Major physiological problems
 Diseases of ficus spp and major...
 Major nematode pests
 Major insect and mite pests

Group Title: ARC-A foliage plant research report - Agricultural Research and Education Center - RH-83-A
Title: Ficus
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066499/00001
 Material Information
Title: Ficus
Series Title: ARC-A foliage plant research report
Physical Description: 9 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Osborne, L. S
Henley, Richard W
Chase, A. R ( Ann Renee )
Agricultural Research Center (Apopka, Fla.)
Publisher: University of Florida, IFAS, Agricultural Research Center-Apopka
Place of Publication: Apopka FL
Publication Date: 1983
Subject: Ficus (Plants) -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Ficus (Plants) -- Diseases and pests -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Ficus (Plants) -- Diseases and pests -- Control -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 9).
Statement of Responsibility: L.S. Osborne, R.W. Henley, and A.R. Chase.
General Note: Caption title.
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00066499
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 71225711

Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Major physiological problems
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Diseases of ficus spp and major fungal pathogens
        Page 5
    Major nematode pests
        Page 6
    Major insect and mite pests
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

-_ L. S. Osborne, R. W. Henley and A. R. Chase
University of Florida, IFAS
Agricultural Research Center Apopka
ARC-A Foliage Plant Research Note RH-1983-A

The genus, Ficus, consists of over 800 species, several of which are

desirable ornamentals. Although most ornamental figs are trees, a few are shrubs

or vines. Nurseries in Florida produce a wide range of container-grown figs from

small liners to plants in 200-gallon containers. Most figs can be grown in full

sun, but all finished plants should be acclimatized under shade if they are to be
used indoors. A number of species, particularly the shrub and vine types of figs,
are better grown in greenhouses or shadehouses with rather low light intensity

(1500 3000 foot-candles). Suggested light levels and fertilizer levels for
selected stock plants and acclimatized plants are present bW"liISiELA

0AY 10 1983
Table 1. Light and fertilizer levels for Ficus.
I.A.S Unv. ofF on
Fertilizer requirement
Light intensity (1 lb/1000 ft2/yr)a
Light intensity
Stock plants (foot-candles) N P205 K20

Ficus benjamin 8,000 10,000 56 19 37
Ficus elastica
(cultivars) 8,000 10,000 41 14 27
Ficus lyrata 8,000 10,000 41 14 27

Acclimatized potted plants
Ficus benjamin 3,500 6,000 41 14 27
Ficus elastica
(cultivars) 7,000 8,000 41 14 27
Ficus lyrata 5,000 6,000 41 14 27

aBased on a 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer source.

1Entomologist, Extension Foliage Specialist and Plant Pathologist, Agricultural
Research Center, Rt. 3, Box 580, Apopka, FL 32703, respectively.

Both slow release and liquid fertilizer sources have been used successfully.

The potting medium used will vary depending upon plant size and type. All

mixes should be well aerated with tree types frequently grown in a medium

with 10 to 25% coarse sand by volume to reduce frequency of plants

tipping over in containers. Measures should be taken to avoid excessive

root development into soil beneath containers, otherwise plants will be

shocked severely at the time they are moved and this will lower acclimati-

zation level. Figs grow rapidly when temperatures are above 70F and very

slowly when below 600F. Cold damage to Ficus usually occurs between 30 to

350F, depending upon plant species, physiological condition of the plant

and specific conditions of the cold period rate of change, duration, wind

and humidity.


1) Excessive light intensity during final stages of production.

Symptoms Leaves, medium to light green with sides of leaf blade folded

upward and margin wavy. Branch angle of some species tends to be

narrow and branches stiff. Such plants are not light acclimatized

and usually defoliate excessively when moved to interior conditions.

Control Plants should be exposed to shade levels of 70% or more (3000

or less ft-c) for a minimum of 2 to 6 months depending on plant size

(2 months for up to 8", 3 to 4 months for 10 to 17", and 4 to 6 months

for larger container sizes).

2) Excessive moisture stress.

Symptoms Small reddish spots, 1-3mm across, on the undersides of leaves

of F. elastica cultivars and, to a lesser extent, F. lyrata. The

symptom is usually observed on stock plants in full sun which have been

air layered, and most frequently during the driest months of December

through June. This condition is rare on plants grown in shade. Leaves

on wilted layers or cuttings of F. elastica, and possibly some other

species, remain in relaxed orientation after normal moisture content

is restored. This is a permanent condition. Branches of trees in an

active state of growth may bend under moisture stress, then recover,

leaving a permanent kink or "dogleg" in the stem.

