Ficus Rubberonus (Elastica): Home Care, Transplantation

Ficus elastica, or Ficus rubbery, is a species of the genus Ficus in the Mulberry family. It is native to the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, and also to the northeastern part of India. Such a ficus was named rubber-bearing because it has a thick sap, which contains a lot of rubber used for rubber production. In the homeland of the elastic ficus, it is revered by Buddhists as a sacred plant. Of all the species that make up the genus Ficus, this species and also its cultivars are the most popular with flower growers.

However, in the twentieth century, this plant was considered by many florists to be a blatant symbol of bad taste, and it was long forgotten. However, thanks to Dutch florists, this beautiful and unpretentious plant has become popular again in recent years.

Brief description of cultivation

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

  1. Flowering. It is grown as an ornamental and deciduous plant.
  2. Brightness.

    Can be grown in slight shade or in bright diffused light.

  3. Temperature regime. During vegetation period - from 20 to 25 degrees, in winter time not colder than 15 degrees.
  4. Pouring. During the warm season 1 or 2 times every 7 days, and once a week in winter.

  5. Humidity of the air. Must be elevated. In spring and summer, the bush should be moistened systematically from a sprayer. Dust from the leaves is removed with a moistened soft cloth.
  6. Fertilizer.

    Feed the ficus once every 15 days from April to September. Use alternately organic and mineral fertilizers with a high nitrogen content.

  7. Dormant period. October-March.
  8. Potting.

    Young plants need frequent transplanting, which is done every year in the springtime or in the first weeks of summer. Older shrubs should be replanted once every two or three years. If the bush is already old, it should not be replanted but the top layer of potting soil should be changed annually. By branches and cuttings.

  9. Pests.

    Aphids, nematodes, scabs, thrips, mealybugs, yellow and red spider mites.

  10. Diseases. Root rot, sooty fungus, cercosporosis, anthracnose and botrytis.
  11. Properties. The sap of this plant contains poisonous substances.

Peculiarities of the rubber-bearing ficus

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

In natural conditions, the rubber-bearing ficus can reach about 30 m in height. It can also grow very wide, because it has aerial roots, they descend from the branches and trunk of the tree to the ground and grow into the ground. This way they supply the ficus with extra nutrients and also give it a shape that is called "banyan". Because it has so many winding aerial roots, the locals have nicknamed it the 'snake tree'. The successive large, leathery, dark green leaves are elliptical in shape and pointy on top.

The young leaf plates are wrapped with brownish-red leafstalks, which very quickly dry up and fly off, immediately after the leaves open. The flowers of this plant are unsightly and of no decorative value, but they are formed only when the bush is pollinated by certain insects, and this is quite problematic when growing in room conditions. Because of this, only a mature shrub that is growing in a large enough conservatory can flower. Fruits are ball-shaped syconiae up to 10 mm across and look like small figs that cannot be eaten.

Nearly this ficus was cultivated in mass to extract rubber from its milky sap.

If the sap comes into contact with the skin, it can cause an allergic reaction, irritation or dermatitis, since it contains alkaloids and enzymes in addition to latex. If there are cuts or wounds on the ficus due to animals or humans, then this labeled sap will help heal them very quickly. The indoor ficus is rarely taller than 200 centimeters. However, it is not a slow growing plant, so in 1 year under favorable conditions, the bush can add 0.4 to 0.

45 m in height. If it reaches the ceiling, it can be cut back. In most cases, when growing ficus indoors, its trunk does not produce lateral shoots.

Non-precautionary houseplants: Ficus rubberonose

Home care for Ficus rubberonose

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

Light exposure

Ficus rubberonose is a light loving plant, so light should be bright, but necessarily diffused, as direct sunlight can harm it. You can also choose a place for it in slight shade, but in this case its growth and development will be slower, and be prepared to have its lower leaves fall off.

Temperature regime

In the spring and summer period the shrub grows best at a room temperature of 20 to 25 degrees. It will not suffer much damage from a short-term increase in temperature to 30 degrees. During the winter, it is recommended to move it to a cool place, but make sure the air temperature does not drop below 15 degrees.

Watering and humidity

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

Wet the soil in the pot only when the top layer is about 2 fingers dry to the depth. On average, water 1 or 2 times every 7 days in the spring and summer and once a week in the cold season.

