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Interiorscape Forum / Scaper Talk Discussion Forum / Plants / Ficus trees and Indoor Saltwater Pool
Posted:  09 Sep 2015 06:16  
Does anyone has experience with indoor Saltwater pools and Ficus trees.
Specifically, Ficus Ali - they are defoliating rapidly and surround a saltwater pool.
Air quality maybe?
Thanks!
Posted:  09 Sep 2015 21:05  
We lost a Ficus Benj once because they cleaned the pool deck with a bleach solution.
Posted:  10 Sep 2015 00:17  
This is one of those "intro to interiorscaping" questions that has been covered over and over, but I guess it bears repeating now.

There are many chemicals that can cause toxicity problems for plants.  Some are foreign to the plants' metabolism, such as cleaning solutions, paint fumes and other household and industrial chemicals, but others are actually naturally occurring chemicals that, in sufficient doses, can harm an otherwise tolerant plant.

Chlorine is one of these; sodium is another.  Sodium in the form of the Na+ ion found in table salt and sea salt (and the salt used in saltwater swimming pools) can easily accumulate in the soil of neighboring plants and reach toxic levels.

Chlorine, the active agent in pool chemical treatments designed to control both bacterial and algal growth in freshwater swimming pools, is another highly toxic chemical to most plants.  It can harm a plant via two pathways: accumulation in the soil as with sodium, or by means of chlorine gas, a vapor that is volatilized from the treated pool water into the air.  Ficus trees are by no means immune to the effects of chlorine, and it's best to place them far from an outdoor pool to ensure that splashing water does not get into the soil.  For an indoor pool, it's best to exclude them completely unless the enclosed area is very well-ventilated.
Here's the "inside dope" on how chlorine does its dirty deeds to plants:

"Chlorine damages organic cells by releasing free oxygen which combines with plant cell proteins causing them to denature. Because the hypochlorite ion forms when such compounds as sodium hypochlorite (NaoCl; bleach) contact the organic materials which make up the cell membrane, it is also likely that the lipoprotein structure is disrupted, causing cytoplasm leakage and killing the cell." http://kcgroup.forumchitchat.com/post/PLANT-D ...

The symptoms can range initially from chlorosis and necrotic spotting to leaf loss and ultimately death of the plant.  Here's a link to an old thread on this topic on this forum:
http://www.interiorscape.com/Scaper-Talk-Disc ...

Note that I don't recommend any of these; they were noted in the landmark book on interiorscape design and maintenance, "Commercial Indoor Plants" by David Hamilton as tolerant of poolside conditions.  Use them at your own peril.

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