Rubber ficus robusta is commonly used to create natural rubber, but many gardeners prefer to grow it for purely decorative purposes. He is not capricious and looks very dignified. It is also convenient that the height of most "home" copies does not exceed 60 centimeters.
Features and specifications
Ficus rubber-bearing robusta is a tall tree belonging to the genus Mulberry. The homeland of the plant is Indonesia and China, but in nature it is also found in Nepal, China and India. Robusta is the highest of the ficuses: some of its representatives reach a height exceeding the mark of 60 meters. The diameter of the stem can be several meters, and in room conditions, being much smaller, significantly branch. The ficus crown does not expand with age, but the roots can overtake the soil.
Elastic differs from its “relatives” in leaves - wide, wavy and shiny. The width of one leaf can exceed 20 centimeters, and the length can reach 40 centimeters. However, most often the length is in the range of 20 to 25 centimeters, and the width is 15 centimeters. Young plates sometimes form peculiar envelopes that fly around afterwards.
The edge of the leaf looks inward. If you touch it, you will feel a wax coating.
Parts of ficus change their color over time from red-green to pure emerald. The description of the leaflet also contains information that the shape of the plate is round, resembling an oval, but with a sharp tip looking down. Finally, the leaf has a clear red or green vein in the center and a short light petiole. On a green trunk, the leaves are arranged sequentially along its entire length.
How to choose?
It is better to postpone the acquisition of ficus in the spring or summer months - that is, the time of active growth of the plant. If the purchase takes place in the winter, then you should be prepared for the fact that the ficus will not be able to adapt to the new atmosphere. This is especially true for a beginner gardener who is not able to immediately provide the required levels of humidity and temperature, as well as to establish a care system. Choosing a robusta in the store, you will definitely have to carefully examine it. If strange leaves or traces of damage appear on leaves, stems or roots that are visible through the drainage holes, then the purchase should not be made.
It is right to choose fresh bushes recently brought to the store that have not stood there for too long. It is worth shaking the ficus - if many leaves leave it, then you should not take such a plant. Ideally, not a single sheet should fly off. An alternative to shaking is stroking the plant against the leaves. In addition to a general examination, you should check the robusta for a mealybug. Taking the ficus home, it will have to be carefully packed so as not to freeze.
Experts do not advise taking large mature specimens. The fact is that the older the plant, the more difficult it will be to adapt to a new environment. The roots of a healthy plant should not be black or dark brown. It is worth mentioning that often in stores, ficus leaves are rubbed with polish to achieve a beautiful shine that attracts buyers.
Upon reaching the house, the solution must be washed off, since its chemical composition clogs the mouth of the surface and interferes with normal gas exchange.
How to care?
Caring for ficus robusta at home is especially important immediately after purchase. The fact is that transferring a plant to a different atmosphere, a different microclimate is a stressful situation. Therefore, for the time of adaptation, the ficus will have to be kept separate from other plants in a room with good lighting, but where direct streams of light do not fall, as well as observing the watering regime. In general, robusta feels pretty good even on the windowsills of the windows looking north, so it can be placed in a shaded place next to the loggia or windows.
Ficus robusta can not be planted next to the battery , since exposure to hot air leads to an acceleration of evaporation processes, which means that the bush may well get burned. In the off-season, that is, in autumn and spring, it would be nice to move the plant to the loggia. In summer, if possible, it is even allowed to be taken out into the street in case of sufficient exposure to sunlight.
As for the temperature, the bush feels good in the range from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius, that is, at normal room temperature. Smaller or greater degrees already negatively affect the development of culture, for example, the leaves begin to fall off. If we compare the flowering of domestic ficus with what is happening in the wild, we can say that it passes almost imperceptibly.
The sizes of both fruits and flowers of a beautiful green hue do not reach the mark of 1 centimeter. Humidity should reach at least 50% . If in winter such an indicator cannot be obtained naturally, then you should either introduce regular spraying, or install a humidifier in the room.
