Ficus rubbery (elastica)
Ficus elastica, or rubbery ficus is a species of the genus Ficus of the Mulberry family. This plant comes from the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, and also from the northeastern part of India. This ficus was named rubbery because it has a thick juice, which contains a lot of rubber used for the production of rubber. In the homeland of the elastic ficus by Buddhists, it is revered as a sacred plant. Of all the species included in the genus ficus, this species, as well as its cultivars, is most popular with flower growers. However, in the twentieth century, many flower growers considered this plant a blatant symbol of bad taste, and they forgot about it for a long time. However, thanks to Dutch growers in recent years, this beautiful and unpretentious plant has become popular again.
Brief description of cultivation
- Bloom... It is grown as an ornamental deciduous plant.
- Illumination... Can be grown in light shade or in bright, diffused light.
- Temperature regime... During the growing season - from 20 to 25 degrees, and in winter - no colder than 15 degrees.
- Watering... In the warm season - 1 or 2 times in 7 days, and in winter - once a week.
- Air humidity... Should be elevated. In the spring and summer, the bush must be systematically moistened from a sprayer. Dust from foliage is removed with a damp soft cloth.
- Fertilizer... Ficus is fed 1 time in 15 days from April to September. For this, organic matter and mineral fertilizers with a high nitrogen content are used alternately.
- Dormant period... In October – March.
- Transfer... A young plant needs frequent replanting, which is carried out every year in the spring or in the first summer weeks. More mature bushes are subjected to this procedure 1 time in 2 or 3 years. If the bush is already old, then it is not transplanted, but only the top layer of the soil mixture is replaced annually.
- Reproduction... Layering and cuttings.
- Harmful insects... Aphids, nematodes, scale insects, thrips, mealybugs, yellow and red spider mites.
- Diseases... Root rot, black fungus, cercospora, anthracnose and botrytis.
- Properties... The juice of this plant contains poisonous substances.
Features of rubber ficus
Under natural conditions, rubber ficus in height can reach about 30 m.It can also grow very wide in width, the fact is that it has aerial roots, they descend from the branches and tree trunk to the surface of the soil and grow into the ground. Thus, they supply the ficus with additional nutrients, and also give it a shape that is called "banyan tree". Since it has a lot of winding aerial roots, the locals nicknamed it "the snake tree". Alternate large leathery leaf plates of dark green color have an elliptical shape, which has a pointed tip at the top. Young leaf plates are wrapped in brownish-red stipules, which dry out very quickly and fly around, immediately after the leaves open. The flowers of this plant are inconspicuous and do not represent any decorative value, however, they are formed only when the bush is pollinated by certain insects, and when grown indoors, this is quite problematic. In this regard, only an adult bush can bloom, which grows in a fairly spacious winter garden. The fruits are spherical syconia, reaching up to 10 mm in diameter, outwardly they are similar to small inedible figs.
More recently, such a ficus was massively grown to obtain rubber from its milky juice. If ficus juice gets on the skin, it can cause an allergic reaction, irritation or dermatitis, since it contains alkaloids and enzymes in addition to latex. If cuts or wounds appear on the ficus due to animals or humans, then this labeled juice will help them heal very quickly. The height of indoor ficus rarely exceeds 200 centimeters. However, it is not a slow-growing plant, so, in 1 year, under favorable conditions, the bush can add from 0.4 to 0.45 m in height.If it grows to the ceiling, then it can be cut off. In most cases, when growing ficus in indoor conditions, its trunk does not give side shoots.
Unpretentious indoor plants: Ficus rubber
Caring for ficus rubber at home
Ficus rubber belongs to light-loving plants, so the light should be bright, but always diffused, since the direct rays of the sun can harm it. For him, you can choose a place in a little shading, but in this case his growth and development will be slower, while be prepared for the fact that the lower foliage will fly around him.
In the spring-summer period, the bush grows best at an indoor temperature of 20 to 25 degrees. A short-term temperature rise of up to 30 degrees will not do much harm to him. In winter, it is recommended to move it to a cool place, but make sure that the air temperature does not drop below 15 degrees.
