Technically speaking, what is called a ficus is a weeping fig.
Although it belongs to the ficus genus of plants, which also consists of rubber trees, most people just refer to it as a ficus when discussing houseplants.
Ficus trees are perfect for bonsais or for huge indoor plants in rooms with limited space since they can keep their tree-like shape no matter their size.
Their leaves might be variegated or dark green. Recently, some creative nurseries have begun to braid the plants into various shapes using their flexible trunks.
Caring For A Ficus
Once you have gotten the hang of caring for your ficus, they will adjust really well to the environment within your home which makes them generally very easy to look after.
To get to this point however, you will need to know the following things.
For these plants to flourish, they require a lot of direct, strong light. It should be placed next to a window that gets a lot of light.
Rotate often to promote uniform development. To better absorb the light, be sure to maintain the huge leaves free of dust and debris.
Avoid the sun’s direct rays as they might burn the foliage.
The plant will start to lose its stunning variegation in lower light conditions.
More white will appear on the leaves when the light is increased.
You may always buy a grow light bulb if you need to supplement the light.
This is a simple technique to turn any lamp or lighting fixture become the sun for your plant.
One of the most crucial aspects of caring for indoor plants is providing the proper amount and timing of watering.
Frequently check to determine whether your variegated rubber tree needs water. When the soil’s top two inches or so are dry, water.
You want to strive for wet but never saturated soil for these plants since they are prone to root rot.
Make careful to wet the pot sufficiently so that water may flow out the bottom of the pot easily.
Cooler temperatures are preferable since they will promote greater variety.
It works best at temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Summertime placement outdoors where they may enjoy morning and afternoon shade is OK.
However, never expose them to direct sunlight as they can burn badly.
Although the plant could recover, the leaves will become white and fall off, and it is just not a good idea to put them under such stress.
In the fall, when the low 60s are reached at night, bring it back inside.
When you bring it inside again, keep it apart from your other houseplants for about a month to be sure no hitchhiking pests have infested them.
It’s crucial to keep the surrounding air somewhat damp while growing ficus indoors.
The ficus tree may be regularly misted or placed on a pebble tray with water to improve humidity, but you should be aware that while they prefer high humidity, they do not want their roots to be extremely moist.
As a result, before watering, always examine the soil’s surface.
Do not water if the soil’s surface is wet since this indicates that the plants have enough moisture.
They require water if the surface of the soil seems dry to the touch.
Drainage is the main quality you’re going for. Too much moisture in the soil can cause root rot, which the ficus cannot survive.
It is advised to use a blend of peat moss, perlite, and nutrient-rich potting soil.
This mixture is ideal for your rubber plant since it gives it the nutrients, drainage, and soil aeration that it requires for healthy growth.
You may get the best combination you can afford from your neighborhood garden center or greenhouse.
From spring to the end of summer, feed the plant during its growing period. It will do just well to use a liquid fertilizer solution.
Never forget to reduce feeding throughout the winter and at the beginning of the fall.
Otherwise, your rubber tree will have spindly leaves rather than bushy, thick ones.
You may prevent over-fertilizing by adopting natural techniques, such as adding calcium to eggshells, as they release nutrients into the soil very gradually.
You will eventually need to trim the ficus since it can go up to six feet tall.
The key choice you must make is whether you want to be tall and slender or bushy.
Avoid pruning the plant’s top until it reaches the desired height if you want a tall rubber tree.
Trim both the top and side stems for a bushy appearance. From each stump, your plant can produce up to two new branches.
If the leaves on the bottom start to fall off, do not be alarmed; this is a normal process when the plant gets rid of its older leaves.
If you’re lucky, a new leaf could emerge from the location where the old one fell if you make a little notch there.
Your ficus will begin to shoot out roots at the base of the stem, above the earth, as one thing you’ll notice.
There is no need to worry about them because they are aerial roots that the plant naturally grows.
You may either cut them short or let them long for a more natural look.
It might take some perseverance to propagate your variegated rubber tree, but it will be well worth it.
It’s also much simpler than you may imagine.
Put on gardening gloves before you begin since the sap might irritate your skin. Cut the stem just below the leaves using a sharp knife.
Each cutting need to have a node beneath the leaf, from which the roots will emerge.
Make sure the cutting’s bottom doesn’t contact the glass’s bottom when you place it in a glass filled with water.
You will need some patience as it may take several months for your cuttings to develop any roots.
Your new plant is ready to be potted once the roots have grown well.
There’s a considerable probability that your variegated rubber plant may require repotting when you get it home for the first time.
Wait at least a few weeks before doing so to give the plant some time to become used to its new surroundings.
Additionally, you may leave your young plants in their nursery pots for a lot longer than this; occasionally, you might have to wait anywhere between four and six months.
Use a pot that is around two inches wider than the nursery pot or the plant’s former container.
The name alone gives away how tall variegated rubber trees may go.
To give the roots the room they require, you might need to repot it once every one to two years, depending on how quickly it grows.
You will notice that growth has come to a stop once it has used up all of the space in its present pot, which is a sign that it requires a bigger pot.
Common Ficus Issues
Ficus are sensitive to changes in their environment and by looking at their leaves, you should be able to figure out what you have done to upset it.
Variation is a genetic property that regresses.
Sadly, this implies that any variegated houseplant may eventually decide to go back to having only green leaves.
However, there are other elements that can be to blame.
In the case of rubber trees, insufficient light typically causes loss of variegation.
Try relocating your plant to an area of the room where it gets bright, indirect sunlight if it is currently sitting in a shaded area.
Two or three non-variegated leaves are nothing to worry about, but if the plant starts to produce largely solid green leaves, this indicates that it needs more light and is reverting.
The majority of the leaves with solid colors should now be pruned off, and the plant should be placed in a brighter area.
