Thanks to their wonderfully waxy oval-shaped leaves and pot-bellied trunks, Ficus ginseng plants (Ficus microcarpa) make attractive bonsai trees that are rich in meaning and symbolism. However, Ficus ginseng leaves can start turning yellow for several reasons. In this article, we’ll learn about ten common causes of yellow leaves on Ficus ginseng plants.
Yellow Leaves on Ficus Ginseng Plants – The Essentials
Ficus ginseng leaves usually turn yellow due to overwatering or underwatering. Other causes include too much or too little sunlight, sudden temperature changes, incorrect humidity, and diseases or pests. Unfortunately, Ficus ginseng leaves won’t recover once they start turning yellow, so it’s best to remove them for optimal plant care.
10 Common Causes of Yellow Leaves on Ficus Ginseng Plants
Overwatering is the most common cause of yellow leaves for Ficus ginseng plants. Yellowing, drooping leaves are a symptom of root rot. This is caused by waterlogged soil that doesn’t drain well enough to get rid of excess water.
Test the soil with your finger to see if it’s waterlogged. If so, try and examine the roots of your Ficus ginseng. Remove any brown, mushy, or smelly roots. You’ll likely need to repot the plant in soil that drains more freely.
Underwatering can also cause Ficus ginseng leaves to turn yellow. The leaves may also start to curl or wilt. Other symptoms of underwatering include dry, cracked soil that pulls away from the edge of the pot.
If you’re trying to avoid overwatering your plant, underwatering can occur easily. To avoid underwatering, try to water your Ficus ginseng whenever the top 1 or 2 inches of soil feel dry.
Ficus ginseng plants are at greater risk from underwatering during hot, dry summer temperatures. Too much direct sunlight can also dry your plant out more quickly.
3. Too Much Sunlight
Ficus ginseng plants need lots of bright, indirect, or filtered sunlight to thrive indoors. However, getting too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. The foliage can also turn yellow as the color becomes washed out.
Position your Ficus ginseng approximately 3 feet away from an east-facing window to provide the best lighting conditions. South or west-facing windows also work well, although you may need to keep your plant further away from the window. This protects your Ficus ginseng against the intense afternoon sun.
4. Too Much Shade
Ficus ginseng plants can also develop yellow leaves if they don’t receive enough sunlight. These indoor trees do not respond well to shady areas and will struggle to grow properly. Ficus ginseng plants need bright, indirect light for most of the day to grow at their best.
If your Ficus ginseng isn’t getting enough light, the leaves may turn yellow. The plant may also produce noticeably weaker or stunted growth. Move your Ficus ginseng into a brighter area of your home and remove any yellow leaves.
5. Temperature Changes
Ficus ginseng trees can be sensitive to sudden temperature changes in your home. If temperatures suddenly drop, your plant may become stressed and start to develop yellow leaves or even leaf drop. Ficus ginseng trees need warm, consistent temperatures between 60 and 75ºF (15.5 to 24ºC).
Protect your Ficus ginseng from cold drafts to avoid rapid temperature changes. Air vents, open windows, and air conditioning units can all cause cold drafts. Use a thermometer to ensure that your Ficus ginseng receives the correct temperature levels.
6. Incorrect Humidity Levels
Ficus ginseng trees also need moderate humidity levels above 50%. If the air around your Ficus ginseng is too dry, the leaves may turn yellow. Other symptoms of incorrect humidity levels include curling leaves and increased water requirements.
Use humidifiers or pebble trays to boost humidity around your Ficus ginseng. In addition, mist it regularly to provide temporary humidity top-ups. Drafts caused by radiators or heaters can lower the humidity around your Ficus ginseng, so keep the plant away from dry drafts.
Although Ficus ginseng plants can benefit from fertilizers, too much fertilizer can be damaging. Fertilizers are made up of strong chemicals and salts that need to be diluted to be safe for your plant. Overloading your Ficus ginseng with too many nutrients can cause yellow leaves.
Fertilize Ficus ginseng plants once a month from spring until fall. Always use diluted liquid fertilizer, preferably a product designed for bonsai trees. During the winter, your Ficus ginseng will go dormant and won’t require any fertilizer.
8. Not Enough Nutrients
Ficus ginseng plants can also develop yellow leaves if they aren’t getting enough nutrients. Like most plants, Ficus ginseng trees need nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to fuel their growth. If your Ficus ginseng lacks nutrients, it may also show weak or stunted growth.
Maintain a regular fertilizing schedule during the active growing season that runs from spring until fall. Feed your Ficus ginseng once a month using a diluted liquid fertilizer. Make sure that the plant receives plenty of bright indirect light.
9. Poor Water Quality
Like many plants, Ficus ginseng trees are extremely sensitive to chemicals and salts found in tap water. Chemicals like chlorine and fluoride can be toxic to plants if they build up in the soil. These chemicals appear as white patches on the surface of the soil.
Poor water quality can cause plants to develop yellow leaves with brown tips. Flush out the buildup of salts and chemicals by thoroughly rinsing the soil with distilled or filtered water. Always use distilled or filtered water when watering your Ficus ginseng.
10. Diseases or Pests
Ficus ginseng plants are vulnerable to various diseases and pests that can cause yellow leaves. Some of these pests include aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Diseases that can cause yellow leaves include leaf spot diseases and root rot.
If you spot pests on your Ficus ginseng, eliminate them using horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps. Diseases can be prevented by providing the right growing conditions. However, if an infection takes hold, use neem oil or organic fungicides to treat it. Use synthetic fungicides or pesticides carefully and sparingly.
How to Fix Yellow Leaves on a Ficus Ginseng
Once your Ficus ginseng has developed yellow leaves, the affected foliage won’t turn green again. Even if you tackle the cause of the yellow leaves, you’ll still have to remove any affected leaves. Snip them off using sharp, sterilized scissors or secateurs.
If your plant has yellow leaves, evaluate the plant’s growing conditions to determine the cause. First, check the soil to see if the plant is suffering from overwatering or underwatering. Measure the temperature and humidity levels around the plant and check for signs of diseases or pests. Once you’ve identified the cause, take the appropriate action to solve the problem.
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 leaves may turn yellow due to overwatering, underwatering, or too much or too little sunlight. Diseases and pests can also cause yellow leaves. Investigate the conditions around your plant to identify and solve the problem. Then, remove any yellow leaves, as they will not turn green again.