Watering and humidity
It is necessary to moisten the soil mixture in the pot only when the top layer dries out by about 2 fingers in depth. On average, in the spring-summer period, watering is carried out 1 or 2 times in 7 days, and in the cold season - once a week. If watering is more frequent, then this can cause the foliage to fly around.
In spring and summer, to increase the level of air humidity, the foliage is systematically sprayed with warm water from a spray bottle, and it is also washed once every half a month with a moistened soft cloth. And once every 30 days, it is advisable to arrange a warm shower for the ficus, while the substrate in the pot must be protected from water by covering it with a film. In winter, it is not recommended to moisten the foliage; instead, it is wiped with a damp swab and removed away from working heating appliances.
In order for the bush to grow and develop within normal limits, it needs to be fed regularly from April to September once every 15 days. For this, it is recommended to alternately use liquid organic matter and mineral fertilizers with a high nitrogen content. For example, after watering, a solution of Nitrofoska can be poured under the plant (for 1 liter of water ½ tsp of the substance), and after half a month it is fed with mullein infusion, also after watering. Do not let the nutrient mixture get on the surface of the growth buds or foliage. It is impossible to polish the sheet plates with chemical agents; in extreme cases, you can use non-alcoholic beer for this.
Transplant of rubber ficus
While the bush is young, it needs an annual transplant, which is carried out in the spring months or in the first summer weeks. An adult bush is transplanted only when absolutely necessary, after its root system becomes very cramped in the container (on average, once every 2 or 3 years). A sign that the soil mixture is depleted and must be replaced with a fresh one is that, after watering, the liquid flows excessively quickly into the sump.
When choosing a new pot, you need to take into account that it should be 50-60 mm deeper and 40-50 mm larger in diameter compared to the old one. If the plant is very old, then during transplantation it can be severely damaged, which will lead to its death. In this regard, experienced flower growers advise not to bother such a ficus with transplants, but simply regularly, once a year, they change the top layer of soil mixture with a thickness of 30 mm to a fresh one. The composition of an earthen mixture suitable for growing ficus should include peat, leaf and sod soil, as well as river sand (1: 1: 1: 1). If desired, you can purchase ready-made soil mixture for ficus. A universal soil mixture is also suitable for transplanting, but it will be necessary to add a small amount of river sand to it.
Pour a good layer of drainage into the pot, and then carefully remove the flower along with the earthen ball from the old container and transfer it into a new one. Fill all voids with fresh earth mixture so that the pot is full.
Ficus transplant at home Part 1
Pruning is needed in order to restrain the growth of the bush, as well as to increase the amount of foliage, because over the years, the lower leaf plates begin to fly around. Often, beginner growers, wanting their ficus to branch, cut off the top of it. However, it does not start branching from this; at best, one of the upper buds located on the trunk awakens in it. To achieve more, it is recommended to trim 5–6 internodes. In an overly rapidly stretched bush, you can cut off the upper part, root it for a start, and then plant it in the same container. When the stems reach their maximum height, from your point of view, they will need to be cut again. Pruning should be carried out in early spring, otherwise the lateral buds will not wake up, but the highest point of growth will begin to grow again. Cut the plant with a very sharp, pre-disinfected blade. The milky juice that will stand out after cutting must be removed with running water.
If you want your house to be decorated with a lush ficus bush, then several plants are planted in one container at once. For its cultivation, a slightly shaded place is chosen, while the bush is systematically rotated around its axis, this is necessary so that the stems do not bend, as they begin to reach for the light source. If you have planted only one plant in a pot and want to make it more luxuriant, then try to wake up the sleeping buds on the stem by pruning (how to do this is described in more detail above). Also, to increase the splendor of the plant, some 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 below.
The upper part of the young bush is tilted down to the maximum, after which it must be fixed. The kidney, which turned out to be higher than all the others, awakens and gives a lateral shoot. As soon as this happens, the flower is returned to its normal position.
How to form rubber ficus
Reproduction of rubber ficus by cuttings is one of the most effective and simple ways. Cut obliquely the apical or stem cutting, the height of which should be from 10 to 15 centimeters. All leaf plates are cut off from him, leaving only 1–2 top leaves. Wash off the milky juice from it; for this, the stalk is kept under running water until its release stops. Root it in a container of water. Those leaf plates that remain are rolled up with a tube to reduce the area of evaporation of moisture, and so that they do not unfold, rubber bands are put on them. However, cuttings give roots best when rooting in a soil mixture, but in this case, they must be covered with a transparent plastic bag on top.
