Despite its quirky nature, a little knowledge can prevent the popular indoor plant Ficus Benjamina, or Weeping Fig Tree, from dropping its leaves. Generally, there are three reasons why a Ficus tree will lose its leaves.
Whether it occurs right after the trip home from the nursery, when the tree is moved from one area of the home to another, or when the temperature in the home suddenly changes, the most common reason for a Ficus to drop its leaves is due to a change in the environment. Even something as small as moving the tree from one room of the house to another can promote leaf loss.
To prevent leaf loss due to a change in the environment, protect the tree from any abrupt changes. If the plant is being moved to another room in the house, make the move gradually, letting it spend a few days in intermediate locations before ultimately reaching the final spot. This allows the tree to acclimate gradually. Also, full sun in the morning with indirect sunlight in the afternoon is the perfect condition for a Ficus so the owner should bear this in mind when choosing a location. Another factor which contributes to leaf loss and which should be avoided is exposure to direct air conditioning, so vent placement should be examined to prevent Ficus leaf loss.
Dropping leaves is a defense mechanism for a Ficus, which drops leaves during the dry season only to have them return during the rainy season. To the owner of a house bound Ficus tree, this can equate to significant leaf loss when the soil is allowed to get too dry or when a plant gets root-bound in a pot, preventing water from being used. The soil around a Ficus should be moist, but never soggy. An occasional repotting will allow room for the roots to grow.
Although insect or pest problems with Ficus trees are rare, it can happen. The owner should periodically inspect the plant for scale. spider mites, and mealy bugs, which can be handled through the washing of the leaves and application of a houseplant insecticide.
Some leaf drop is natural and to be expected, but by following these tips the owner of a Ficus should be able to prevent the large scale dropping of leaves for which the Ficus Benjamina is known.