Caring for ficus at home - watering, feeding, diseases
Whatever new exotic plants appear in our stores, Ficus will always have its admirers. For example, I remember this plant since childhood. Therefore, it is not surprising that in adulthood she decided to have Ficus as a reminder of her childhood. And although this plant looks unpretentious, but its cultivation requires compliance with some rules. After all, it is not for nothing that often (especially in the autumn-winter period) newcomers to the cultivation of Ficus begin to panic: they say, Ficus has thrown off the leaves - what to do. It also happens that this flower begins to wither - although it is watered and sprayed. Yes, it is really not that easy to grow Ficus. Home care requires strict adherence to the rules. Let's figure out which ones.
In my opinion, the first rule in caring for Ficus at home - do not disturb once again and do not overdo it. What I mean. When I received a Ficus stalk from a flower lover like myself, I immediately identified a permanent pot and a permanent place for it. And therefore, after the cutting took root, she rooted it in a fairly spacious (but still not huge) flowerpot. And immediately put this container in the place where Ficus will grow constantly. After all, the main feature of Ficuses is that they do not like a sudden change of location and frequent transplantation. Leaves may fall off as a result of your insecurity.
The second very important rule in caring for Ficus is the correct watering regime. Also, water should be used only slightly warm and settled. If Ficus is watered a little, the soil will dry out, and the leaves will also wrinkle and begin to fall off. But overflow is also very harmful to Ficus. Especially in winter. Its roots are vulnerable to a drop in temperature and high humidity - when flooded or watered with cold water, they can rot, as a result, the whole flower will die. For the same reason, it is imperative to drain the excess water from the sump.
Ficus should be watered according to this principle - if the soil mixture has dried up by 1-2 phalanges of a finger, it's time. For large specimens, it is permissible for the earth to dry out to a depth of 6 - 7 cm.
Ficuses are native to the tropics, so moist air is vital for them. Especially the ampelous varieties of this plant. Caring for a ficus at home requires spraying. Keep the water warm and soft (settled). When spraying Ficus, there are traces of water on the leaves? What to do? - It is necessary to wipe the leaves from time to time with a damp soft cloth. This will rid the plant of dust and give the leaves a beautiful look.
For the successful breeding of Ficus at home, the correct temperature regime is important. As they say, no matter how cold or hot. In winter, the flower must be provided with a temperature of at least 16 ° C. The critical minimum is 12 ° C. In summer, conditions of 25-30 ° C must be provided.
Most Ficus easily tolerate light partial shade. They are even more harmful to direct sunlight. But variegated forms of Ficus - for example, Benjamin's Ficus prefer to grow in the light. Another thing is that this light should be diffused. Otherwise, the leaves may get burned.
In winter, any types of Ficus require additional illumination using fluorescent, mercury or sodium lamps. Otherwise, they shed their leaves.
For active growth, especially during the growing season, Ficus needs feeding. In the spring and summer, I use nitrogen fertilizers. This helps to build up more green mass to make the flower lush and beautiful. By the way, if your home Ficus has dropped the leaves, then a good feeding will help in its rehabilitation.
You can use "home fertilizers": infusion of wood ash, mullein or nettle. And you can use ready-made mineral complex fertilizers: Humisol (I use it), Ideal, Palma, Ficus and others.
Fertilization frequency: 1 time in 10-14 days. In winter, fertilizing is unnecessary. An exception if you provided Ficus with the same conditions as in summer (additional lighting, humidification, warm air). But even then you need to feed it once every 1-2 months, and even then half the dose indicated on the bottle.
Household Ficuses are susceptible to various diseases. Most often they are affected by spider mites. Therefore, as a preventive measure, it is imperative to spray. I also sometimes give Ficus a warm shower.
The conclusion is this: caring for Ficus at home requires certain knowledge, and most importantly - compliance with the rules. And then there will be no problems at all. In the end, Ficuses grow even in public institutions, and in your home they will certainly grow and delight you with their appearance.
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When purchasing a ficus, you need to decide in advance whether you can provide the plant with the necessary conditions.
