Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

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Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  my nellie on Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:04 pm

I have a small willow leaf ficus.
It is a lovely tree made from a cutting which came to me from Florida as a present from IBC friend Billy M. Rhodes!

I overwinter my little ficus inside into a "terrarium" - a former aquarium tank turned into a kind of cool greenhouse for some orchids and this ficus. There is a T5 Sylvania Grolux underneath the lid as well as a small computer fan for constant air circulation. I also have put a small glass bowl containing water which evaporates to keep some humidity.
Every time the tree is moved inside it gradually looses its leaves, one by one. But it also produces new growth which is sparse though. Then when it goes out again next spring it starts leafing out and thriving.
Do you have any idea which is the problem?

Thank you in advance!
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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:09 am

Alexandra - i believe that is what the medical community refers to as "seasonal affective disorder" or "S.A.D."

people mope
and trees molt

almost every single one of my tropicals do the same when i bring them in...
just like us, they miss the sunny

but i have a feeling you did not need me to tell you that Wink

as long as they spring back in spring there are no worries...
i too feel much better being outside !!!

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  my nellie on Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:42 am

Hi, Kevin,

Thank you very much for your answer. I already feel better about the ficus!
kevin stoeveken wrote:... ..but i have a feeling you did not need me to tell you that!!
I'm from Greece, don't you remember? Very Happy
Have a nice day!
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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:10 pm

of course i remember ! Laughing

i just do not know how cold it gets there and it looks like your dog is standing in snow ! Razz

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  my nellie on Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:50 pm

Laughing Laughing
That was one of those long and anxiously awaited years that the nature had honored us with a few days of snowfall!!! And my Nellie was out enjoying that strange iced whitewashed thing all over the place.
It gets 5 to 2 degrees C and rarely 0 or below, but the feeling of cold is multiply stronger than it sounds because of the humidity. I've met people from Northern Greece (where it gets to -12 or even lower) telling me that the feeling of cold in Athens is worse than theirs Shocked
By the way let me ask you one more question, could it be a very low humidity level into the "terrarium" which affected the ficus? All the foliage is gone as of today... Sad
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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:53 pm

if you are asking me, i am afraid i can not help as i do not put any of my tropicals in any sort of special enclosure...

and even though i run a humidifier in the house, it is still fairly dry... and there is no extra humidity at my office
(except the water evaporating from the tray they sit on which is minimal)

and i have willow leaf at both the house and office in winter...

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  my nellie on Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:55 pm

Kevin, what is the temperature into the rooms where your figs are overwintering?

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:45 pm

in my house about 62 (or perhaps colder) at night and about 68 (or warmer) in the day. (17c & 20c)
the house ones are in a south facing garden window with extended lighting hours supplemented by t-5 flouros

at the office, about 70 (21c) in the day and i do not know at night...
the office ones are simply in a west facing window with standard ceiling flouros...

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  my nellie on Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:21 pm

Almost exactly like my house. We do not use the A/C, very rarely and for very short time.
When the tree leafs out (hopefully) again I might consider taking it out of the sheltered environment of the "terrarium"
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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  M. Frary on Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:46 pm

I'm going to say it needs more light.
I would grow tropicals but for the light situation.
I would have to use powerful lights. I own 2 ,400 watt metal halides and a 1000 watt high pressure sodium. No need to ask why I have them. I just do.These would give me all of the artificial light needed but they suck electricity.

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  coh on Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:11 pm

I still haven't figured out the tropicals-indoors-during-winter thing yet, especially ficus. I don't have good natural light available, so I use pretty high-powered grow lights...a 400 W metal halide and another LED grow light (can't remember the wattage but it is BRIGHT). Each year the ficuses start off looking pretty good, but they gradually go downhill. Leaves get mottled/yellowish and slowly drop and the plants look really awful by the middle of winter. Other trops (jaboticaba and brush cherry) tend to look better and even continue growing through the winter. I'm at a loss. Too much/little fertilizer? Water quality? Something with the lighting? I've even tried keeping them in an aquarium type enclosure to increase humidity without any obvious benefit.

