What Is Wrong with My Ficus Tree if the Leaves Are Turning Light Green?

Commonly grown ficus trees (Ficus spp.) Contain the rubber tree (Ficus elastica) along with the weeping fig (Ficus benjamina). Both of these are hardy outdoors all year in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12 and develop as houseplants in any USDA zone. The weeping fig has its name from its pendulous branches and certainly will become 40 to 50 feet tall outdoors but generally no more than 10 feet tall when grown indoors in a pot. The rubber tree has tough and sturdy, dark-green leaves which rarely change shade, however, the weeping fig sometimes signals a problem when its leaves turn light green, but in some situations the color change is not a cause for concern.

A Normal Response

If only young leaves to a contaminated fig are light green, old leaves are darker and the tree is healthy, then the tree probably does not have a difficulty. Leaves contain the green pigment chlorophyll, which youthful leaves actively produce. So new leaves can appear lighter than adult leaves because they haven’t yet produced a full quantity of pigment; the newest leaves must gradually darken withing one or two weeks. Leaves of a indoor weeping fig can turn light green when the tree was recently moved from a bright location to a less brightly lit place or when the plant is a newly purchased greenhouse-grown tree accustomed to brighter light. Leaf colour change in this kind of weeping fig is not a problem, provided no leaves turn yellow or drop in the tree. Nevertheless, you may set up an artificial light source, such as a rise light or full-spectrum fluorescent bulb, several feet from an indoor weeping fig to assist its leaves darken.

Too Much Water

If leaves of different sizes and ages begin to turn light green to a weeping fig, the switch could indicate overwatering, particularly if light-green leaves eventually turn yellow and drop. As opposed to following a predetermined watering schedule, analyze your weeping fig’s soil before watering it to ascertain whether the tree needs water. Check the top 2-3 inches of a weeping fig’s soil on a regular basis, whether the tree grows outdoors in the ground or in a container inside or outdoors, and water the soil only when it feels dry to your fingertip. Water thoroughly, allowing the water to drain in the bottom drainage holes of a potted tree’s container, but never leave the container in a water-filled saucer. If a weeping fig is planted in the ground, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to water its dirt, allowing the water penetrate the ground gently but deeply.

Poor Nutrition

Weeping fig needs fertilizer about each month throughout the growing season — normally spring through the summer, and its leaves might begin to turn light green if the soil’s nutrient levels become low. If the weeping fig is planted in the ground, then scrape a granular fertilizer using a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio of 3-1-2 into the top few inches of its soil, applying it in a speed of about 1/3 pound per 100 square feet of soil surface area below the tree’s canopy, and also water the fertilized ground well. If you have a container-grown weeping fig, utilize a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, diluted to one-half strength. Achieving a one-half strength dilution typically requires mixing 1/4 teaspoon of this fertilizer with 2 gallons of water, but follow your fertilizer’s label directions. A weeping fig should not be fertilized during autumn or winter so it can break.

Potential Pests

Weeping fig is vulnerable to a number of insects which suck plant juices and might cause leaves to turn light green or even to turn yellow, curl and eventually fall. Those insects comprise scale insects, which appear like raised brown spots on stems and leaves, and are best destroyed by touching every one using a cotton swab which was dipped in rubbing alcohol. Spray a huge tree once every month using an all-season olive oil which was diluted in water; the dilution rate is generally 2 1/2 tablespoons of this horticultural oil per 1 gallon of water, but check the product’s label for specific directions. Other pests that affect weeping fig are aphids, which can be miniature, greenish-yellow insects which leave behind a sticky residue, and spider mites, which can be microscopic and make weblike coverings on young leaves and branch tips. Rid the tree of those pests by spraying it until it’s dripping wet with insecticidal soap which was diluted at a speed of 5 tablespoons per 1 gallon of water; spray the tree every 2 weeks if needed to eliminate the insects.

See related