If, like me, you’ve been growing Ficus ginseng plants at home for a while, you’ll know they can be susceptible to common pests, including aphids, fungus gnats, and spider mites. I find the best way to tackle these is to use horticultural oils or insecticidal soap. In this article, I’ll cover ten common Ficus ginseng pests and diseases, including how to identify and defeat them effectively every time!
Common Ficus Ginseng Pests and Diseases
Aphids are a gardener’s worst enemy. These small green or black sap-sucking insects can be spotted underneath leaves or along stems. Aphid colonies can spread quickly, causing symptoms such as black mold, distorted leaves, and stunted growth.
If aphids have infested your Ficus ginseng, you can usually dislodge them by spraying the plant with a hose. Alternatively, you can use horticultural oils, insecticidal soap, or biological controls to eliminate aphids.
2. Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats are common pests that can infest most types of houseplants, including Ficus ginseng trees. While the adults won’t usually harm a plant, the larvae can consume roots within the soil once they hatch. As a single female gnat can lay approximately 150 eggs in a week, fungus gnat infestations can spread quickly.
Gnats lay their eggs in the top 2 or 3 inches of soil, so replace this layer of soil to clear them. Use sticky traps to kill adult gnats to prevent more eggs from being laid. A bottle cap filled with almond oil also works well.
Mealybugs are annoying pests closely related to scale insects that feed on plant cells. You’re dealing with mealybugs if you spot tiny white blobs moving around your Ficus ginseng. These pests leave behind sticky white deposits of honeydew that can turn into black sooty mold.
You can eliminate mealybugs using horticultural oils or insecticidal soap. Ficus ginseng plants should be able to survive small mealybug infestations. However, you may have to discard the plant if the problem gets out of control.
4. Scale Insects
Scale insects are sap-sucking pests protected by a hard, waxy shell. As they feed on sap, scale insects can weaken your Ficus ginseng, causing stunted or distorted growth. Scale insects also excrete sticky honeydew, which causes sooty black mold to develop.
Scale insects are resistant to many pesticides, but horticultural oils can suffocate them. You can also use biological control measures to get rid of scale insects.
5. Spider Mites
Spider mites are common pests that can attack Ficus ginseng trees. These mites are closely related to arachnids and often cover leaves with webbing. Other symptoms of a spider mite infestation include brown or yellow spots on the leaves. You might also spot the insects moving around.
The best way to eliminate spider mites is to use insecticidal soap or horticultural oils like neem oil. You can also use various biological control measures designed to hunt down spider mites.
Thrips are small, slender black or brown flies that feed on sap. These annoying pests are a common problem for Ficus ginseng plants. Infested leaves may have silver stipple marks where the thrips have been feeding. Other symptoms include stunted growth or dropping leaves.
To destroy thrip eggs, apply horticultural oils or insecticidal soap to the leaves of your Ficus ginseng. Use sticky traps to eliminate adult thrips. This stops them from laying new eggs, curtailing the infestation.
7. Black Spot Disease
Although usually associated with roses, black spot disease can also attack Ficus ginseng plants. Black spot disease is caused by a fungus called Diplocarpon rosae and thrives in warm, wet conditions. Symptoms include black spots on the leaves that gradually become ringed with yellow.
If left untreated, leaves will turn completely yellow before falling off. Use fungicides to tackle black spot disease and organic fungicides if possible. You can also treat Ficus ginseng leaves with neem oil to combat the disease.
8. Leaf Spot Diseases
Leaf spot diseases are common in many plants, including Ficus ginseng. These diseases are usually caused by bacteria or fungi. Infected leaves display black, brown, or yellow spots before turning brown and falling off.
Use fungicides to treat Ficus ginseng plants that are showing signs of leaf spots. When watering ficus ginseng plants, aim the can at the base of the stems. This stops water from getting onto the foliage, which can trigger the development of leaf spot diseases.
9. Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that thrives in moist conditions. This mildew appears when plants are exposed to hot, dry conditions during the day and cold, wet conditions at night. Symptoms of powdery mildew include stunted or misshapen growth and dusty white patches on the foliage.
Treat infected Ficus ginseng plants with neem oil or an organic fungicide. Remove any infected leaves to try and stop the powdery mildew from spreading. Water plants early in the morning to prevent them from sitting in water during the night.
10. Root Rot
Ficus ginseng plants prefer slightly moist soils, so it can be easy to overwater them. Unfortunately, overwatering leads to problems like root rot. Root rot symptoms include brown, mushy, or smelly roots and drooping or yellowing ficus ginseng leaves.
Examine the roots of your Ficus ginseng and remove any rotten ones. Then, repot your ficus ginseng in fresh soil with extra perlite or grit to improve drainage. To prevent overwatering, only water your Ficus ginseng whenever the top inch of the soil feels dry.
Pesticide and Insecticide Options and Solutions
Horticultural oils are very effective against many Ficus ginseng pests and diseases. These oils are readily available in grocery stores or garden centers and include oils like canola or neem. Horticultural oils tackle pests by disrupting their breeding cycles.
Insecticidal soap works well against pests such as aphids, scale insects, and thrips. This soap suffocates or dehydrates pests and can be safely wiped over leaves. If you can’t find insecticidal soap, you can make something similar by mixing warm water with some dish soap.
Biological controls are predatory organisms such as mites or nematodes that prey on specific pests. Aphids, fungus gnats, and scale insects can all be dealt with using biological controls. Make sure you choose the proper biological control to tackle whatever pest you’re dealing with.
Fungicides are often the best way to treat fungal infections. Although synthetic fungicides use chemicals, some organic fungicide options are available on the market.
Pesticides should be used as a last resort against stubborn pests. Many pesticides use potentially harmful chemicals that wipe out pests and beneficial insects. Use organic pesticides if you can, and always use pesticides carefully and sparingly.
Sticky traps are the best way to kill adult fungus gnats or thrips. This stops these insects from laying more eggs within the soil of your Ficus ginseng plant.
Managing Diseases and Pests
Prevent pests and diseases from attacking your Ficus ginseng by providing the plant with good growing conditions. Ficus ginseng plants need bright, indirect light but can be weakened by the full sun or full shade. Ficus ginseng plants also need warm, stable temperatures of 60 to 75ºF and moderate to high humidity levels of at least 50%.
One of the easiest ways to protect your Ficus ginseng against fungal diseases is to water it correctly. Although Ficus ginseng plants need moist soil, they don’t do well in waterlogged soil. This is commonly caused by overwatering and provides a breeding ground for fungal diseases.
When watering your Ficus ginseng, aim your watering can around the base of the stem rather than watering from above. This stops water from splashing onto the foliage, which can cause fungal infections.
These plants are considered toxic to humans and pets, so it’s prudent to wear gloves when undertaking any form of ficus ginseng plant care.
Ficus ginseng trees are low-maintenance and easy to grow, but they can suffer from pests and diseases. Common Ficus ginseng pests include aphids, scale insects, and thrips. These can be eliminated using horticultural oils or insecticidal soap. Common Ficus ginseng diseases include black spot and powdery mildew. Use fungicides or horticultural oils to treat any infected leaves.
For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position ficus ginseng plants for optimal care.