Ficus elastica - the rubber fig - is a species of plant in the fig genus native to east India.
It is now grown around the world as houseplant or an ornamental plant, outside in frost-free climates from the tropical to the Mediterranean and inside in colder climates. It prefers bright sunlight but not hot temperatures, has a high tolerance for drought but prefers humidity and thrives in wet, tropical conditions. Many hybrids exist, often with variegated leaves.
Sowing & planting
60 - 300
Identify my rubber fig
Ficus are a genus in the family Moraceae including trees, shrubs or lianas.
Ficus in Latin is the fig tree, but this one, the rubber ficus, produces latex!
The large, alternate, oval, shiny, leathery, whole-margin leaves are 10 to 35 cm long and 5 to 15 cm wide. The leaves develop inside an apical meristem sheath, which grows as the new leaf grows. When it reaches its full development, it unfolds and the sheath falls.
Inside the new leaf, another immature leaf is waiting for development.
Plant my rubber fig
Ficus elastica likes warm and rather dry atmospheres: it adapts rather well inside our houses and our apartments. It needs light during the winter, so place it near a window. It hates drafts, temperature changes, and doesn't likes being moved!
Avoid tanks with water reserve: the roots of ficus do not support to be constantly in the water.
Water my rubber fig
As soon as the soil becomes dry on one centimeter, water so as to moisten all of it. During the growth period (spring, summer), watering should be regular - once or twice a week - but measured in order not to asphyxiate the roots of plants. In the fall, space the waterings gently, until winter when a simple influx of water once a month should suffice.
Spray my rubber fig
In dry weather, spray your ficus with water not too hard, clean the dust on the leaves: it will be all the more beautiful and you will protect it from red spiders - its main enemy!
Prune my rubber fig
A pruning which is simple and will give a boost to your ficus, forcing it multiply its branches!
At the beginning of spring, when you notice the beginning of the vegetation growth, equip yourself with a good pruner, scissors, a pair of gloves and - tip! - a tarp or an old cloth: it will serve to protect the floor, because the ficus produces a sticky white sap, the latex, and will also help to collect the leaves.
Latex is a good thing: it will protect the cuts of diseases! Operate a simple spring refresh to grow, or eliminate more bare or dry branches - your ficus will enjoy it!
Fertilize my rubber fig
In summer, add liquid fertilizer for green plants every 2 weeks. You can also add slow release fertilizer pellets to the soil mix when planting or repotting. Stop all fertilizer treatments at the end of summer.
Repot my rubber fig
Every three or four years, at the end of winter, repot your ficus!
You can also repot your ficus when you purchase it, especially if the pot falls or tips too easily. That's a sign your ficus cramped for room!
Choose a large clay pot, approximately 5cm larger than the original, with heavy, thick walls to help your plant balance. Ficus benjamina has a very high centre of gravity and tends to lean and tip over.
Thoroughly spray down the original pot and place any leftover stones, clay pellets and drainage rocks in the bottom of the new pot. Mix potting soil for green plants with a little jardin soil, and fill a a third of the pot.
Remove the ficus from its pot. If the pot is stuck, you can cut it with shears or pruners.
Clean off the roots, place the root ball on the potting soil mixture and cover with more potting soil.
Tamp the soil firmly, and finish by watering!
The next water can be down in one week. Let your ficus dry a little so it can lay down it's roots.
Propagate my rubber fig
There isn't really a specific season to take a cutting from you ficus!
Using sharp pruners, cut a section of healthy branch at a 45 degree angle, then remove the oldest leaves and keep only the four or five newest leaves at the tip. Finally, soak the cutting in a glass of water and leave it in a warm room.
Change the water regularly. It will only take a few weeks before you see roots appearing at the cut end of the stem.
When you're confident that there are enough healthy new roots, you may plant the cutting in a light substrate.
Check on my rubber fig
The ficus are very sensitive to mealybugs, small brown insects often present in large numbers on the leaves.
You can also see white felting on the back of the leaves. To fight against mealybugs, simply clean the affected leaves by passing a cotton swab above: the mealybugs will hang on it.