Ficus House Plant

(Question)

Hi there.
I believe I have a ficus tree which I’ve had in my apartment for years. Last summer I put it out on my balcony and it flourished. So this year I did the same thing. We’ve had a few cold nights and now the leaves have turned white. I just need some info on how to help my poor friend.

 

(Answer)

 

Hello and thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.  The good news is that I think your lovely Ficus will be just fine, the bad news is that it may be just suffering from sunburn!!

Consider what would happen to us if after several months indoors we were to lie out on a sunny southern beach!  We would be suffering from a terrible case of sunburn.   The same has happened to your Ficus!  Your plant has been inside used to the weak winter sun and it was not ready for the strong ultra violet rays.   It may be that you put your plant out on one of the many rainy days that we had last spring and it was able to gradually get used to the sun’s rays.  Also, your soil may also not be properly hydrated, and your plant may also be very thirsty.  First step is to make sure you thoroughly hydrate your plant, this will help to cool it off, but watch that you don’t over water.  Then trim off all the affected leaves, bring it back inside for a little while to help it recover, and only put it back out on a cool, overcast day.  Keep in mind that wind can also burn, so keep that in mind when you do put your Ficus back out.  Most Ficus thrive in bright but indirect light, so make sure you choose a location that is not in the direct sun.

A word of caution:  Ficus can be fussy, you might see more leaf loss in the next little while, they are apt to do that after a shock.