Ficus robusta prefers a soil mixture filled with useful elements: minerals and salts. Experts recommend purchasing ready-made soil in the store, making sure that it has good air permeability. Plant the bush correctly in a rather large pot, and then transplant in addition every year. As fertilizers, it is more convenient to take ready-made complex solutions having a large amount of nitrogen in their composition. By the way, mature ficus is almost impossible to transplant, so they just regularly change the topsoil.
Most of the fertilizers for ficus are applied while it is actively growing, that is, from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn. At this time, top dressing is planned every 2 weeks. Experts recommend giving preference to such proven compounds as “Ideal”, “Gumisol” and “Palma”. Foliar top dressing is also not forbidden.
It is important to irrigate ficus robusta regularly and in large quantities. Of course, at the same time, it is categorically not recommended to be poured into it - excess fluid will lead to decay of the root system, as well as an increase in soil acidity. It will be possible to prevent trouble by organizing a drainage system, the manufacture of which will require either a composite or pebble stones. It is important to let the soil dry before carrying out the next watering.
In principle, a good solution would be to drain the remaining water from the pan after the ficus has absorbed the amount of moisture it needs. This preventive measure will protect the bush from mold. In the warm season, ficus is watered every 3 days, and in the cold season it will be enough once every 5 days.
Ficus robusta is more susceptible to disease than pests. Sometimes spider mites are found on large leaves, but getting rid of them does not require special measures - it is enough to rinse the bush with cold water without touching the soil, and then wipe the leaves on both sides with moistened napkins. As for diseases, their main causes are improper care of the crop or some kind of stressful situation, for example, a transplant. As a result, the leaves of the ficus fall off or change color, and the stem slows down its development. By the way, the disease may be "delayed" - its symptoms will appear only after a few months.
Falling or yellowing leaves may indicate a draft or insufficient irrigation. Brown spots on the leaves are due to excessive watering. For the same reason, rotting of the root system is also manifested, accompanied by an unpleasant odor. When the robusta drops the leaves very sharply, at a time, this indicates that the plant is in critical condition, immediate intervention is required. Sometimes crown decay occurs due to very dry air.
It is not necessary for the gardener to form a crown for the ficus robusta. At home, a plant is usually given the opportunity to grow in the same way as it would in nature. If the lateral stems are poorly developed, then you can cut off the top of the bush to stimulate them. If the desire to create an unusual crown is still present, then it is better to do it at the junction of February and March, when the ficus is preparing for active growth. The basic rule of crown formation is to trim 7 centimeters higher than required.
Thin stems are cut at a right angle, and the trunk will have to be processed diagonally. Be careful with the main shoot, because shortening it will lead to the cessation of the development of the trunk of the bush. A knife or other used tool must be treated with fire or alcohol tincture. In addition, it is important to rinse it with a damp sponge at the end of the procedure, since robusta secretes toxic juice, which is dangerous for the skin and mucous membrane of the human body. A less traumatic way of forming a crown is to bend and fix the apex or to pierce new shoots to a certain depth.
How to propagate?
It is customary to propagate the plant with the help of cuttings, which are formed, as a rule, from the stems remaining after the formation of the crown. For this purpose, those parts of the ficus on which at least 3 leaves have already grown have to be taken. Before planting the cuttings in a pot, he will have to stand for a sufficient time in the water until the allocation of poisonous juice stops. After that, the liquid is drained and replaced with a new one, enriched with a growth stimulator. The stalk remains in it until the roots appear. Once in the fertile soil, the shoot will be forced to "live" in the greenhouse.
This item is either purchased in a specialized store or created from improvised materials, for example, cut plastic bottles, cans of glass or other material capable of transmitting light rays.
Important! Ficus robusta can also be propagated by seeds, cuttings of two types and leaf processes.
About what features exist in ficus robusta, see below.