As a rule, cuttings cut from a green-leaved variety of rubber ficus give roots very quickly, and there are no problems with them. If you took a cutting from a variegated ficus variety, then before planting for rooting, the cut site must be anointed with heteroauxin or root. They are planted in mini-greenhouses with bottom heating. However, you need to be prepared for the fact that such cuttings will not take root.
REPRODUCTION OF FICUS HOUSE! FULL CYCLE FROM A to Z!
Propagation by air layers
Variegated ficus forms are best propagated by air layers. Make an incision on the trunk, the depth of which should be equal to 1/3 of its thickness. To prevent the edges of the cut from closing, place a match in it. This place on the trunk should be wrapped with moistened sphagnum, which is wrapped on top with polyethylene, ordinary tape is used to fix it. After roots are formed at the site of the cut (you can see this through a transparent film), the shoot is cut below the cut with roots and planted in a separate pot.
This breeding method is used extremely rarely, and besides, it is untested (that is, there is no evidence that this method is really effective). If the cut leaf plate is put for rooting in a container with water, then after a while its roots will grow. And after it is planted in the substrate, after a month, a year, two years, this leaf plate will show off in your pot, because it is not able to give shoots.
Diseases and pests
Rubbery ficus is distinguished by a relatively high resistance to both various diseases and harmful insects. However, very rarely spider mites or scale insects settle on it. If this happens, then it will be necessary to rinse the foliage with an infusion of tobacco dust, for the preparation of which 1 liter of water and 4 tbsp. dust, a small amount of soap is also added to the mixture. A couple of hours after applying the solution to the foliage, it is washed with clean water. If scale insects have settled on the bush, then before processing, try to remove all pests from it, for this use a regular cotton swab. And remember that those plants whose leaf plates are kept clean cannot suffer from pests, as they bypass them.
Due to improper care or inappropriate keeping conditions with a flower, the following problems may arise:
- Foliage flies... If only the lower leaf plates fall off, then there is no need to worry, because this is a completely natural process associated with the aging of the plant. If not only the lower foliage dies, then the reason for this may be the drying out of the clod of earth in the pot, too frequent watering, poor lighting, a sharp change in temperature or a cold draft.
- Yellow foliage... As a rule, leaf plates first turn yellow and then die off and fall off. Therefore, see the reasons for yellowing foliage above. However, foliage can also change its color to yellow due to the fact that there are a lot of nutrients in the soil mixture. In this case, rinsing of the substrate is recommended, for this, by means of top watering, such a volume of water is poured into the container, which could fill 3 such empty flower pots in which the ficus grows. After washing, feeding is suspended for 8 weeks. Also, yellowing may be due to the fact that the soil mixture contains a lot of salts, in this case, only transplanting a flower into a fresh substrate will help to correct the situation. The leaves also turn yellow when the ficus grows in an excessively large container, in which case it must be transplanted into a new pot of smaller volume. Also, yellow leaves can be a sign that rot has appeared on the roots. If you smell the soil mixture, then it will smell like rot. In this case, it is necessary to pull the bush out of the container, free its root system from the ground, cut out all decayed areas, after which it is planted in a fresh substrate. However, there are times when a decayed plant cannot be saved.
- The bush does not grow... This may be due to the fact that the ficus is experiencing an acute lack of nutrients, it does not have enough light, or its root system is very cramped in the pot. If you correct the existing mistakes, then the bush will begin to actively grow again.
Rubbery ficus: benefits and harms
Rubbery ficus is able to 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, Ayurveda adherents are confident that this plant is capable of absorbing the fluids of anxiety and anger, thereby purifying the energy of the room. Hindus say that if a childless couple, who has long dreamed of children, decorates their home with ficus, then soon they will have a baby.