Control Severe moisture stress can usually be avoided through good nursery

practices. Leaf spotting can be prevented by timely irrigation of stock

and use of the vertical slit technique of air layering versus the girdling

procedure. Permanent petiole wilt and stem kinking can be avoided with

adequate soil moisture and high humidity during propagation.

Prevention of excessive root development outside the container

eliminates most of the shock that occurs when large segments of root are

severed from plants because roots extend into soil below the pot, Use

of plastic ground covers, drip irrigation and root pruning during

production usually eliminates root pruning shock when plants are removed.

3) Excessive soluble salts.

Symptoms Plant damage from high salinity can be placed in two categories

based on stage of development. Plants in production with excessive

salinity in the root zone become stunted and, in severe cases, defoliate,

starting with the oldest leaves, and eventually die if the condition is

not corrected. Foliage in early stages of stress from excessive ferti-

lizer in the soil appears dark green, but later new growth appears

wilted and chlorotic if soil conditions are not corrected. Root tips

of plants exposed to excessive salinity shrivel and eventually die.

Plants placed indoors under less than 200 ft-c, with fertility levels

above that recommended for production, usually defoliate excessively

and, in some cases, die.

Control Avoid over-application of fertilizer and do not use soil mix

components with high salinity. Irrigate with water that is low in

salts. Salts accumulation can be corrected in most cases by leaching

soil thoroughly. Reduce soil fertility at the end of the production

cycle as part of the acclimatization process.

4) Essential element deficiencies.

A. General deficiency of primary nutrients due to under-application of

complete fertilizer.

Symptoms Plants are generally light green with older leaves

exhibiting the greatest chlorosis. Plant growth is slow.

Control Adjust fertilizer program to elevate fertility of soil

mix; using a 2-1-2 or 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer.

B. Potassium (K) deficiency.

Symptoms Lower leaves exhibit marginal chlorosis and necrosis.

This problem is seen occasionally on F. elastica stock. Leaf

tissue analysis is the best way to confirm suspicions of a

nutritional disorder.

Control Supply potassium to the soil at rate based on soil and

tissue tests. Potassium chloride and potassium nitrate are

good potassium sources.

C. Magnesium (Mg) deficiency.

Symptoms Lower leaves, primarily on F. nitida, become chlorotic

at the most distant margins first.

Control Plants grown with adequate soil-incorporated dolomite

should not develop Mg deficiency. Foliar or soil surface appli-

cations of magnesium sulfate at the rate of 1 pound per 100

gallons will correct the deficiency.

D. Manganese (Mn) deficiency.

Symptoms Terminal leaves of primarily F. nitida exhibit an inter-

veinal chlorosis.

Control Prevention is accomplished through incorporation of a

microelement blend such as Micromax or Perk, at the rate

of 1 to 2 pounds per cubic yard of potting mix. Manganese-

deficient plants can be sprayed with manganese sulfate at the

rate of 0.5 pounds per 100 gallons.


Ficus spp. are among the most pest-resistant foliage plants. Diseases

of these plants are relatively few and easy to recognize. The diseases which

are serious on rubbertree are not the same as those on weeping fig, although

both plants may be produced under the same environmental regimes. Nematode

pests of rubbertree have been serious in South Florida in the past but control

strategies appear to have diminished losses due to nematode infestations.

Most of the fungal leaf spot diseases can be controlled adequately through

applications of protective fungicides.


1) Anthracnose (Glomerella cingulata)

Symptoms Anthracnose is characterized by leaf spots anywhere on the

leaf which are initially yellow and later turn dark brown. Pinkish

spores form in zones along leaf veins, with leaf death and abscission

common. F. elastica cultivars are commonly infected with this pathogen

during the summer months.

Control See Corynespora leaf spot.

2) Botrytis blight (Botrytis cinerea)

Symptoms Large, tan to brown leaf spots with concentric rings, usually

found between the leaf and sheath or on leaf tips. Botrytis blight

occurs primarily on F. elastica, during cool periods of the year.

Control Benlate is labeled and should provide control. Chipco 26019 and

Ornalin are not labeled but control this pathogen on other plants.

