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Rubber ficus, or elastic (from the Latin Ficus elastica), belongs to the genus Ficus and the family Moraceae. The native land of the plant is considered to be the north-eastern part of India, as well as the southern regions of Indonesia, namely the territory of the islands of Sumatra and Java.
Under the natural conditions of growth, the ficus of this species can reach 30 meters in height. The plant has regular, oval with a pointed end, leathery and shiny leaves, as well as small, yellow-green in color and oval-shaped fruits.
More than a thousand varieties of ficus are known, and over the long history of indoor floriculture, it has been possible to isolate some of the most promising subspecies of this plant. Caring for them is not difficult, even a beginner grower can grow such plants at home.
Ficus elastica belongs to the category of unpretentious plants. Especially popular are its varieties:
- Belize with leaves in whitish pink stains;
- Variegata with cirrus, light leaves in light stains;
- Robusta, the most popular rubbery ficus in indoor floriculture, with green, wide and leathery leaves.
The most famous decorative varieties include:
- Decora with bronze young foliage;
- Doescheri with variegated foliage.
The presence of some additional skills in the florist allows you to grow rubber ficus in the form of a bonsai tree.
Ficus rubbery for a long time had an exclusively industrial purpose and was used as a tree, allowing you to get valuable material called rubber. For this purpose, the plant was cultivated in the middle of the XIX century. In India, Elastic is used as the basis for the creation of "living" suspension bridges.
The maintenance of an unpretentious houseplant requires compliance with simple rules for growing.
How to care for rubbery ficus
The location of the flower pot should be characterized by reasonably good diffused sunlight without direct exposure to burning sun rays. More demanding on the quality of lighting are characterized by variegated plant forms that do not have a sufficient amount of chlorophyll in the leaves. Long shading in this case can significantly reduce the decorativeness of foliage.
The temperature regime can vary from 18 to 24 degrees heat. Even a slight increase in these indicators will require additional spraying. Ficus Elastics react very poorly to drafts.
Large-sheeted varieties of Elastics are not too demanding on air humidity. However, on hot summer days it is recommended to increase humidity. In the winter, it is necessary to spray the plant due to the air dried up as a result of the heating system.
Watering and feeding
Watering should be plentiful, and the soil should always be in a slightly wet state. The plant must be provided with good drainage. Regularly spray plants with warm water. Larger forms are less sensitive to moisture. It is important to periodically wipe the foliage with a damp sponge to remove dust.
Ficus should be fed from the spring to mid-autumn. The optimum is the alternation of organic and mineral fertilizers. The soil must be moistened before feeding. Avoid getting fertilizer on the foliage.
After acquiring a plant in a flower shop, you should give it time to adapt. After a minimum of three or four weeks, you can transplant into another pot.
Young plants should be replanted annually in spring using a larger volume. Adult specimens are not recommended to be transplanted more than once every two years. Large plants are undesirable to transplant. For them, it is recommended to replace the topsoil.
Rubber room ficus can be propagated by both cuttings and air layering. In addition, the culture is easily propagated by leaflets. The best time for breeding is March or April, and the optimum temperature is from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius.
The stem, or apical, cuttings should be cut, and the cut should be washed with running water, removing the milky juice that stands out. Rooted cuttings can be both in water and directly in the soil mixture. Cuttings from plants with green leaves take root much faster. To accelerate the process in variegated forms, it is desirable to use "Heterouaxine" or "Kornevin."
Propagation by air layering
Variegated forms are recommended to be propagated with the help of air layers, cutting the stem of the ficus by a third and inserting a piece of glass into the cut. The incision site is wrapped in moist sphagnum and covered with polyethylene. After some time, the roots are formed, and the finished stalk should be cut and transplanted into the ground.
The name of the method of propagation from the leaf should not be taken literally. This method involves the use of a standard cuttings in the form of a part of the stem with one leaf.
You may also be interested in an article in which we talk about the ficus of Microcarp.
Rubber Ficus Diseases
Like a significant part of indoor plants, ficus elastica are susceptible to damage by insect pests, among which the most common are spider mites, scale insects and thrips. The scabbard from plants is removed with a damp sponge, and thrips and spider mites can be destroyed by spraying with a solution based on Fitoverma.
In addition, flower growers may encounter the appearance of diseases of various nature in ficus, which immediately make themselves felt with noticeable symptoms.
Leaves turn yellow
Insufficient lighting, as well as violation of the irrigation regime, causes yellowness of the leaves. It’s enough to correctly select a place for the plant and adjust the irrigation so that the Elastica regains its original decorative appearance.
Ficus discards leaves
The most likely cause of the problem may be waterlogging. Both inadequate and over-irrigation often cause leaf dropping. To save the plant, watering should be reduced and soil drainage improved.
Falling of the lower leaves is a natural process and does not require any treatment measures.
- Fungal infection Cercospora characterized by the appearance of small black spots on the leaves, which are eliminated by trimming and further processing with fungicide.
- Fungal infection Anthracnose characterized by the appearance of burn rust spots on the foliage and falling leaves. Treatment consists in pruning and further treatment with fungicide.
- Fungal infection Botritis characterized by the appearance of yellow or rusty spotting on the leaves of the ficus, which is eliminated by treatment with fungicide.
Ficus rubbery: transplant
Caring for ficus at home is not complicated. The leaves must be kept clean, for which periodically you need to wipe them with a damp sponge. This procedure refreshes the plant and restores the pristine gloss.