Also, rubbery ficus has medicinal properties that are used in medicine. Means made from its juice and foliage are used to treat mastopathy, as well as to prevent cancer. Also, such drugs are used during the treatment of fibroids and uterine fibroids. Compresses are prepared from the juice, which are used for radiculitis, hemorrhoids, arthritis and osteochondrosis. Asthmatics need to be very careful with this plant, because it releases rubber into the air, which can cause a choking attack.
Ficus rubber care and reproduction
Basic principles of caring for rubber ficus
The rubber ficus has earned its demand due to its relative unpretentiousness to growing conditions and undemanding care. This well-known representative of the Mulberry family is distinguished by a high content of rubber in milky juice - elastic mass, which is the main source of raw materials for the manufacture of rubber products. To get a luxurious plant with bright green leaves, you need to know the basic rules of agricultural technology and be able to recognize the first signs of damage to a flower by diseases and parasitic insects.
Types of ficuses (photo with names)
The most popular tree variety is up to 2 meters tall with small leaves and drooping branches. The edges of the leaves can be either even or wavy, and the leaves themselves can curl. This species does not like to change its place of residence. Ficus Benjamin does not like both waterlogging and drying out of the soil. The plant tolerates shearing well, which allows it to form a crown of the desired shape. This variety is characterized by the formation of aerial roots, as they grow, beautiful weaves can be formed from them, which makes the tree even more decorative.
The most common and unpretentious type of ficus. It cleans the air well in the room and saturates it with oxygen. This name is due to the fact that its milky juice contains rubber used for the production of rubber. It is recommended to cut off the crown of an adult plant, then the plant will be more "lush". So that the ficus does not lose foliage, it is impossible to allow waterlogging of the soil, a sharp change in temperature, an excess of fertilizers. If the ficus likes the conditions, it will give 1 new leaf every week. In winter, a period of rest. Drizzle with warm water.
A ficus leaf can grow up to 50 cm, therefore it has impressive dimensions and requires a lot of space. Loves diffused bright light and moderate temperature. In winter - cool content at a temperature of 12-15 °. We water it with warm water, but the ground should not be constantly wet; overdrying is required between waterings. The flower is transplanted when the pot is completely filled with the root system.
The evergreen tree has long narrow drooping leaves and grows fairly quickly. Ficus Ali is thermophilic and does not tolerate cold and drafts at all. You can propagate by cuttings, which take root without problems.
An adult ficus grows as a lush bush with many aerial roots. In home care, ficus is thermophilic and loves spraying. Should be getting enough light. If he likes the conditions, it builds up a large mass of aerial roots. Often cultivated as bonsai. It is a slow-growing species.
The flower is very fond of warmth and water. Even short-term drying of the soil is unacceptable, the plant may die from this. This type of ficus also does not tolerate dry air. It is best kept in a small aquarium or greenhouse where humidity is easy to maintain. Does not tolerate the sun's rays. Grows well in bright ambient light or artificial light.
Small-leaved ficus, which is also called tiny ficus. Can be grown as a creeping and climbing plant. Thin shoots can grow up to 5 meters in length. and grows to the soil with adventitious roots. The leaves grow in the form of 2.5 cm hearts with corrugated edges. The plant does not tolerate direct sun. Shoot growth is accelerated in a warm room with high humidity.
Differs in the original shape of the barrel in the form of a bottle. Such an unusual "design" is necessary for the plant in order to accumulate moisture and be able to withstand prolonged drought. In the spring, the transition to normal watering should be smooth. In summer, plants are watered abundantly, but not too often. A light-loving plant that tastes bright diffused light.
Figs are also called fig, fig tree, wine berry. Has an edible fruit. The recommended temperature for germination of ficus seeds is 25 - 27 degrees. At the same time, daily ventilation and soil moistening are required as necessary by spraying. A plant grown from seeds bears fruit only for 4-5 years, in contrast to plants obtained by cuttings, which can begin to bear fruit in the second year. Fig is a light-loving plant.
The most famous ancient specimen is supposedly about 3 thousand years old. In nature, it grows up to 30 meters and, with age, overgrows with aerial roots that form supports. It is deciduous. In culture, it can hardly tolerate dry air and heat. Can shed leaves in such conditions. The sacred ficus is able to predict weather changes, forming droplets of moisture on the leaves when atmospheric pressure changes.
