Table of contents:

Houseplant portrait: rubber tree (Ficus elastica)
Houseplant portrait: rubber tree (Ficus elastica)
Video: Houseplant portrait: rubber tree (Ficus elastica)
Video: How to Repot and Propagate Your Rubber Plant | Ficus Elastica Houseplant 2023, February
Anonim

Everyone has already seen the rubber tree (Ficus elastica) - hardly any other houseplant is so common with us. The green plant with the large leaves is even a real classic for the home. We give the right care tips.

Table of contents Table of contents rubber tree: The classic houseplant

  • Green plant for the house
  • The ideal location for the rubber tree
  • Use house potting soil and repot every few years
  • Tips for watering and fertilizing
  • Cut the rubber tree
  • Propagate the rubber tree yourself
  • Plant pests on the rubber tree

Table of contents Table of contents rubber tree: The classic houseplant

  • Green plant for the house
  • The ideal location for the rubber tree
  • Use house potting soil and repot every few years
  • Tips for watering and fertilizing
  • Cut the rubber tree
  • Propagate the rubber tree yourself
  • Plant pests on the rubber tree

The rubber tree is the classic houseplant. He came to Europe from the East Indies and Indonesia at the beginning of the 19th century and has decorated numerous houses and apartments since then. Especially in the 50s and 60s, it could not be missing in any living room and found its permanent place next to the famous kidney table. But even today the easy-care houseplant with the large leaves has many fans.

Gummibaum
Gummibaum

Ficus elastica staged.

Photo: Floradania

From a botanical point of view, the rubber tree that we keep as a houseplant is Ficus elastica, an evergreen species of fig. Its name is somewhat misleading: Even if the rubber tree secretes a white, latex-like milky sap in the event of bark injuries, which can certainly be used for natural rubber extraction, the "actual rubber tree" is the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). It is grown on a large scale for natural rubber production and delivers significantly more yields than the rubber tree that stands in our four walls.

Green plant for the house

While the rubber tree at the natural site grows between 20 and 25 meters high and forms a good and two-meter-thick trunk, it remains in the frame as a house plant with a height of 100 to 150 centimeters. The plant species itself has glossy dark green leaves, with the countless varieties there are variations with green-white or green-yellow patterned leaves, for example 'Variegata', 'Belgaplant' or 'Tricolor'. Varieties like 'Abidjan' have foliage reddish. Pure houseplants do not develop flowers or fruits.

The ideal location for the rubber tree

Ficus elastica needs a bright to maximally partially shaded place in the house that is free of any drafts. Lack of light or a drafty location lead to falling leaves in the long run. Normal room temperature, a few degrees cooler in winter, is completely sufficient. However, do not place the pot directly on cold tiled floors: the roots of the rubber tree are somewhat sensitive to the rising cold.

Use house potting soil and repot every few years

Conventional potting soil is suitable as a substrate for indoor plants from the garden center. The rubber tree is repotted in spring, but only when it has completely rooted its pot. For young plants that are still growing quite quickly, this is the case every two years, for older plants only every four to five years. Since Ficus elastica has grown in weight and size over the years, it is important to use only solid planters. They give the rubber tree the necessary hold and prevent it from tipping over.

Tips for watering and fertilizing

The water requirement of the rubber tree is moderate, but constant. You can find the right pouring rhythm if you rub the top layer of soil in the pot between your fingers: if it is dry, you have to water. In winter, when the houseplant is cooler and enters a kind of rest phase, watering continues, but significantly less. In spring and summer, the rubber tree is also fertilized with green plant fertilizer. But you can also use slow release fertilizers in the form of sticks.

Gardener's tip for smaller absences: If you travel for a few days, you don't have to oblige your neighbors or family to water your rubber tree. Take Ficus elastica out of its pot and place the root ball together with the soil in a bucket of water. It stays in it until no more air bubbles rise, then it is soaked. Now lift it out and place it back in its pot. In this way, the rubber tree can feed on the water for a long time without being exposed to waterlogging in its pot. Incidentally, this treatment does him good every now and then.

Gummibaum pflegen
Gummibaum pflegen

Dusting is good for the rubber tree.

Photo: mopsgrafik / Fotolia.de

Extra leaf care

Like all houseplants that form large leaves, the rubber tree is happy if you dust its leaves regularly. By the way, dust on the leaves is not only an optical problem, it also reduces the vitality of the plant in the long run. It can then no longer “breathe” so well, that is, it can no longer perform perfect photosynthesis. You can also shower off your rubber tree. Then, however, the root ball must be protected from the extra portion of water with a bag or something similar. If the tap water in your home is very calcareous, you should finally rub the leaves dry - otherwise unsightly lime stains will appear.

Many hobby gardeners swear by cleaning the leaves of the rubber tree with a cloth soaked in beer. That promotes the shine. We have not personally tried this yet.

Cut the rubber tree

So that the rubber tree branches out nicely, it has to be cut from time to time. Do not worry: as the botanist says, it is well tolerated by cut and survives even inexperienced cuts by hobby gardeners. If you can, you should cut the rubber tree outside or provide a full surface underlay. With every cut, milk juice comes out, which leaves stains on both the clothes and the carpet, which are difficult (or not at all) to get out. Now cut off the middle shoot over a leaf and you will see that new side branches quickly form, which give the plant a denser growth. Wilted leaves do not have to be cut, by the way, they fall off over time.

Propagate the rubber tree yourself

The rubber tree can be propagated in two ways: by cuttings (simple) and by mossing (somewhat more demanding).

To propagate cuttings, cut six to eight centimeters long sections from the side shoots and remove all leaves except the top one. Then let the interface dry slightly and put the cuttings in a glass of water. Replace the water with fresh water every two days. You can also put the cuttings directly into moist soil, which is covered with foil to increase the humidity. Ventilate daily to avoid mold growth. Whether in water or in soil for cultivation: roots should have formed after four to eight weeks and the propagation of your rubber tree has been successful.

So-called moss removal is a method of multiplying plants and rejuvenating them at the same time. It is only used on older rubber trees that have many leaves. And this is how it is done:

  • Cut the bark horizontally below a leaf base with a sharp and clean knife.
  • Cut the bark again just below this cut, but this time diagonally upwards through the middle of the trunk.
  • Spread the cut slightly with a wooden stick or something similar.
  • Wrap the interface with wet moss and then with cling film. So that nothing slips, the moss packet is secured with a cord at the top and bottom.

After six weeks at the latest, roots should have formed in the interface. Take off the rooted, new shoot tip and plant it in your own pot with humus-rich soil. Finished!

Plant pests on the rubber tree

Black mosquitoes also occur quite often on the rubber tree. With yellow plugs or yellow tablets from the garden center, you can usually get rid of the pests quickly. If the leaves suddenly become dry and yellowish withered, it may be an infestation with mealybugs or scale insects: quickly separate Ficus elastica from your other houseplants to avoid spreading. To combat this, neem oil from the garden center or a mixture of water, paraffin oil and washing-up liquid that has been mixed up and sprayed onto the leaves have proven effective.

Popular by topic