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PAL Questions: 1 - Garden Tools:
I just bought a Ficus lyrata that was heavily treated with pesticide. As the plant makes my eyes burn, how can I minimize the pesticide residues on the large leaves? Is the citrus-based Veggie Wash appropriate and not harmful to the plant, or is there a better solution? If changing the soil and pot is necessary, does Ficus lyrata like any particular soil?
Without knowing what pesticide(s) were used, it is difficult to say how the residues could be removed. Looking at The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, I can see that you would do no harm to the Ficus lyrata by washing the leaves with a sponge dipped in soapy water and then rinsing them with fresh water (this is a remedy often suggested for spider mites). Ficus also tolerates insecticidal soap well, so I imagine that the citrus-based veggie wash would not harm the ficus either. Of course, if the plant is making your eyes burn, it makes sense to take precautions to protect yourself while you are working with it--wear safety glasses, gloves, and a mask, and don't continue to work with it if it still bothers you.
Ficus lyrata is not picky about soil, any good potting soil will do, and it is generally suggested that a smallish pot will help keep the plant from getting too big.
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June 24 2013 12:55:25