Question: A ficus benjamina that loses its leaves
With this letter I wanted to ask you a relative advice on Benjiamin.
From the end of October, since I live in Florence, I put the plant in the apartment, and immediately started turning the leaves yellow and falling.
Furthermore the plant is attacked by cochineal and despite numerous treatments with pesticides (brand COMPO) I cannot completely eradicate it.
For Courtesy I await your advice.
Answer: A ficus benjamina that loses its leaves
ficus benjamina, as you probably know, is a plant that suffers particularly from too hot and dry environments. The first thing to do is therefore to move the plant away from heat sources (radiators, fireplaces, stoves, etc.). In summer the watering must be abundant and the ficus plants grow better outside, possibly in a semi-shaded position. During the winter, however, the optimal temperature is 14-16 degrees and should not fall below 10 degrees. Watering must be very small. The ficus benjamina prefers bright environments even if it does not like direct sunlight. The ficus benjamina (as you yourself have seen) is a plant that is often attacked by the cochineal c.d. fioccosa, a very visible parasite due to the large white flakes, usually placed near the trunk and on the younger leaves, which make the plant sticky, giving rise to sooty molds. I suggest you use white oil combined with a specific pesticide.
Ficus benjamin leaves loss: Other reasons why ficus benjamin loses its leaves
Another reason that frequently causes the loss of leaves in the ficus can be a sudden blast of cold air. The ficus is in fact a plant sensitive to cold and a sudden gust, even fast but intense of cold air, can cause a series of serious and immediate consequences in the plant.
In winter, for example, it can happen that plants take cold or gusts of cold air during house cleaning. Leaving two doors or two windows open at the same time can cause the opposite and therefore the ficus plants, and their leaves, can be found in the cold air and suffer from this lowering of temperature.
Another trick is to avoid positions where plants could be subjected to air and wind. Often for example the stairwells, the areas near the entrance doors and all those places where a lot of air circulates can be bad places for the ficus. In fact, in these areas the plants are continuously subjected to the arrival of cold air and therefore the plant can suffer cold blows in the warmer months of the year.