Care for variegated ficus
Ficus is a very common indoor plant. Of all its varieties, the variegated ficus is most popular. It fits perfectly into any interior and for many has already become an excellent addition to the collection of indoor plants.
In order for the ficus to please the eye, it is necessary to properly care for it, otherwise the plant will lose its unusual color or die completely.
Varieties of variegated ficuses
There are a huge number of varieties of ficus. They are so different from each other that a beginner in this matter will not be able to understand whether the ficus is in front of him or not.
There are such variegated species:
- Ficus Rubber-bearing - a plant that has a thick stem and reaches 2-2.5 m without timely pruning. The leaves are large, fleshy, oval in shape. Variegated varieties: Black Prince, Variegata, Robusta.
- Pumila, or dwarf ficus, is a creeping plant (ampelous). Has shoots up to 5 m long. Tiny leaves in the form of a heart. Variegated species: Sunny, White Sunny, Dorta.
- Ficus Binnediika Ali is an unpretentious decorative tree with oval elongated leaves. In nature, its height exceeds 20 m, but in indoor conditions - no more than 2-2.5 m. With proper pruning, it builds up a magnificent crown in a very short time. Variegated species: Amstel Gold, Amstel King.
- Ficus Rustyweed - a low bush native to Australia. The leaves have a dark green color with a pinkish-milk edging. On the back of the sheet there is a red fluff.
- Ficus Benjamin - A tree plant with medium-sized leaves. The most common variety among indoor flower lovers. Variegated varieties: Anastasia, Baroque, Daniel, Midnight Lady.
All of these varieties successfully grow indoors with proper care. For beginner gardeners, Ficus Binnediika Ali is perfect. It is absolutely unpretentious and can tolerate drought and hot weather.
For planting ficuses, breathable, light and loose earth is required. This is due to the fact that the dense texture of the soil guarantees stagnation of moisture, and these plants do not like this. Most often, the pots are filled with a substrate consisting of:
- clay granulate or expanded clay;
- deciduous humus;
- turf land.
Ficus does not like acidic soil, and the earth should have neutral acidity, in extreme cases - be slightly acidic. To reduce acidity, you can add a little dolomite flour or quicklime to the soil. Among other things, they enrich the substrate with calcium and magnesium. Indoor decorative trees are vital for potassium and phosphorus. These trace elements help maintain the marble color of the leaves. They are rich in wood ash.
Some gardeners recommend adding brick or stone chips to the soil: this gives the roots the ability to breathe and prevents the water from stagnating.
Ficuses are demanding for watering - it should be done often, but in small portions of settled water, so that moisture does not stagnate in the soil.
Since ficuses are from tropical countries, they need high humidity. At home, it is not difficult to organize, it is enough 1-2 times a day to spray a room flower from a bullet machine. In winter, when the ficus is at rest, spraying and watering are reduced.
It is useful to arrange a hygienic shower for your indoor plants. Before the procedure, the earth in a pot is tightened with plastic wrap and the ficus is washed from the shower with room temperature water. It is recommended to wash decorative trees no more than once every 4-5 months.
In spring and summer, during the period of active growth of shoots and root system, ficuses need mineral fertilizing. An excellent solution would be nitrogen-containing fertilizers. The lack of this substance inhibits the growth of deciduous mass.
Among other things, potted flowers, calcium and phosphorus are vitally important for indoor plants. In order not to count the dosage for a certain amount of land, you can use ready-made fertilizers. These complex fertilizers need only be diluted with water and water the plant.
In autumn and winter, when the growing season ends and the ficus is at rest, feeding is stopped: they not only will not bring benefits, but are also harmful to the plant.
Home care gives its results if the plant is systematically transplanted into a suitable pot size. This must be done carefully. Sometimes the transplant is not planned, but emergency. If the ficus is "overfed" with fertilizers, it will have to be transplanted with a complete replacement of the substrate.
A signal to the fact that the plant requires transplantation is that the earth in the pot dries up quickly, and it is full of small roots. The pot is taken 5-6 cm wider than the previous one.