3) Cercospora leaf spot (Cercospora sp.)

Symptoms Tiny and slightly raised, red or dark green spots on lower

surface of F. elastica leaves.

Control Benlate is labeled and Daconil 4.17 F is safe but not labeled

at this time.

4) Corynespora leaf spot (Corynespora cassiicola)

Symptoms Small to large, reddish leaf spots on the youngest mature

leaves, with leaf abscission common in severe infections when leaf

spots expand interveinally.

Control Occurs on both green and variegated forms of F. benjamin and

F. nitida and is more severe on the variegated plants. Keep

fertilizer applications at recommended levels, and eliminate overhead

water if possible. Benlate is labeled and should aid in control.

Banrot 50 WP
Benlate 50 WP
Chipco 26019 50 WP
Daconil 75 WP
Daconil 4.17 F
Truban 5G
Truban 30 WP


1) Foliar nematode (Aphelenchoides besseyi)

Symptoms Leaf spots begin near the midvein on lower leaves and extend to

the margin. They are usually rectangular in shape. The primary host

for this nematode is F. elastica.

Control Infection of F. elastica occurs through movement of nematodes

from weeds to lower Ficus leaves. Mow weeds in field plantings to

stop this movement.

2) Root knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.)

Symptoms Galls occur on roots and the root system may be drastically

reduced; plant stunting and wilting occur when severe infestations

are present.

Control Use sterile soil and grow plants off the ground if possible.

Dasanit, Mocap, Temik and Vydate will aid in control. Check labels

for this plant and application methods.


The major insect pests of this plant-group include mealybugs, scales

and thrips. However, there are a number of minor arthropod pests such as

mites, fungus gnats and aphids which will attack Ficus spp. occasionally, but

will not be discussed here. In the control section for each pest, a few of

the many registered and effective pesticides will be listed. For a complete

listing, please consult the references at the end of this report.

1) Mealybugs

Symptoms Mealybugs appear as white, cottony masses in leaf axils, on

the lower surfaces of leaves and on roots. Honeydew and sooty mold

are often present and infested plants become stunted and, with severe

infestations, plant parts die.

Control Systemic materials are preferred. Examples of chemicals which

have systemic activity are: Dimethoate, Disyston, Metasystox-R and

Orthene. Bendiocarb appears to be as effective as some of the systemic


2) Scales

Symptoms Infested plants become weakened or stunted and die. Scales

can be found feeding on leaves, petioles or stems. Their shapes,

sizes and colors are variable and many are hard to distinguish from

the plant material on which they are feeding.

Control See mealybugs.

3) Thrips

Symptoms Infested leaves become curled or distorted, with silver-gray

scars where feeding has occurred. Thrips damage is most severe on

F. nitida.

Control Many materials are registered and effective in controlling

thrips, i.e., Orthene, Malathion and Vydate.


Botanical name
F. benjamin

Diazinon EC
Disyston EC
Kelthane EC
Malathion EC
Omite WP
Orthene SP
Pentac WP
Sevin WP
Systox EC
Temik G
Vendex WP

Dursban EC
FC-435 Oil
Furadan G
Malathion EC/FC-435 Oil
Vydate EC

F. retusa Diazinon EC Dursban EC
Disyston EC FC-435 Oil
Orthene SP Furadan G
Pentac WP Kelthane EC
Temik G Malathion EC
Malathion EC/FC-435 Oil
Omite WP
Sevin WP
Systox EC
Vydate EC
Pesticides were tested at recommended rates and intervals.


1. Chase, A. R. 1983. Phytotoxicity of some fungicides used on tropical

foliage plants. ARC-Apopka Research Report, RH-83-2.

2. Short, D. E. 1978. Phytotoxicity of insecticides and miticides to

foliage and woody ornamental plants. Extension Entomology Report #57.

3. Short, D. E., L. S. Osborne, and R. W. Henley. 1982. 1982-83 Insect

and related arthropod management guide for commercial foliage and woody

plants in Florida. Extension Entomology Report #52.

4. Simone, G. W. 1982. Disease control pesticides for foliage production-

1982. Extension Plant Pathology Report #30.

Mention of a commercial or proprietary product or of a pesticide in this
paper does not constitute a recommendation by the authors, nor does it
imply registration under FIFRA as amended.

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