Apartment plants

Ficus growths on the trunk

Question: Ficus. Growths on the trunk

I don't know if it is right to write here.
My ficus benjamin is losing a lot of green leaves.
But I must say that he is making some new ones.
It has no white dots, so I imagine it has no cochineal.
But on the branches it has dark growths that, as it moves, the finger comes off.
What is it? What can I do?

Ficus growths on the trunk: Answer: Ficus. Growths on the trunk

Dear Francesco,
ficus are native plants of Asia (at least, those that are cultivated in apartments), which in nature live in a semi-tropical climate, characterized by temperatures above 12-15 ° C and a fairly high humidity; compared to the climate they find in the apartment, the ideal climate for their development is decidedly different, and therefore, although adapting to living even in conditions that are not completely favorable, unfortunately every source of stress, even minimal, manifests itself quickly in the loss of the leaves, sometimes even total. It is enough for a ficus to be left in an area with a little air current, for the leaves to fall, or even for scarce or excessive watering to have the same, same effect. In your case, the hemispherical growths present on the branches, which come off with the fingers, could be cochineal, of the type called half a grain of pepper (it is evident that the name derives from the aesthetic appearance of the scale insects); this type of insects especially loves houseplants, or succulents, for the simple reason that they live in dry and warm environments, and the apartment is a perfect development environment. If the specimens are few, you can simply remove them with a microfibre cloth; if, on the other hand, you notice that there are so many, then it is advisable to treat with a specific anticocciniglia product, possibly by moving the plant onto the terrace, so as not to spread chemical products directly into the house; if you find a product in a pressurized can, spray it on the hair at least 45-50 cm away, to prevent the product from reaching the leaves at a very low temperature. The fall of the leaves could therefore be due to the cochineal, but it is not said; as I suggested before, often the leaves of the ficus fall due to a blow of air, or due to sudden changes in temperature: the open movement made in the spring is typically a moment of loss of the leaves, which are immediately replaced by new leaves. Even a frequently moist soil can cause the loss of leaves, a symptom in this case of a beginning of root rot; repotting can cause foliage to fall; very dry air can cause leaves to fall. If your ficus has not been moved, it is watered as always, it has been repotted in autumn, it receives the correct watering and periodically also of the fertilizer, then it is probable that the only cause of the fall of the leaves is the cochineal from which it is affection.