Your variegated rubber plant’s browning edges or patches are typically brought on by a few common problems.
Try giving it much more humidity for about two weeks if the edges appear dry and crispy.
A quick cure is to put it in the shower after you’re done for an hour.
Make sure to water your plants as soon as the top inch of soil becomes dry because this symptom might also indicate that they aren’t receiving enough water when they need it.
If you have tried everything mentioned above and your variegated ficus still has dark leaves or margins, it is advised to switch to distilled or filtered water.
Some plants are delicate to the minerals in hard tap water.
The plant will recover its leaves after it has adjusted. If it hasn’t been moved, it could be responding to the changing seasons’ effects on the lighting.
It could also be responding to a change in how frequently it waters.
To prevent leaf drop, be mindful of the ficus’ typical routines and make an effort to stick to them.
Unfortunately, there are various diseases out there that can target your ficus if you do not create the right defense by looking after it properly.
However, some of these diseases are not as preventable as others but getting down to the cause is still very important to know.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
One of the most prevalent diseases that damage ficus plants is bacterial leaf spot.
Your plant will start to develop tiny black and yellow spots on the leaf, which are brought on by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium.
The leaf will start to oxidize and finally drop.
Black leaf spot can be cured by watering straight into the soil since too much moisture promotes the disease’s spread.
To prevent the disease from spreading, make sure you remove any contaminated leaves as soon as possible.
rapid drops in temperature below 50°F are the cause. Shock to the leaves in ficus plants results in cold damage.
Younger leaves will become twisted and discolored, while older leaves will start to show brown spots.
Controlling the atmosphere around your ficus is the only method to stop cold damage.
Keep your plant away from areas with air conditioners, chilly drafts, or places where temperatures might drop quickly.
Always strive to keep your plant’s temperature above 50°F.
The Glomerella fungus is the disease-causing agent in anthracnose.
You will see oily yellow patches on the leaves of your ficus, and as the fungus spreads, the leaves will start to die.
An accumulation of water on the leaves—most frequently brought on by heavy overhead watering—causes anthracnose.
Water a ficus straight into the soil and avoid misting the leaves if they are already moist to avoid the fungus Anthracnose.
Once the fungus starts to grow, spray the plant with fungicide until it goes away and cut off any affected leaves.
caused by the fungus phomopsis, ficus branch dieback is a typical problem that appears in too damp soil.
The leaves will start to darken, wilt, and fall off. The branches will then start to die and turn black after this.
Make sure your ficus plant has good drainage and isn’t holding onto too much water to prevent branch dieback.
As soon as your branches start to become discolored, prune them.
Small parasites called foliar nematodes tunnel into the leaves of your ficus and rob them of nutrition.
If the leaves of the plant start to develop a patchwork pattern of black, yellow, and white spots that spread until the leaf dies, your plant has likely been infected with nematodes.
Verify the plant’s leaves before you buy it because most plants get nematodes in the nursery.
If you notice symptoms, get rid of the contaminated leaves right away.
You must remove the severely sick plant from the rest of your plants and dump it.
Like all plants, sometimes insects take hold and begin to infest the plant which can do a lot of damage if not caught early enough.
Whiteflies are tiny white flies that rob plants of moisture by sucking it from their leaves.
A whitefly infection may be recognized by looking at the leaves, which will start to yellow and wilt.
The plant will release a cloud of flies if you shake it.
If you lift the leaves and find a lot of white, rice-like eggs, there’s another sign that you have a whitefly infestation.
Whiteflies are challenging to get rid of, thus action must be taken as soon as an infestation is noticed.
Utilizing a handheld vacuum on the leaves of a ficus is one of the first things you can do to get rid of whiteflies from the plant.
By doing this, you may get rid of pests and eggs without harming the plant.
In the summer, thrips, a tiny and challenging to eradicate insect, attack ficus plants. Thrips have black, fringed wings as adults.
The larvae are yellow-white in appearance and frequently cluster under the leaves.
By examining the leaves, you may tell if your ficus has a thrip infection.
Check the underside of the leaves to be sure if there is a thrip infection if you notice a tear in the leaf with a silvery shine.
To eradicate a mealybug infestation by using a targeted oil to manage the problem.
Scale insects are tiny, inconspicuous insects that eat your ficus.
Brown in color, they leave behind sticky honeydew that may be observed on the leaves or used to identify them.
The leaves begin to yellow and curl before dying soon, which is the first symptom of a scale insect infestation.
An infestation of scale insects can kill a plant if it is neglected for an extended period of time.
It is simple and possible to get rid of scale insects on a ficus in a few different methods.
The simplest way to get rid of all the insects is to thoroughly wash the plant in the shower or under the faucet.
To get rid of the infestation, you’ll need to wash every leaf, and you might need to do this several times.
Small, slowly moving insects known as mealybugs infest immature ficus plants.
They have lengthy bodies covered in wax that resembles cotton.
These bugs are simple to identify since they frequently congregate in clusters on the underside of leaves.
Your plant’s growth will be hampered by a mealybug infestation, and it will finally perish.
Put your plant under the faucet or the shower to get rid of a mealybug infestation.
Make care to properly wash each leaf. To totally eradicate the infestation, you might need to repeat this treatment.
You should spray your plant with pesticide soap for more severe pests. The bugs will be eliminated as a result, protecting your plants.
The ficus is a very easy plant to look after because it has a good tolerance for the limited light conditions of indoor environments.
However, you must keep in mind that it is a fast grower at about a couple of feet a year, which is why it’s important to keep an eye out for repotting and pruning needs.
And – like all plants, the ficus is not immune to pests, so it is best to keep a lookout for any signs that insects have begun to take over.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Repotting Monstera: 5 Tips And Steps For Successful Transplantation‘.