Don't Interfere with Happiness - Lessons from Ficus Trees

I have two beautiful large ficus trees in my sunroom and these have done very well for years. Well, that is until this winter when I had to move one of them to make more room in the sunroom for plants that I brought in for the winter (that's another story). This tree just does not like being moved and it is letting me know it by losing its leaves. So okay, I know that they go through periods of losing some leaves but it is no big deal, right? Well, this is different, a lot of the leaves just turn brown and dry up, still on the tree.  I have given in and moved it back to the sunroom and time will tell if it is going to be happy or continue to pout. It is like a spoiled child that has now gotten her way.

This reminds me of when I worked in a professional office years ago. The receptionist had a ficus tree in her house and it was not doing well. She had moved it from room to room in her house but it continued to decline. So she brought it to the officeand put it in the waiting room. Now it was happy and putting out new growth. Everyone was so happy to see the turn around.  I hate to tell you, but this story does not have a happy ending.... We came to work one morning to find that the tree was now just a single stick sticking out of the pot! Then the janitor came in and proudly announced that he had pruned the ficus tree for her! Yes, he did kill it.

And now, the rest of the story. Each of us had decorated our offices with some of our favorite houseplants. I had a lovely asparagus fern that trailed all over and the man in the next office had a huge spider plant with literally hundreds of "babies". I have never seen another like that one. Well, the janitor pruned our plants at the same time he pruned the ficus tree, My asparagus fern was now a small, tidy mound. And in the next office all the spider "babies" had been cut off and thrown away.

Yes, the janitor did keep his job and was duly repentant!