Ficus Benjamina help please

I bought two ficus benjamina trees at a local home depot (Montreal, Canada)) and put them into terracotta pots for my condo. One is in the livingroom in the front of the balcony window where it gets a couple of hours in the morning of sunlight and the rest of the day the curtains are open but there is no direct sun. Unfortunately my condo unit is on the northeast side of the building so the only light I get is in the early morning. The other ficus is in my bedroom, which only receives some bright sunlight in the later evening for a couple of hours since it faces northwest. Both trees have been dropping leaves like crazy for the past month. I see leaves dropping everyday and I usually give the ficus a strong shake which make many more leaves fall. I was told that the ficus would do this to adjust to the move, but I'm getting worried now (it's going on a month now of leaf drop), since the lower branches are now practically bare and more leaves are dropping all the time. The trees are both starting to look kinda sickly since all I'm seeing is more and more twigs. There are several green pointy tips (buds?) on some of the twigs at the top of the trees, but others are schriveling up and turning dark brown. I am watering when the soil feels dry and afraid to overwater them. The leaves that are falling naturally are yellowish and some are completely dried up and brown, but when I shake the trunk vigorously, there are green leaves that fally of very easily. I am misting the trees every couple of days. I don't know where to go from here and need some expert advice because I think I'm doing something wrong.
Any help is appreciated.
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I have moved my four 20-30 year old 8-10 ft ficus many times without having leaves fall. One location is in a dark inside corner, two spots are in east windows, and the fourth is in front of a south window. The only difference seems to be growth rate, and they get rotated annually -- without falling leaves. ( I heard the "falling leaves" thing was a bad rap, caused not by moving but by new owners over-watering, or letting the soil get too dry, etc. I have had heavy falling leaves a couple times very early in the 30 yrs, and I am fairly certain it was soggy roots, cured by the shower. A few falling leaves is usually dry roots)
If I had the problem you describe: check/fix the pot; fix the soil; kill the bugs; and wash the plant
1) Always make sure the pot has a hole in it, so there isn't ever any standing water inside the plant after watering. (I don't know what "soil" yours are potted in now, but sometimes the mix is dry sterile black dirt mixed with dry sterile perlite. You may need to get some decent potting soil mixed in) If I didn't like the soil, I would probably repot them. And I put some pot shards around the hole, so it doesn't get plugged.
2) Then I would put them in the shower and give the leaves a thorough cool water shower, at least long enough to flush the root area of the old water (if you don't repot them). Let them sit in the shower for a few hours to drain and then give them a shake.
That ought to "clean up" the roots, if they have been sitting in water.
3) Then I would put some plant food spikes and some systemic in the pots (and since they are new to the house and you got them from home depot, I would put systemic in all my other plants as well)
4) when the soil seems almost dry in a few days, water sparingly - now, sparingly means you don't want damp or soggy soil - but you don't want dry soil either. Too dry means the soil is all "dirt" and no organics, or it got so dry since the last watering that water runs right through when you water it. Too wet and the leaves fall off. (Unless the soil is really dry, right now I would err on the side of sparer watering. The roots need air to work and heal.)
Then water the same amount, on a regular basis.
fwiw...

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On 11 Jul 2006 13:39:55 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

The benjaminas I've had were quite resistant to leaf drop, I could do almost anything to them. I friend had one that would drop all its leaves if she turned it 90 degrees, but it would always come back.
the tree will not use much water when it has no leaves, so watch the watering carefully.
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This is not unusual. Ficus don't like to be moved. They will drop leaves, but they will come back.
Overwatering could be a problem. They like to stay pretty dry.
Also, they are terribly susceptible to spider mites indoors.
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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Mine was in a perfect spot, after living in a dark corner for many years. Within two weeks, it had lost every single leaf. It recovered just fine, and grew to be a monster three years later. Be patient, and as others have said, be careful about overwatering. Stick your finger straight down into the soil, and if it feels damp, do not water.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Be careful not to let direct sun shine on the plant. They do appreciate bright INDIRECT light, but few plants can tolerate the heat of being indoors with direct sunshine.
--

David E. Ross
<http://www.rossde.com/
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On 2006-07-11 16:39:55 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com said:

Problem #1 not enough light.
Both trees have been dropping leaves like crazy for the past month. I

Ficus are VERY tempermental aboout light change and temperature changes. Leaf drop after you bring them home is NORMAL. Forget misting, it does nothing for humidity. You'd have to mist every 10 minutes 24 hours a day to make it work. Kepp the soil MOIST, not soaked for a few weeks. New leaves should be forming for you now. Try to get more light to them, sounds like they are not the right plant for your home lighting conditions. They need BRIGHT light.
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