I've blogged several times about my Ficus benjamin tree. I got it about thirteen years ago when the company my husband worked for closed, and we "adopted" a pair of Ficus benjamins that had stood in reception (the only very small silver lining in a very nasty cloud). One died five or six years later, but this one has gone from strength to strength. It was already a well-grown tree then - not less than seven or eight years old, I'd estimate.
The tree has always lived in a corner of the balcony in the summer, and then in the living room in winter. Our flat is horribly dark - the disadvantage of having a building lined by balconies is that they block out the sun - so it's never been entirely happy inside and would frequently lose a few leaves just after it came in. But nothing drastic.
Until this year. It came in at the same time as ever, was placed in the same corner, and treated in every way the same as ever. And then the leaves started to fall. And fall. And fall. And it's now looking very bare and sad.
What went wrong? Did I overwater? Underwater? I don't think so. Is it just old age? I remember once coming across an article on the web which said they only survive in pots for about fifteen years, but I've no idea if that's accurate. It must have been pot bound for years, but it's already in the biggest pot I can manage.
I'm hoping it will hang on for another six weeks, when I'll be able to put it back outside. And perhaps with a bit of pruning and tender loving care, it may revive. I'll take some cuttings from the healthier looking twigs too, just in case. But if you've got any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.