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Ficus

Watering ficus

The ficus is the most common green plant in indoor environments because it is simple to grow and decorative. If it finds the ideal environment, it develops a lot, creating beautiful and luxuriant green areas. These plants are native to Asia and Africa and the cultivated species are about eight hundred; in nature they are trees that reach great heights, but inside homes or offices they never develop excessively. To vegetate well, they should be watered more during the spring, trying above all to nebulize the leaves at least once a week. The water must be free of limescale and it is important to avoid stagnation in the saucer. To allow the roots to breathe, the first layer of earth inside the pot must be made up of shards or expanded clay, so that the water flows into the saucer and is promptly eliminated. Some species require greater humidity, so it is good to leave a thin layer of water in the saucer that evaporates to reach the roots, but in this case it is necessary to limit irrigation on the soil. During the winter the ficus should be watered every two weeks and sprayed on the leaves once a month.

Grow ficus


All ficus species are part of the Moraceae family which requires the same care. The plant must be potted only in spring and when the roots begin to stay tight in the container, which is easily noticeable because they come out of the hole in the pot. The ideal soil is soft and acidic, well drained and with a good percentage of peat; the bottom must be formed by a layer of expanded clay or stones, because the plant is very afraid of stagnation of water which will immediately cause root rot. In ficus elastica the aerial roots must never be cut, which must have sufficient support that must be constantly kept moist. The best pots are terracotta, but plastic containers can also be used, as long as you have the foresight not to let the water stagnate. Climbing species must never be lacking in the right stakes, which can be bought in flower and plant shops and must be kept moist; the aerial roots feed only in this way, therefore it is necessary to limit the water in the pot. By spraying the supports, aerial roots and leaves with water and a little fertilizer at the right times, the plant will grow very well.

Fertilize ficus


With the right sun exposure, proper watering and the right soil, a little fertilizer will allow all ficuses to thrive even better. We must not exaggerate, it is a rather rustic plant that in nature is a tree of several meters, so it develops easily even on its own. The fertilizer should be given once every two weeks in spring and once a month in autumn and winter, suspending completely when it is very cold. The fertilizer must contain a greater quantity of nitrogen and also microelements, in particular iron, magnesium and manganese. The ready-made fertilizers on the market for green plants are fine, just make sure in the list of components that nitrogen is in greater quantities than phosphorus and potassium. It is important to repot the plant when the roots are tight, placing it in a substrate rich in fertilizer. Repotting should be done on average every two or three years, but it depends on the development of the roots; in the elastic species it is necessary to lengthen the support trying to never cut the aerial roots, rather it is a good idea to put a small container with water on the top so that they always have nourishment.

Ficus: Exposure and Diseases


Ficus do not like direct sun, they love light but cannot bear the sun’s rays, which cause the leaves to burn and dry out. The spots on the leaves can also be due to an excess of water or a lack of potassium in the soil; in this case they are irregular brownish spots that invade all the leaves. The cochineal manifests itself with dark spots on the underside of the leaves and can be brown or floury. The floury one is easily recognized by the characteristic whitish formations, while the brown one is best seen with a magnifying glass. If the infestation is limited, the scale insects can be removed by disinfecting with a little alcohol, vice versa when the plants are large and very damaged a good insecticide is preferable. Crumpled leaves full of brown speckles may want to signify the presence of spiders, also recognizable by thin cobwebs. Also in this case it is possible to act mechanically by carefully cleaning the leaves with a cloth soaked in soap and water, to be rinsed very well afterwards. An excess of water will cause the roots to rot and if the plant does not develop it means that the water is too little.

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