ago. Two days later, new leaves at the top started growing and then two days later they fell off. I believe that the plant is not getting enough light in my apartment. During the day, i put the plant by the window,(see pic1) because my apt is not very bright in the morning and the light starts coming in around 1pm for few hours (pic2). And in the evening, i move it close but not to close to a lamp to get additional light ( I notice the leaves rising) and move it back to the window in the morning. The plant is starting to loose some its leaves at the bottom, probably it is adapting to its new environment, I hope. I haven't noticed any bugs. My questions are: 1) is it a good idea to move the plant every day. 2) how often should I water it, is once a week fine during the winter? 3) when should I start using fertilizer? 4) is the plant dying? Thank you for your help. Sophie

Answer
Hi Sophie,

In the photos your Ficus lyrata looks healthy. However, I am concerned that you said new leaf growth died and fell off. I do expect a few older leaves to die as new growth is added on top. Loss of new leaves is usually a result of root damage, root rot or extreme dryness. However, that would not occur within the week that you have had it. If indeed, new growth is dying back, then  you should return the plant for a refund because that could only be a result of poor care prior to your purchase.

The light on your windowsill is fine for this plant. There is no reason to move it because artificial light will not help.

Water your plant as soon as the top inch of soil feels dry. That may occur a little more frequently in the winter when the dry air causes the moisture in the soil to evaporate more rapidly.

Fertilizer is vastly overrated and should only be used on plants that are healthy and growing vigorously. You should wait until next spring at the earliest and dilute the fertilizer to half strength.

If your plant's new growth continues to decline, then it is unlikely to recover and you should return it promptly for a refund. If healthy new growth emerges, then your plant will definitely be okay.

I have written a detailed article on Ficus lyrata care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and NOMINATION for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

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Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

Visit my website at: A link to HorticulturalHelp.com  

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Will Creed

Expertise

I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.

Experience

I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

Education/Credentials
BA, Amherst College

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