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House Plants/curly leaf ficus


I have a 6ft. curly leaf ficus tree. At least that's what I think it is. The leaves naturally curl. I've had it for about 2 years. I repotted when I acquired it as it seemed like it was in too small of a container for it's size.  It receives medium to high light. I tend to be moderate in my watering, careful not to over water. A few months after I purchased the plant, it started dropping it's new leaves before they even fully unfurled. The older established leaves are fine. I don't see any bugs on the plant itself or around the soil. I've taken it outside a few times and hosed it down but it hasn't helped much.

Hi Kathy,

I don't know of any Ficus species that are large and have naturally curly leaves. Ficus pumila has somewhat curly leaves, but is a small, vining plant. Larger Ficus species such as "benjamina" sometimes develop leaves that curl inward due to thrips insects. Some people call certain Aralia species Ficus, but that is incorrect. So, I am not sure what you have and apparently you aren't either. So please post a photo here or email it to me directly at so we can start with proper identification before going further.

However, I will add that repotting a newly acquired plant is never a good idea. Unnecessary repotting is the single most common cause of plant problems and I suspect that the repotting is the source of your plant's problems. When extra soil is added, that soil retains moisture for too long so it is very easy to inadvertently keep the roots too moist. The result is root rot, which typically affects new growth first.

But, send me a good photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot, before I jump to any conclusions.

I have written detailed articles on repotting and on Ficus care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at 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.

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Will Creed


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.


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.

BA, Amherst College

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