Table of contents:
- Varieties and varieties of ficus with green leaves
- Varieties and varieties of ficus with variegated leaves
- Ficus elastica - care and cultivation
- How to transplant ficus
- How to propagate ficus
- Growing problems
- Ficus pests
The aerial roots of ficus elastica even in small trees form an almost solid wall, and penetrating into the ground they are able to break open the foundations of houses and road surfaces.
Mulberry family. Homeland - tropical Asia (from the north-east of India and south to Indonesia).
These are broadleaf evergreen shrubs or trees. In nature, some specimens of Ficus elastica or rubber-bearing can reach colossal sizes: 30-40 m in height, while growing a huge number of aerial roots that form buttresses (props) - sink to the ground like trunks, sometimes grow together, sometimes directed with the help people form continuous awnings or suspension bridges. In room conditions, ficus elastica usually grows, without pruning, as much as the ceiling height allows - 2.5-3 m, in the future, if it is not cut off, it will simply change direction and will grow along the ceiling. In indoor conditions, many varieties of rubber ficus require support.
Young leaves at the top of the shoots are tubularly twisted in pink-red stipules (cap or sheath). The stipule dries up after the leaf opens and falls off. Fully formed leaves are oblong-oval or elliptical to the touch, hard, leathery, glossy with a small pointed tip at the top. The tip is bent down. The edge of the sheet is also slightly bent inward. The leaves of the natural appearance of Ficus elastica are dark green above, matte green below, with a pronounced powerful light green central vein. Petiole from 4 to 10 cm.
The bark of young shoots is light pink, smooth. In middle-aged plants, the trunk and side shoots (branches) have a light green, rough bark with noticeable lenticels (small brown depressions). The bark of mature (old) plants is brown and quite rough to the touch.
Varieties and varieties of ficus with green leaves
Ficus elastica cv. 'Decora' - leaves are very wide, leathery, glossy, large - up to 30 cm long, the edge of the leaf and the tip are bent down. Leaves are deep green (not dark) and light green on the back. The petiole is colored red, the central vein is red to about the middle of the leaf, gradually turning into a cream color, then light green. This variety is often mistaken for a specific Ficus elastica.
Ficus elastica cv. 'Black Prince' Ficus elastica 'Black Prince' - has large leathery leaves up to 30 cm long and 17-18 cm wide, the leaf surface is glossy, deep dark green with a reddish tint, with a pronounced central red vein. The stipule of the young leaf is bright red, the petioles are green with a reddish tint.
Ficus elastica cv. 'Robusta' Ficus elastica 'Robusta' - very similar to the variety 'Decora' from which it differs in even wider, sometimes almost oval leaves and an intense green color. Castings have edges slightly tucked inward, the central vein is light green, and only at the very beginning it can have a slightly reddish color.
Ficus elastica cv. `Melany` -the leaves are wide, leathery, glossy, saturated dark green (sometimes with a reddish, even burgundy tint (depending on the light)), the tips of the leaves are slightly bent back. Unlike ficus 'Robusta', it grows in a compact bush, 60-80cm high.
Ficus elastica cv. 'Abidjan' Ficus elastica 'Abidjan' - the leaves are very wide. Young plates are dark red, almost beetroot. Over time, this color partially disappears, and the leaves become more green. Young plants of this variety are often confused with Ficus elastica cv. 'Black Prince', but Abidjan is much larger.
Ficus elastica cv. 'Robusta'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Melany'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Decora'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Black Prince'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Abidjan'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Belize'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Brazil'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Tineke'
Ficus elastica cv. 'Schriveriana'
Varieties and varieties of ficus with variegated leaves
Ficus elastica cv. 'Tineke' Ficus elastica 'Tineke' - medium leaf size - about 18-22cm long and 15cm wide. On the edge of the leaf there are gray-green and cream spots and an irregular edging. The central vein is creamy, pink at the base of young leaves. In young leaves, the petioles are pink, in adults, they are cream or light green. The stipules are pink.
In the name of this plant, the word variegata should not be enclosed in quotes, and written with a capital letter, it does not mean a variety, but variegation. And the correct spelling of Ficus elastica var. variegata.
Ficus elastica cv. 'Belize' Ficus elastica 'Belize' - leaves are wide, about 23-25cm long and 13-15cm wide, with a pink tint and large spots of pale yellow, gray-green and dark green with a pronounced pink-red midrib. The surface of the sheet may be slightly wavy. The petioles are pink. The younger the leaves, the more pronounced the pink tint of the leaves. In the old lower leaves, the petioles and veins are rather creamy, and the pink tint of the leaf is only guessed.
Ficus elastica cv. 'Brazil' Ficus elastica 'Brazil'. Very similar to the variety 'Belize', the leaves are also with gray-green, yellow-green, light green spots and cream edging, but internodes (distance between leaves) are noticeably shorter, and the leaves themselves are slightly smaller, 18-20cm long, therefore the variety looks more compact and more leafy.
Ficus elastica cv. 'Schriveriana' Ficus elastica 'Sriveriana' - has an average leaf, about 23-25cm long, 17-18cm wide. The color of the leaves is light green, with spots and strokes of dark green, cream and gray (marble pattern). The central vein is light green, the petioles and stipules are pink.