In order to transplant with minimal damage to the rhizome, it is recommended to carry out a number of manipulations:
- Moisten the earth in a pot and gently remove its top layer with 2 fingers.
- Put drainage in a new pot at the bottom. It can be special clay granulate, stone chips, shells or pebbles.
- Lay a layer of a new substrate. It is recommended to lightly tamp it.
- With the help of light tapping movements, shake the rhizome out of the old pot. At this time, the shoots must be supported by hand. If the ficus is large, then you need help, one can not cope here.
- Place the rhizome in a new pot, and cover the free space with a substrate.
- If a young plant was replanted, then the earth does not need to be tamped: this interferes with the natural ventilation of the roots. But large ficuses should be carefully tamped, because under their weight they can simply twist out of the pot.
After the transplant, the ficus may still stop growing for some time. This is normal, because the root system is growing. If the pot is too large, the process may be delayed.
The presence of a sufficient amount of sunlight is the key to the normal growth of ficus, as well as the preservation of its color. Due to insufficient lighting, the leaves fade, and the young shoot does not grow motley, but green. Even if then this decorative tree receives normal lighting, the pigmentation of the leaves will remain the same. Sometimes ficus even drops leaves due to short daylight hours.
It is recommended to think over in advance exactly where the pot with a flower will stand, because he does not like changing places. Better put it on the south window. Fucus needs to be turned to the sun with different sides, otherwise the foliage will grow only on one side.
The love of decorative trees for the sun does not mean at all that they need direct sunlight. They can get sunburn. A leaf that has been green or mottled becomes brown and fades over time. During the summer heat it is better to cover the ficus from the sun with paper or something like that.
In the wild, ficuses grow in height and rarely let out side shoots, but this is not possible in a house or apartment. Among other things, a bare stick with a leafy top does not look very good as a decorative plant. In order to give the ficus a beautiful shape, you must resort to pruning.
In the photo on the Internet you can see trees and bushes, but these are the same plants. If you cut the apical kidney, side shoots are activated. It is for this purpose that the crown of the plant is trimmed.
Pruning is done in early spring, while the indoor flower has not completely departed from winter dormancy.
It is not recommended to leave the tree completely without leaves: they perform the function of photosynthesis and thereby provide the plant with energy. The leaves are green due to the chlorophyll in them. It is he who synthesizes starch from sunlight.
If the plant has lost its decorative properties or the trunk is too elongated, anti-aging pruning can be done. To do this, completely cut the trunk 10 cm above the ground. The section is treated with potassium permanganate and the rhizome is transplanted into a more spacious pot, replacing the substrate with a more nutritious one. After a couple of weeks, new young shoots appear. The remaining leafy part can be used to propagate ficus cuttings.
For any of the cuts, the following rules must be strictly adhered to:
- Pruning is done only in early spring.
- The cut on the shoots is made straight, and on the trunk - obliquely.
- After pruning, remove the milky juice with warm water and a sponge.
- A knife, scalpel or clippers are sanitized before trimming.
- The slice is processed with potassium permanganate or special pastes sold in flower shops.
- Top dressing is done no earlier than 2 weeks after the monkey.
With proper pruning, you can get a beautiful and healthy plant. In addition to decorativeness, pruned trees are more likely to increase leaf mass and get less sick.
Problems you may encounter
Variegated decorative ficus and care for it bring only joy to those people who love indoor plants.
But ficuses are sick, and the reason for this is improper care, as well as an initially infected seedling or soil.
During the cultivation of an indoor flower, you may encounter such problems:
- Black dots on the back of the leaves are cercosporosis. The green leaf fungus spreads spores and can infect other indoor plants. The affected leaves are pruned, and the entire ficus is treated with a fungicide.
- Spider mite - small creatures that hit the leaves of a decorative tree. They are easily detected by thin cobwebs twisting branches and trunk, as well as white spots on the foliage. The plant is washed under warm running water, and the leaves are wiped with alcohol.
- Dropsy - brown growths on the leaves, formed due to overflow of soil. Leaves with growths are removed, and the plant is transplanted into a new substrate.