The ficus elastica, also commonly called robust ficus, is one of the most common large houseplants that can be found. Popular for its large, glossy, dark green leaves, it is a very easy-care, fast-growing species when grown under the right conditions. What not so many people know is that the ficus elastica is actually a large tree from tropical Asia, and that in similar climates and with enough time, it can reach truly impressive sizes.
If you want to learn more about the ficus elastica carekeep reading us in this EcologíaVerde article in which you will see a practical and complete guide.
Characteristics of ficus elastica
This tree native to the indian rain forests It is a perennial species, well known for the striking green of its leaves with a leathery texture. In Mediterranean climates it tends to grow to 10 or 15 meters tall, although in its original habitat over 30. Its trunk is grayish in color and smooth in texture when the tree is young, wrinkling and fissuring as it ages. Its roots are far-reaching and extensive, though shallow.
Despite this, it is a very popular species in its cultivation as houseplant, logically reaching much smaller sizes when grown in a pot. Here you can learn more Types of large indoor plants. In addition, here you can see the different types of ficus, with large and small leaves.
Location and light for the ficus elastica
This plant requires a environment as bright as possible, and it is that the ficus robusta or elastica loves the light. It even tolerates direct exposure to the sun without problems for a few hours a day, as long as it is not in the midday hours and in very hot climates, where the sun is especially intense.
This point is the most important, because if you plan to grow your ficus elastica indoors and you don’t have a bright place for it, it will end up losing its leaves, suffering and withering. If you cannot dedicate a space as bright as you should and have to settle for a location next to the window, turning the pot once a week will help all the leaves receive enough sunlight and regularize their growth and development.
Climate for ficus elastica
The ficus robusta or ficus elastica grows very well in both tropical and Mediterranean climates. The important thing here is really do not expose it to frostas it does not tolerate temperatures below 0 ºC, and it does not even tolerate temperatures that approach this point well unless it is very acclimatized.
With high temperatures there is no problem, as long as do not expose it to sudden temperature changes. If you have it in a pot, and there is a big difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the house, do not move it suddenly from one to the other or its leaves will drop in response to the sudden change.
Irrigation for ficus elastica
The other great key point in the care of this ficus is irrigation. In this case, the most important thing is not to overdo it: always try to do not water until the substrate has almost completely dried Since last time. Despite being a tropical plant, these little trees cannot stand excess water and excessive watering is a guarantee that problems with fungi will end up appearing.
The first symptom of excessive irrigation in the ficus is that the lower leaves seem to turn yellow and fall or are weakened. If you see this, immediately reduce your risks. It is also especially important for this to have a container with good drainage holes.
Being tropical, a little environmental humidity is also good for it, for this you can spray water around it and take advantage of it to clean its leaves. Never do it when the sun is giving it, wait for the night.
In this other guide you can learn more about when to water plants.
Soil and substrate for ficus elastica
This plant, which stands out for its rusticity as long as its necessary conditions of low humidity and good light are maintained, is not demanding in terms of the substrate in which it grows. In this sense, the most important thing will be to prepare one light and with good drainage, for which universal peat mixed with coconut fiber or with a good addition of vermiculite and perlite will suffice. If you want, yes, you can give it a good supply of earthworm humus or compost, which the plant will always appreciate.
Other tips for caring for a ficus elastica
To finish, we give you more tips to take care of the ficus robusta or elastica as best as possible:
- If your ficus branches very little, you can always pinch it and stimulate the appearance of new branches, activating the buds close to the cutting point. Remember to always use sharp and sterilized tools. Also, here we tell you how to prune a ficus.
- It is also recommended use tutors if the plant seems to be having trouble keeping its stem upright due to the heavy weight of its leaves, which is very likely to be the case.
- It is advisable clean the leaves with a cloth soft moistened with warm water. The accumulation of dust and dirt on them can hinder both the absorption of light and proper respiration by the plant. Here we teach you more about How to clean the leaves of plants.
- If your ficus seems to lose its leaves a lot soon after you get it or when you change its location, it is probably due to a acclimatization too abrupt: Be patient and give it time.
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