There may be some confusion when defining varieties of elastica ficus. Firstly, supplying firms often "call" the same variety of ficus by different trade names, for example, under the name Ficus elastica variegata, they can sell almost any variegated variety. Secondly, in conditions of different illumination, the leaves of ficuses, especially those with dark leaves, change the color intensity. For example, Robusta can be very similar to Black Prince and Brazil to Belize. The difference should be sought not only in color, but also in the shape of the leaf, for example, in Robusta they are larger and wider than in the Prince, as well as in the color of the petioles, stipules (cover of a young leaf), the compactness of the bush and the tendency to branch.
Ficus elastica - care and cultivation
In indoor conditions, ficus elastica is very reluctant to bush, even pruning does not always stimulate branching. And in nature, these are quite spreading lush shrubs and trees.
Temperature: moderate, optimal in the range of 20-25 ° С, in winter it is possible to keep it at lower temperatures around 12-14 ° С, with a sharp limitation of watering. Ficus elastica really does not like hypothermia of the roots.
Lighting: Ficus caoutchouc prefers bright, diffused light with some direct sun. In nature, ficuses grow in open areas under full-fledged sunlight, but for them it is a natural environment from the moment the seed germinates; in our apartments, from habit, after winter, ficus can get burns. Therefore, in the period from 11 am to 4 pm, it should be shaded, at other times the sun is only welcome, especially variegated varieties.
Watering: Ficus rubber-bearing drought-resistant, by the next watering the soil must necessarily dry out at least 1/2 the height of the pot. Most often, this type of ficus suffers from overflow. When in doubt whether it is time to water or not, it is better to wait a day or two, and determine the dryness of the soil by touch.
Top dressing with fertilizers: from March to August, once every three to four weeks, you can fertilize with fertilizers. A month after transplanting, it is worth feeding the rubber-bearing ficus with fertilizer with a larger proportion of phosphorus, for better development of the root system, which in potted ficuses is rather small and grows slowly. Subsequent feeding should be carried out with the usual fertilizer for decorative deciduous plants.
Air humidity: if the ficus is not near the central heating batteries and the temperature in the room is not higher than 25 ° C, then spraying is not required. However, you should periodically wipe the leaves with a damp sponge to remove dust.
How to transplant ficus
Ficus elastica is transplanted in the spring as needed. When it occurs: young, fast-growing plants master the pot in about a year, i.e. until approximately 5-6 years of age, it is better to transplant every year. Older plants, if desired, can also be replanted every year, but, as a rule, they grow before planting in large containers or buckets and it is technically difficult to transplant them - large branches can be injured (the petioles are rather fragile). Therefore, if it is difficult for you to transplant rubber plant ficus, simply loosen the soil, remove the top layer of the earth and replace it with fresh soil.
We compose the soil mixture so that it meets the following requirements:
- loose, porous
- well permeable to moisture (after watering it is wetted in 2-3 seconds)
- acidity: from weakly acidic to weakly alkaline (pH 5.5-7.5)
You can use universal soils from the store, but their problem is that they are made of the cheapest material: peat filled with mineral fertilizers. In such soil there is little humus, a lot of fibers, often disgusting wettability. Therefore, it is better to compose the soil for the ficus yourself, recipes for potting soil:
- 1 part turf, 1 part leafy land, 1 part peat land, 1 part fine gravel (3-4 mm) and 1 part well-decomposed compost
- 2 parts of store-bought soil for ficuses (palm trees, monstera, dracaena, croton or universal), 1 part of compost (humus soil), 1 part of fine gravel (3-4 mm) and 1 part of well-decomposed compost
You need to know that rubber ficus does not tolerate alkaline and too acidic substrates. The pot is suitable from any material, but not too spacious, the root system of the rubber plant of any variety is small, this is due to genetics. If this is your first time seeing a plant, then you might be surprised how such a small root system can be with a large green mass. It is only necessary to enlarge the pot when the roots fill the entire pot or begin to sprout into the drainage holes.
How to transplant rubber ficus if it is very large
Choose a flowerpot or container of a suitable size, approximately for a rubber ficus with a height of about 2.5 m (under the ceiling), you need a container of about 25-30 liters. This does not mean that he has such a large root, perhaps it has not grown to such a volume, but a smaller container will be unstable. Next, prepare the drainage. If the new container does not have drainage holes, then a lot of drainage is needed so that the height is about 10 cm. If there are drainage holes, less drainage is possible. If you have a wooden tub as a planting container, pick up a large garbage bag for it, otherwise the tree will quickly rot. In the bag at the bottom you need to make holes, if they are at the bottom of the tub, if they are not there, drill 4-5 holes with a 10-12 mm drill.
Prepare the potting mix as needed. Now you need to think about how to put, tilt the ficus so as not to injure the branches. Anything that can be tied up (side shoots). You can put the trunk of the ficus on the table, made up of stools, but it is best to call an assistant who will help hold the crown with his hands so that the leaves do not touch any surface.
