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Don Kinzler, Published December 20 2013

Fielding questions

Q My weeping fig houseplant develops yellowing leaves that drop and become quite messy. Any suggestions?

– Charlotte Knittel, Mandan, N.D.

A Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina, can grow quite nicely as a tree-like houseplant beginning from a small plant capable of reaching ceiling height.

Leaf drop is a common problem, causing weeping figs to appear moody, and they resent change. Some leaf drop is unavoidable as seasons change and day length shortens.

Changing locations indoors can trigger the problem until it adapts to its new spot. Both over- and under-watering cause leaf drop. Water when the soil is dry to the touch, which means the upper inch feels dry, but there is moist soil below. Apply enough water to wet the entire soil ball and discard any drainage after a few minutes.

When the cause of leaf drop is corrected, weeping figs can bud forth with new growth to replace lost leaves.

Q My husband bought a beautiful potted shrub rose on sale this fall, but due to our house fire he got busy and wasn’t able to get it planted. Will it survive until spring?

– Mary Kinzler, Fargo

A Hi Mary, your husband is lucky to have such a caring gardening partner.

Actually when you weren’t looking he tucked it into a protected corner outdoors, laid it down, covered it with a huge pile of leaves, and has been shoveling snow onto the area ever since for added insulation. Hopefully it will survive the winter.

I don’t flirt with my readers, but you sound like a really nice person.

(P.S. Next spring Mary and I celebrate our 30th anniversary.)

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city, and state for appropriate advice.