Common name: Rubber plant
Ficus is an evergreen house / conservatory plant that can grow to 5-6 metres high meaning that it can outgrow its location in most domestic situations.
The shiny dark green leaves with a rubbery texture can grow to about 300mm (12") long.
Some varieties have variegated leaves.
They need to be grown in a well lit position, but not direct sunlight.
The leaves tend to collect household dust so they should be washed two or three times a year.
Plants should be watered regularly during the summer, easing off in the winter months.
Leaves are often shed during winter, sometimes due to natural ageing, but quite often it can be attributed to over watering, changes in temperature, a draughty position or overfeeding.
For example: There may be considerable leaf-drop from larger plants if moved to much lighter or much darker situations.
Even moving the plant to a different room can make a difference.
Plants will usually adapt to the new surroundings and produce new leaf growth within a few weeks.
Plants need an even temperature, in winter do not allow the temperature to fall below 13°C (55°F) and avoid sharp fluctuations in temperature.
Pests and Diseases:
Generally disease free but can sometimes be attacked by Mealybugs, Red spider mite, Scale insects or Thrips.
Pot on young plants each year until they are in their final 300mm (12") pots, then re-pot them every two years from then on.
Commence feeding with a half strength liquid fertiliser every two weeks from now until October.
Now is a convenient time to propagate plants that perhaps have lost their lower leaves or have grown too tall, do this by air-layering them.