Ficus rubrum is a species of the genus Ficus from the Mulberry family. It is originally cultivated in north-eastern India and in the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java. The plant gets its name from its thick juice, which contains large quantities of rubber that is used in rubber production. The ficus is revered by Buddhists as a sacred plant in wilderness areas. In home gardening, Ficus rubberii and its cultivars are the most common species from the genus.
Information about the rubber plant
In the nature, the rubber-bearing ficus sometimes grows up to 30 metres in height. It is also expanded by its aerial roots, which grow from the trunk and branches down to the ground and into the soil, providing the plant with nutrition and giving it the shape known as the ‘banyan tree’. Due to its many winding aerial roots, the natives call it the ‘snake tree’. The large, dark green, leathery leaves of the ficus are elliptical in shape and tapered at the apex. The young leaves are wrapped with reddish-brown leafstalks, which quickly dry out and fall off as soon as the leaves unfurl. The flowers of the Ficus rubberii don’t have any aesthetic value, and they will only appear as a result of pollination by certain insects, which is problematic when it is grown indoors. Ficus can blossom only at a mature age in a spacious conservatory. The fruits are ball-shaped syconiae about 1 cm in diameter, resembling small, inedible figs. In the Not so long ago, the milky sap of the Ficus rubberii was the reason for the mass cultivation of the plant to produce a rubber. The juice can cause irritation, allergies and dermatitis when it contacts the skin, as it contains enzymes and alkaloids in addition to latex. But for the plant itself, the sap is a way to heal wounds and cuts caused by humans or animals.
Rubber plant care in pots
The rubber-bearing ficus seldom grows taller than two metres at home, but this does not mean it grows slowly – with proper care and favourable conditions it can grow 40-45 cm a year and you can always trim it back if it starts to grow towards the ceiling. The trunk of the Rubbermoss Ficus under home cultivation rarely produces lateral shoots. Ficus rubberii is particularly easy to care for, and so it is very easily purchased by people who are just starting to arrange their house greenery or those who don’t want to put too much effort into taking care of their houseplants. Can rubber plants live outside?
How often do you water a rubber plant?
How do you water a rubber plant? Can you bottom water a rubber plant? Do rubber plants like to dry out between watering? The soil in the ficus pot should be moistened as the top layer dries out. The plant is usually watered just once or twice a week during the warmer months and no more often than once a week during the winter. More watering can cause the leaves of the ficus to fall off. Excess of water should be poured out of the tray.
Can rubber plants live in low light?
Does rubber plant need sunlight? Ficus is a very light-loving plant, but it prefers the diffused light. Direct, bright sunlight can cause burns of the leaves. If the container with the plant is kept in the semi-shade, the growth is slightly retarded. Under these conditions, the ficus can shed its lower leaves. The variegated plants need more light. They lose their colour in the shade.
How wet should the soil be for a rubber plant?
Do rubber plants need deep pots? What position do rubber plants like? For healthy growth of the ficus, a mixture of peat, turf, river sand and leaf soil is suitable. Specialised ficus soils can also be used, but it is advisable to add sand to the soil. Before planting, a drainage layer about 4 cm should be placed in the bottom of the container. The shrub should be moved using a transfer and the empty spaces filled with the fresh soil.
Is succulent soil good for rubber plant?
It is recommended that the ficus be sprayed periodically with room water to raise its humidity level and that the plant should be wiped every couple of weeks with a damp cloth soaked in filtered or standing water. This will help to prevent the tips of the leaves from drying out. The ficus can also be bathed monthly by covering the soil of the pot to prevent it from getting wet. In winter you should not spray and just try to keep the ficus away from the radiators. The leaves should be kept cleaned in the same way.
Do rubber plants need warmth?
What conditions do rubber plants like? In spring and summer, the elastica is kept at the usual room temperature of +20-25 °C. Small periods of higher temperatures are not a problem as well. On warmer days, you can take the pot out into the loggia or veranda. It is good if the ficus can spend the winter in a cooler place, but it shouldn’t be less than +15 degrees. Lower temperatures can harm the flower. The ficus should also be protected from draughts. A combination of draught and damp soil can cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off. If the plant stands in a cool place, the pot can be insulated with a styrofoam base.
How to care for Rubber flower at home?
The plant should be fertilised from April to September every fortnight with a diluted liquid fertiliser. During the growing season, the ficus grows quickly and a new leaf appears about once a week. Ficus can grow 0.5 to 1 metre in height per year. To limit growth, cut back the top of the plant to a height of 1.5 metres. When the lateral shoots have regrown (after about 2 years), they will also be cut back to form the crown of the plant. The milky sap that is secreted during pruning should be wiped away.
How to cultivate the Ficus
The cuttings and pieces of stem remaining after the cutting can be used for propagation. To do this, wash them with warm water to remove the milky sap and dry them out for about an hour.
To form roots, the cuttings and stem pieces are placed in a dark container with water or planted directly into the substrate. The substrate can be made from a mixture of sand and peat.
After 3-4 weeks, the cuttings will have roots and new leaves. These cuttings can be replanted in small containers for further development. Is rubber plant indoor or outdoor?
What are the pests of rubber flower?
The main pest of the ficus is the scale. A sticky substance on the leaves and the smell of rot are the main symptoms of its appearance. Thrips, spider mites and powdery mildew can also damage the plant. The main harm caused by most parasitic insects is that they suck the sap out of the plant and leave a brown or brown coating on the leaves. Thrips carry dangerous diseases.