Jun 262016
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Ficus elastica

How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular variety. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all Indoor Plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

The rubber plant is such a well-deserved favourite. Its lovely glossy leaves in various colours glow inside the house and really – it is almost impossible to kill, seems to thrive no matter what.

Watering

Adjust watering to suit the season. This is easy, in the warmer months it tends to put on growth and needs more water. Allow the top 2cm to dry out in between watering.

In winter allow to dry out quite a bit more between watering, it will need less water.

Never let it sit in water – good drainage is essential.

Light

Bright indirect light all year round. Can take limited direct morning sun. The dark leafed varieties can take less light, but the light variegated forms need bright light.

Temperature and humidity

Likes temperatures above 10C, however, the nursery drops to below 10C and they seem to cope OK. Not too fussy about humidity.

Fertilising

Surprisingly heavy feeders. Fertilise fortnightly with liquid fertiliser during the warmer months. Every 2 months at other time. Once a year, flush out any salts that may have accumulated by watering thoroughly and deeply with clean water. Avoid fertilising for 3 months after repotting.

Maintenance

I take them outside periodically and hose them off to keep clean.

Remove any yellow leaves.

Pruning

Ideally in late spring or early summer, but tolerant if pruned anytime. New growth will emerge from the node immediately below the pruning cut. Pruning helps keep the plant to a reasonable size and keeps it bushy. The cuts will ooze sap – wash hands immediately after and clean off secateurs.

Repotting

After a while they will outgrow their pot, can repot easily, don’t fertilise for 3 months after repotting.

Problems

Aphids, mealy bugs, scale

Treat early with white oil.