Weeping Fig (Ficus)
Plant Health Problems
Diseases caused by Fungi:
Phomopsis canker and dieback, Phomopsis spp.
Tips and branches begin to die back and the leaves on these affected tissues turn brown and persist rather than drop. Infected twigs turn brown and the bark often sloughs off, giving them a roughened appearance. Symptoms often progress at a slow pace although the entire plant can become infected.
This disease can be controlled by cultural practices that minimize plant stress and maximize plant vigor. Affected portions can be pruned back to healthy wood using a clean, sharp, pruning tool.
Diseases caused by Physiological/Environmental Factors:
Leaf drop or Chlorosis, physiological.
Weeping fig is extremely sensitive to changes or extremes in light levels, soluble salts, temperature, and pH. Extensive yellowing and leaf drop can occur in response to even subtle changes in these factors.
Although the extent of leaf drop can be disconcerting, in most cases plants recover after a period of adjustment. Stress associated with leaf drop can be minimized by following a sound program for cultural care.
Scale insects are a particular problem with weeping figs. Some scales that attack houseplants are the fern scale, brown or black hemispherical, and soft scales. Ornamental figs are often grown in warm climates and sold in the north with scale infestations. Scales are categorized as being either armored or soft. The armored scales are covered by a hard shell that is made up of their shed skins. It is not attached to the body, so the scale cover can be flipped over to observe the insect feeding underneath. These scales do not produce honeydew and must be controlled during their crawler stage when they are exposed. Insecticidal soap and ultrafine horticultural oil, which are among the compounds registered for use against this pest in Connecticut, will control scale crawlers. Multiple applications will be needed because generations overlap in the home or greenhouse situation. Spraying with malathion three or four times, when crawlers are active, at about 10-day intervals should be helpful in control. Soft scales secrete honeydew, making the foliage beneath them sticky and black sooty mold usually follows. Like armored scales they can be controlled in the crawler or immature stage. Imidacloprid applied as a systemic to be taken up by the roots is effective against soft scales. Consult the labels for dosage rates and safety precautions.