If watering is more frequent, it may cause the leaves to fall off.

In spring and summer, to increase the level of humidity, the leaves are systematically sprayed with warm water from a sprayer and also washed with a moistened soft cloth once every half month. And once every 30 days it is desirable to arrange a warm shower, with the substrate in the pot be sure to protect it from water, covering it with foil. During winter time it is not recommended to moisten the foliage, instead it is wiped with a wet tampon and kept away from working heating devices.

Fertilizer

For the shrub to grow and develop normally, it should be regularly fertilized once every 15 days during the period from April to September.

It is recommended to alternate between liquid organic fertilizer and mineral fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content. For example, after watering, you can pour a solution of Nitrophoska under the plant (½ tsp. of substance per 1 liter of water), and half a month later it is fed with an infusion of cowpea, the same after watering. Do not allow the nutrient mixture to get on the surface of the growth buds or leaves. Do not use chemical polishes on the leaves, but only non-alcoholic beer can be used.

Transplanting Rubber Ficus

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

As the bush is young it needs annual transplanting during the spring months or during the first weeks of summer. Repot the mature shrub only when absolutely necessary after the root system has become very crowded in the container (on average once every 2 or 3 years). A sign that the potting soil has been exhausted and must be replaced by new potting soil is if the liquid runs out too quickly into the pan after watering.

When choosing a new pot bear in mind that it should be 50-60 mm deeper and 40-50 mm larger in diameter than the old one. If the plant is very old, it can be severely damaged during transplanting, causing it to die.

In this regard, experienced flower growers are advised not to bother such a ficus with transplants, but just regularly 1 time a year in it change the top layer of soil-mix thickness of 30 mm with a fresh one. A suitable soil mixture for growing ficus should include peat, leaf and sod soil, and even river sand (1:1:1:1). If you want, you can buy ready-made soil mixture for the ficus. Also for transplanting will do and universal soil mixture, but it will be necessary to pour a small amount of river sand.

In a pot pour a good layer of drainage, and then gently remove the flower with the root ball of the old container and move it into the new one.

Fill all the empty spaces with fresh potting soil so that the pot is now full.

Transplanting Ficus at home Part 1

Trimming

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

Trimming is necessary to keep down the growth of the bush and also to increase the amount of leaves because the lower leaf plates start to fall off over the years. Often beginning flower growers, wanting their ficus to branch, cut off its top. But this does not make it branch, at best one of the upper buds on the trunk will awaken. To achieve more, it is recommended to cut off 5-6 internodes.

You can cut off the top of an over-extended shrub, root it first, and then plant it in the same container. When the stems have reached the maximum height that you can tolerate, they will need to be trimmed again. Pruning should be done in early spring, otherwise the side buds will not wake up and the uppermost point of growth will start to grow again. Prune the plant with a very sharp pre-disinfected blade. Milky sap, which will be released after pruning, should be removed with running water.

If you want your home decorated with a lush ficus bush, then several plants are planted in one container. To grow it choose a slightly shaded place, with the bush systematically rotated around its axis, this is to ensure that the stems are not bent, as they begin to stretch to the source of light. If you only have one plant in the pot and want to make it more lush, try pruning the dormant buds on the stem (see above for more details on how to do this). Also to increase the lushness of the plant, some flower growers use the method of piercing the trunk to a depth of 1/3 of its thickness. Such stimulation begins at the top of the trunk and then gradually descends lower.

The top of the young bush is bent down to the maximum, after which it should be fixed. The bud that happens to be higher than all the others will awaken and produce a side shoot. As soon as this happens, the flower is returned to its normal position.

How to form a rubber-bearing ficus

Production methods

Booting

The reproduction of rubber-bearing ficus by cuttings is one of the most effective and easiest methods. Cut at an angle into an apical or stem cuttings that should be about 10 to 15 centimeters tall.

He cut off all the leaf plates, leaving only 1-2 top leaves. Wash off his milky sap, for this cuttings are kept under running water until it stops releasing. Root it in a container with water. Those leaf plates that remain, to reduce the area of moisture evaporation are rolled up into a tube, and to prevent them from unfolding, rubber bands are put on them. However, the best cuttings give roots during rooting in the soil mixture, but in this case they should be covered with a transparent plastic bag.

