Ficus elastica, plant also known asficus robusta, rubber tree or rubber plant. Let's see together how to cultivate it and the care to devote to it.
Theficus elasticais an arboreal plant native to tropical wetlands. For the habitat of origin, you will understand that it needs a humid and temperate climate. In its natural habitat, theficus elastica manages to reach a height of more than 30 meters, rarely even 60 meters with a trunk with a diameter of 2 meters! Do not worry, the ficus elastica in potsit does not exceed 250 cm in height assuming an erect form.
It is also calledfig of rubberfor thewhite latexused for the production of thenatural rubber, same reason for which it is also calledrubber plant. To cultivate theficus elastica you will need:
- A humid climate.
So if the area is very ventilated and the air is dry, it will be necessary to nebulize the foliage. The splashes of water on the leaves must be frequent. It will be necessary to use distilled water (not calcareous like tap water).
- A temperate climate
It can be grown outdoors only in the summer season. In winter the pots must necessarily be placed in the shelter.
- Well-drained universal soil.
On the bottom of the pot, prepare a draining layer made of expanded clay or mix the universal soil with a few handfuls of sand, so as to improve the water flow.
The plant should be fertilized twice a month from spring to autumn. It is possible to fertilize once a year, in spring, with a slow release granular fertilizer. Organo-mineral based monthly fertilizations are however recommended to obtain colored leaves.
- Right exposure
The plant should be placed in a very bright location but not in direct sunlight.
Watering must be abundant, when kept indoors, the plant must be irrigated even in winter.
The plant can stand the cold but in some cases it can be grown in the ground.
TheCan ficus elastica be grown in the garden?
Yes, those who live in particularly mild areas can grow theficus elasticain the open ground. For example, in Sicily, Calabria, Puglia and some areas of Campania, the rubber tree can be successfully grown in the garden. Under favorable conditions, in the open ground, the rubber tree can exceed 6 meters in height, creating an angleexotic in the garden!
Ficus elastica with yellow leaves
You are probably doing something wrong in irrigation: if you give the plant tap water, you risk excessively increasing the pH of the soil. Better to irrigate the plant with distilled water. Even the improper use of fertilizers can cause leaf yellowing.
What if the Robusta ficus gets too tall?
If the ficus elastica or ficus robusta plant becomes too tall, you can take advantage of the opportunity to perform a multiplication by apical cuttings. In this way the mother plant will tend to thicken the stem and the cut area can be buried giving life to a second plant.
The first roots of the apical cutting will develop in about 2-3 weeks. The cutting can be rooted directly in the soil or you can use a substrate such as peat, coconut fiber or forest moss. Any substrate must be kept moist during the rooting period.
The use of a rooting hormone is recommended but not mandatory. Don't want to buy a rooting hormone but still want to speed up the rooting process? Then you have to understand how to prepare it at home! All information can be found on our page: DIY radical stimulant.
In practice, if theficus robustait becomestoo high, you can cut the top 25 cm of the plant (even a little more) and place the base of this cut branch in a rooting substrate. Wrap the cutting in a clear plastic bag to limit leaf transpiration and create a humid environment.
This technique is called "multiplication by apical cuttings" and has two purposes:
- Get a second plant officus elastica
- Change the growth of the mother plant
By cutting the apical area, in fact, you will have operated on a first onepruningwhich will allow the mother plant to thicken and produce lateral shoots, so as to grow with a real onesapling. The rubber plant, to become a real onerubber tree, must be severed!
Before placing the cutting in its rooting substrate, remove the base leaves. The plant can also multiply bylayeringacting in early summer.