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White, Fuzzy Substance on Ficus Leaves

I received a 7 foot Ficus tree about 8 months ago. The plant has been going downhill during the time I have owned it.  It regularly loses leaves, has limited new growth and has some white fuzzy substance on a few of the leaves. 

Ficus trees also called weeping figs (Ficus benjamina), are sensitive to any change in their environment.  They respond by dropping leaves until they adjust to the change.  Fortunately they can lose up to 90 percent of their leaves and still recover.  Find a sunny spot free from drafts of hot or cold air where you can grow the plant year-round. 

Water thoroughly so the excess runs out the bottom of the container.  Place pebbles in the saucer so the pot sits on the pebbles above the water that collects in the saucer.  Check the soil before watering again.  It should be slightly moist several inches below the surface before watering. 

Wait until the plant starts producing new growth and the days lengthen before you start to fertilize.  

The white fuzzy growths are mealy bugs.  Dip a cotton swap in alcohol and apply to the fuzzy insect.  The alcohol dissolves the covering and kills the insect below.  Repeat as needed.  An overall treatment with insecticidal soap or Neem will help kill the immature mealy bugs before they develop the fuzzy protective covering.  Repeat applications will be needed to get this pest under control.


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