2-3 hours before transplanting, you need to water the ficus abundantly in order to moisten all the soil. This will make it easier to remove from the old pot. To make it easier to pull out, squeeze the earth from the walls of the pot with a long knife, if the pot is very large, use a saw blade for metal. You can pull the ficus by the trunk. If the plant is healthy, then the trunk of a large elastic ficus will easily tolerate such a procedure. If you poured your ficus or overdried it a lot, then at the moment you pull it, its roots will partially break off.
Remember: if the roots of the ficus are torn, this is a sure sign of improper care, flooding, overdrying or alternation of both, or improperly selected soil. You need not grumble about the invasiveness of the transplant, but reconsider the irrigation scheme and not make too dense clay soils, do not add fine river sand, which cements the soil.
So, we pull the ficus out of the pot, slowly, without jerking, we scoop out all the giving ground with a scoop. If the ficus does not yield in any way (the roots literally stick to the walls of the container), then water again abundantly and leave for another 3-4 hours. Let's try again. Do not shake or pick out the lump removed from the pot - the larger the tree, the more difficult it is to tolerate root injuries. Place it in a new container and cover with fresh soil. Since we watered before transplanting, there is no need to water for several days after.
Frequently asked questions about ficus
How to propagate ficus
Cuttings of rubber ficus are usually rooted in water or wet vermiculite. Sometimes the cuttings root poorly, rot, in which case it is necessary to add pieces of charcoal or activated carbon to the water, and make sure that the water in the jar has a temperature of about 21-24 ° C. Another way to root cuttings in moss.
Cuttings 10-15 cm long are cut in the spring, it is important that the cuttings have one or 2 medium-sized leaves, no more. Then the milky juice is allowed to drain, washed with water, powdered with a root formation stimulator and placed in a pot of wet moss with sphagnum (you can mix the moss in half with sand or vermiculite).
The pot is wrapped with cling film (so that the moss does not dry out too quickly), and then placed in a warm, bright place. You can put a pot of moss and a shank in a bag, the edges of which are not tied. It takes several months to root.
In addition, rubber ficus is propagated by air layering. This method is more suitable in cases where the lower part of the trunk is very bare, and the tops are well leafy.
This ficus leaves dry and curl up. The reason is that the pot is too small, in which the roots dry out.
Interestingly, in stores, plants live in such pots for a very long time, and do not wither, all because the plants are crowded in the store, they are sprayed several times a day and watered daily.
They can also suffer from waterlogging if water remains in the trays, but they can remain healthy, because large root mass in the pot and huge drainage holes do not allow moisture to stay in the ground for a long time.
Most often, elastic ficuses suffer from too much watering. This is due to the stereotype of the moisture-loving ficuses, people argue: "since they are from the tropics, then they must love moisture." But somehow it is forgotten that growing in indoor conditions, in a closed loop and in a pot, is very different from natural conditions.
The root system of ficuses in the natural environment is quite aggressive - it grows widely, lying in the upper layers of the soil, while neither paved paths nor the foundation of houses interfere with it - the roots simply break open obstacles and grow further.
In the closed space of the pot, a strictly limited amount of nutrients is offered to the ficus, the water after watering can dry out for a long time, especially if the drainage holes are clogged with dense, stale earth, or are too small, and the amount of sunlight and fresh air is limited.
Therefore, watering ficus elastica, like any other ficus, must be adjusted for temperature, humidity in the room, pot volume and soil composition. The higher the temperature and the lower the humidity, the faster the soil dries out. The larger the volume of the pot, the denser, the heavier the soil, the longer the soil dries out.
The leaves of this ficus are not healthy, if you look closely, there are no spots on them, but they hang, according to the author of the photo, the soil in the pot was very damp, and mold even grew on the surface. But if you do not have mold in a flower pot, leaf drooping is the first sign of severe dryness or waterlogging of the earth. What exactly happened can be determined by touching the ground with your finger at a depth of 7-8 cm.
And one more tip: do not put expanded clay or decorative stones on the surface of the earth in a pot - they interfere with the rapid drying of the earth and aeration of the soil!
With elastica ficus, the problem of watering can be associated with the huge leaf mass of adult and old specimens. It seems that a lot of wide large leaves are a large evaporating surface, which means that again a lot of water is needed. But the leathery covers protect ficus leaves not only from heavy raindrops, but also from high evaporation.
If a single abundant watering does not harm, then the systematic waterlogging of the soil, when its upper layers do not have time to dry out, leads to the appearance of bacterial spots and fungal infections.
Such spots are not just a signal of waterlogging, they are already a disease. The spots appear first on the lower leaves, but gradually spread to the upper ones.
Ficus elastica can be affected by thrips, scutes, ticks. It is worth looking for pests if there is discoloration of the leaves, gradual yellowing, depressed spots, pinpoint punctures, and strokes on the leaves appear. To see in more detail, use a magnifying glass - you need to look from both sides of the sheet.
Read more about pests of indoor plants in the section 'pests'
It is practically impossible to do without chemicals, more precisely, insecticides, when pests appear on plants. Of all the known remedies, systemic drugs are the most effective - these are Aktara and Confidor (against aphids, scale insects, thrips and soil pests). Only acaricides are effective against ticks.