The tree is constantly expanding in breadth, constantly forming additional trunks. When kept indoors, the growth of the banyan tree must be inhibited by periodic pruning and keeping in a cramped pot. It can propagate by cuttings and air layers. Dislikes temperature changes and drafts. Watering is plentiful and regular in all seasons, since this ficus does not have a period of weakening growth.
Lyre ficus is a favorite of flower growers. It has the largest leaves of all popular varieties.
A tall ornamental plant is a great way to landscaping an interior.
In total, about 40 species of ficuses are known in culture, of which the most widespread in recent years has received ficus benjamin and its variegated hybrids, although it is not easy to grow, as it reacts capriciously to any trouble, completely shedding its foliage. However, there are several types of ficuses that are no less decorative, but at the same time much more unpretentious to care for.
One of the hybrids of the ficus Benjamin
Is it poisonous?
In the stem and leaves of the plant, there is a white liquid that contains isoprene. If a wound appears, then it must be treated with a mixture of paraffin and oil, then wrapped with a bandage. Crushed activated carbon can also be added.
With all accuracy, we can say that the plant is poisonous. There is a white thick sap all over the flower, which is poisonous. In the case when the juice gets on the skin, eyes or stomach, symptoms such as rash, hives are observed. And irritation and burning also appear.
If the juice gets on the mucous membrane of the eyes, then a burn and even deterioration of vision is possible. If vision begins to deteriorate rapidly, then urgent hospitalization will be required. A burn can also form on the skin, but to prevent this, it must be washed with running water and soap. If the juice suddenly gets into the stomach, signs of acute poisoning may appear. They are manifested by diarrhea, nausea, migraine, convulsions. Therefore, it is urgent to rinse the stomach, drink an absorbent and call a doctor.
In rare, especially severe cases, the owner of such a flower may fall into a coma. This flower is a great threat to children, women in position and pets. If someone in the house suffers from severe allergies, including asthma, then you should not start a ficus.
This will prevent the onset of an attack of the disease.
However, rubber ficus also has useful properties. It actively cleans the air from poisonous gases, converting them into hydrocarbons. Medicines made from foliage and juice treat diseases of the breast, and it is also used for cancer, benign tumors. Even with its juice, you can do dressings for joint diseases and hemorrhoids.
The ancient Indians believed that the plant absorbs all negative energy. In addition, it was believed that the ficus will help the child appear, which the future parents have been waiting for so long.
It is easy to properly care for a ficus if you follow a few important rules.
A representative of exotic flora prefers a large amount of diffused light, negatively regarding the open sun, which can harm the plant. If it is not possible to place a flower near windows of the eastern or western directions, the pot can be installed in partial shade, where the growth of the ficus will differ in average intensity, and the lower part of the stem will quickly become bare.
Caution! When landscaping an apartment, you should not place a flower in places where there are drafts.
When ensuring the appropriate temperature regime, it is necessary to focus on the following optimal indicators:
- During the intensive growing season, temperature values vary between 20-25 ° C.
- In winter, the temperature regime is reduced, taking into account the maximum permissible mark of the mercury column of 15 ° C, below which cooling is not allowed.
Ficus rubber fully develops on well-drained soil with a loose structure. A florist can prepare it independently from leaf, turf and peat soils with the addition of coarse sand in equal proportions. If desired, a ficus growing medium can be purchased at a flower shop.
Watering and humidity
The soil is moistened as the earthen coma dries up: in summer, the procedure is carried out three times a week, and in winter - weekly. With excessive watering, there is a risk of the flower dropping leaves. The increased air humidity is organized by regular spraying, which in winter is replaced by wiping the leaf plates with a damp sponge. All water procedures are carried out with separated water at room temperature.
In order to admire a healthy, spectacular ficus, twice a month during the period of active growth, fertilizing with liquid complex fertilizers is carried out, which necessarily include nitrogen.
Cropping and shaping the crown
Pruning of rubber ficus is carried out in early spring to keep the plant in dimensions acceptable to the grower. Trimming the tops in order to ensure branching is not carried out, since, as a rule, one of the upper growth points awakens. To stimulate the awakening of the lateral buds, the stem must be cut to a height of 5-6 internodes.