Funny that I have a couple of other really large ficus that are too big for my indoor growing area, so those go into coldish storage (40 F or so most of the winter) with relatively little light. They come out of winter looking better than the ones I'm treating "well." Maybe that is telling me something right there...
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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:36 pm

i really think that tropicals being grown in a normal house in the winter just get the horticultural equivalent of seasonal affective disorder Sad Crying or Very sad Sad


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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  coh on Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:16 pm

Well sure, but the idea behind using good quality, high intensity lighting is to offset that tendency. Since I've seen others have success this way, what am I doing wrong...

I live up here in the "cold" north, where our summers are far from tropical. Many nights in the 50s, low humidity...yet the trees do well outside, despite the frequent bouts of cool temps and low humidity. The biggest difference compared to inside is the light, so by giving them the "good stuff" inside, they should also do well. Yet they don't. Which suggests something is still missing lighting-wise, despite the use of MH and LED.
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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  AlainK on Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:55 pm

M. Frary wrote:
(...) I own 2 ,400 watt metal halides and a 1000 watt high pressure sodium. No need to ask why I have them. I just do.These would give me all of the artificial light needed but they suck electricity.
 

Er...

I admit that personally, I'm not so keen on Frankensai.

I live in USDA zone 8, I just brought bak my cacti and a couple of ficus inside yesterday because it was -2°C this morning.

The best thing is to keep them tropical trees in a cool atmosphere until spring : no need to all that light-bulb-aquarium-etc paraphenelia, especially in Greece !

Here is a picture taken in 2013 in a park in Palermo, Sicily : look at how ficus can grow in a Mediterranean country, outside.

Just bring your tree indoors, preferrably in a room that gets a lot of sun but is not overheated, don't over-water it, and that's all.

You don't live in Finland where there's 3 or 4 hours of sun during the day (when there is no snow!) and temps outside hardly get (Smile) below minus 30° C.

2 ,400 watt metal halides and a 1000 watt high pressure sodium.
Mad Sad Evil or Very Mad Rolling Eyes In Greece?.. Ridiculous.






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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  AlainK on Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:07 pm

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:59 pm

alexandra- this is my simple set-up at home...

3 t-5s (36") to supplement the sun (window extends out from house and faces south)
lights on about 5am and off about 7-8pm

willow leaf lower right in training pot with rock under soil... hoping for a good root clasp



most get sad for whatever reason and drop leaves

some, like this bahama berry never skip a beat and continue to grow and flower...



(pot by linda ippel http://www.lindaippelstudios.com/bonsai-containers.html )

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  M. Frary on Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:02 pm

coh wrote:Well sure, but the idea behind using good quality, high intensity lighting is to offset that tendency. Since I've seen others have success this way, what am I doing wrong...

I live up here in the "cold" north, where our summers are far from tropical. Many nights in the 50s, low humidity...yet the trees do well outside, despite the frequent bouts of cool temps and low humidity. The biggest difference compared to inside is the light, so by giving them the "good stuff" inside, they should also do well. Yet they don't. Which suggests something is still missing lighting-wise, despite the use of MH and LED.

You call 6a the cold north? That's the tropics compared to here.

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:07 pm

yeah mike... what are you ?
like zone 2c ??? Laughing

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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  my nellie on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:36 pm

Thanks everybody for contributing!
AlainK wrote:... ...The best thing is to keep them tropical trees in a cool atmosphere until spring : no need to all that light-bulb-aquarium-etc paraphenelia, especially in Greece !
... ...Just bring your tree indoors, preferrably in a room that gets a lot of sun but is not overheated, don't over-water it, and that's all.
Sometimes it's just a matter of common sense Very Happy I have also a Ficus ginseng which is kept outside all the time for the last two years, but temp. hasn't drop below zero.
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Re: Problem with Ficus salicifolia under lights

Post  coh on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:53 pm

M. Frary wrote:  You call 6a the cold north? That's the tropics compared to here.
Well, you are in the colder north. I'm in the cold (enough) north, or the cold north compared to all those southern folk who wonder why the heck we even try to grow tropicals!
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