As a rule, cuttings cut from the green-leaved variety of Ficus rubbery, give roots very quickly, and there are no problems with them. If you took a cuttings from the variegated variety of Ficus, then before planting them for rooting, make sure to anoint the place of cutting heteroauxin or kornievin. Plant them in mini greenhouses with lower heating. However, be prepared that such cuttings will not take root.

MEMBERSHIP OF FICUS AT HOME! The Complete Cycle From A to Z!

Reproduction by grafts

The sterile Ficus forms are best reproduced by grafts.

Make an incision on the stem that is about 1/3 of its thickness. To prevent the edges of the cut from closing in, place a match in the cut. This place on the trunk should be wrapped with moistened sphagnum, which should be wrapped with polyethylene on top, a regular scotch tape should be used to fix it. Once roots are formed at the cutting point (you can see this through the transparent foil), the shoot is cut off below the branch with the roots and planted in a separate pot.

Propagation by leaf

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

This method of propagation is very rarely used and is also untested (that is, there is no evidence that this method is really effective).

If you put a cut leaf-plate in a container of water for rooting, it will grow roots after a while. And after it is planted in the substrate, a month, a year, two years later you will have this leaf plate in the pot, because it is not able to give shoots.

Diseases and pests

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

Pests

The rubber-bearing ficus is relatively resistant to various diseases as well as to harmful insects. However, very rarely spider mites or scales settle on it. If this happens, you'll need to wash the foliage with a tobacco dust infusion made by combining 1 liter of water and 4 tablespoons of dust, also adding a small amount of soap to the mixture.

A couple of hours after applying the solution to the foliage, rinse it with clean water. If the bush is infested with scales, then before treatment, try to remove all the pests from it, for this purpose use a normal cotton swab. And remember that plants in which the leaves are kept clean cannot be harmed by pests because they do not encounter them.

Possible problems

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

The following problems can occur if not properly cared for or not in the right conditions:

  1. The leaves are falling off. If it is only the lower leaves that are falling off then you don't have to worry because this is a natural process of aging.

    If it is not only the lower leaves that are falling off, it could be because the ground in the pot has dried out, you watered too often, there was little light, there was a sudden change of temperature or a cold draught.

  2. Yellowing of the leaves. As a rule, the leaf plates first turn yellow and then die off and fall off. Therefore, see above for the causes of leaf yellowing. However, the leaves can also change their color to yellow because there are so many nutrients in the soil mixture.

    In this case, rinsing the substrate is recommended, for this through the top watering in a container poured as much water as could fill 3 such empty flower pots, in which the ficus grows. After flushing, the feeding is suspended for 8 weeks. Also yellowing can be due to the fact that the earth mixture contains a lot of salts, in this case, correct the situation will only help transplant the flower in a fresh substrate. More leaves turn yellow when the ficus grows in an overly large container, in which case it should be transplanted into a new pot of smaller volume. Yellow leaves can also be a sign that the roots are rotten.

    If you smell the soil mixture, it will smell rotten. In this case, it is necessary to pull the bush out of the container, free its root system from the soil, cut out all the rotten areas, and then it is planted in a fresh substrate. However, there are cases when a rotten plant cannot be saved.

  3. Bush does not grow. This can be due to the fact that the ficus feels an acute lack of nutrients, not enough light or its root system is very cramped in the pot.

    If you correct the mistakes you have made, the plant will once again begin to grow strongly.

Rubber Ficus: Benefits and Harm

Ficus rubberonus (elastica): home care, transplantation

The rubber bottom ficus can quite effectively purify the air in the room from trichlorethylene, phenol and benzene. At the same time, it converts these hazardous substances into sugar and amino acids. In addition adherents of Ayurveda are convinced that this plant is able to absorb the vibes of anxiety and anger, thereby purifying the energy of the room. Hindus say that if a childless couple who has long dreamt of having children decorate their home with ficus, they will soon have a baby.

Ficus rubbery also has medicinal properties that are used in medicine. The remedies made from its sap and leaves are used to treat mastopathy, as well as for the prevention of cancer. Also, such preparations are used during the therapy of fibroma and uterine myoma. From the juice are prepared compresses, which are used for sciatica, hemorrhoids, arthritis and osteochondrosis. Asthmatics should be very careful with this plant as it releases rubber into the air which may cause a suffocation attack.

Ficus rubberonus care and propagation

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