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In nature the ficus elastica is a large tree, which reaches 25-30 meters and develops in the tropical forests of Asia; in pot it has an erect habit, poorly branched, and reaches 200-300 cm in height over the years; the bark is smooth, brown-gray in color. The leaves are large, up to 25-30 cm, oval, dark green, carried by long rigid petioles; they are shiny, leathery and rigid, at the beginning of their development they appear rolled up inside a reddish sheath, and are characterized by a showy red-vein-veining on the lower side; in the lower part of the stem often develop aerial roots. On the market there are varieties with small leaves or variegated foliage. They are easy to grow plants, very common in the apartment.
The specimens of rubber plant elastic need very well-lit places, but they fear direct sunlight; they fear the cold and prefer temperatures above 12-15 ° C; during the beautiful season they can be placed outdoors, in a place sheltered from the direct sun. Generally when moving a plant from the outdoor house it is always advisable to do it gradually and waiting for the late spring, when the temperatures are milder and there is no risk of sudden temperature changes that could cause suffering to the plant.
We use a good rich and soft soil, very well drained; we can prepare a suitable soil by mixing a balanced universal soil with little sand and little shredded bark, so as to create the ideal soil for the planting of this ficus, which requires a soil that allows an excellent drainage, able to avoid water stagnation.Multiplication
This plant variety is multiplied by apical cuttings, cutting at least the outer half of the leaves; often on ficus elastica layering is carried out, removing whole branches to produce new plants quickly.
The cutting is taken in the hottest season, from spring to summer and, to get a good result, it is good to take the cutting with 4 or 5 leaves, with a length of at least 20 centimeters. After drying the latex, you can proceed to place the cutting in a jar, preferably in a terracotta peat-based compound, to leave it compact and airy.
Ficus elastica: Pests and diseases
This plant fears the development of rust on large leaves; often the cochineal and the mites nest under the leaves, above all in case of very dry climate. These can be eliminated with special products, or by intervening to eliminate them manually.
If the leaves turn yellow, then, it is probable that you are not following a correct cultivation, probably, with excessive watering; if, instead, these are too scarce, we will see the fall of the leaves.