House Plants/ficus


I have a Ficus . lately I have observed that it has shed all its leaves. The branches also look dry. I have been taking good care of it but I don't understand why it shed all its leaves. Is it alive or dead and how can I regain its health please advise,thanks

Hi Kelly,

Ficus trees are not easy. First and foremost, they must be right in front of a completely uncovered sunny window in order to thrive. They can survive in somewhat less light, but the less light the tree receives, the fewer leaves it can support.

Ficus trees are very temperamental about being moved. Each time their location is changed they will drop lots of leaves and then slowly produce new ones that are adapted to the new location. So it is important to find a sunny indoor location to keep your tree and leave it there so it can adjust and stop shedding leaves.

Improper watering, especially under-watering, will also cause sudden leaf drop. When properly potted, it is best to water a Ficus tree as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry.

Failing to prune back your Ficus tree for several years will also lead to leaf drop as the tree reaches the maximum number of leaves it can support. At that point, it will shed older leaves so it can continue to produce new leaves at the ends of the branches. Failure to prune will result in very long branches with most of the foliage on the outside of the tree and none in the center.

Any stems or branches that are dry and brittle and snap when bent are dead and should be pruned off entirely.

Finally, I will note that repotting, changing or adding soil, fertilizing and misting will have no effect on the leaf drop. Focus on good light and proper watering.

I have written detailed articles on pruning 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, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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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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