Different species need different amounts of space provided to them. Tall ficuses with a spreading crown will require a significant area. The dwarf will have enough space on the windowsill or on the table by the window.
For them, you need to allocate a site in the immediate vicinity of the window. All ficuses are afraid of drafts, you need to take care of protection from wind and hypothermia.
This and ficus benjamin, and beloved by all rubbery ficus... They can reach a height of 2 m. Leaves are from green to almost black. There are yellow or cream spots, marbled pattern, pink tint, cream edges. In shape, the leaves can be long, narrow, triangular, ovoid, heart-shaped, and even in the form of a violin.
Ficus is very popular in recent years tricolor, as well as bengal ficus.
Recently, in connection with the entry of Chinese and Japanese cultures into our lives, it has become more and more common bonsai... Bonsai - miniature trees, translated means "plant on the windowsill." Ficuses are often used for bonsai. Benjamin's ficus is very common in this art.
Types and varieties
- Homeland - the rocky deserts of South-West Africa. Lithops also grow in the southern part of the hot continent.
- In the period, there are 37 types of "living stones". According to the classification, there are several subspecies.
- An exotic succulent in nature lives up to 50 years, at home, with good care - about 20 years.
- Unique plants have adapted to life in the harsh desert conditions: during the day the heat reaches + 45 ° C and above, and at night it drops to almost zero.
- The absence of a stem, thick leaves, low height are signs that facilitate the existence of the species in stony deserts and drought.
- An amazing species grows on poor soil, with a large percentage of sand, settles on granite chips, rocky slopes, clay soil, in areas where it rarely rains, and the sun shines brightly all day.
- Plants look like oval stones connected by a bridge. A dense base accumulates water, but the process of decay begins from excess moisture.
- Fleshy leaves are flat or convex, in most cases there are patterns and spots on the surface. The flower looks like two stones tightly pressed against each other. Shades of leaves are unusual: from light and dark gray to purple, greenish, reddish, marble, brown. On the surface most often there are dots, specks, lines of a contrasting or "softer" shade.
- "Living stones" are not like other types. The height of the original plants is from 2 to 5 cm.
- After 3 years, adult succulents will bloom. The bud emerges from the groove dividing the fleshy leaves.
- Shades of petals are light or bright, saturated: pink, orange, white and yellow. The petals are long, numerous, the flower resembles a chamomile, but the middle is small or medium.
- Two weeks later, a new one appears in the place of the wilted bud. Interestingly, lithops open flowers only in the daytime.
Watering and spraying
Ficus Benjamin should be watered with warm, settled or filtered water as the top layer of the soil dries up. The shrub, as we remember, is southern, so it doesn't need waterlogging.
How to water Benjamin's ficus at home
In the summer, during the period of active growth, you can water it more often, every 3 days, but in the fall and winter, the amount of watering can be reduced to 1 time per week.
If the watering regime is inadequate, the plant will let you know about it in its most radical form - it will simply begin to shed its leaves. To avoid such a problem, make sure that the watering is consistent with the season and temperature: if the room is 16-18 degrees, then the earth dries out more slowly, and frequent watering can lead to decay of the roots. If the temperature is 23-25 degrees, you can water more often.
In addition to watering, Benjamin's ficus needs spraying - it is harmful for him to stay in dry air for a long time. Spray the leaves of the plant regularly with warm, soft water, especially in summer and during cold periods when central heating is on.
- If you spray Benjamin's ficus with hard water, white streaks can form on the leaves, so choose boiled water.
And every 2-3 weeks, you can arrange a bath day for Benjamin's ficus: put it under a warm shower or, if possible, dip the crown of the tree in a basin or bath with warm soft water. This will not only promote the growth of the ficus, but also serve as prevention against pests such as spider mites and scale insects. However, during the shower, it is important to ensure that the stream of water does not fall on the ground. For this, the soil in the pot must be protected with foil.
How to shower for Benjamin's ficus can be seen in this video.
How to care for ficus at home
Although the ficus is unpretentious in its care, it, like any other houseplant, requires a lot of care and love.
Young plants need light air and moisture permeable soil, consisting of leafy earth, sand and peat in equal amounts. Adult ficuses need dense soil; for this, sod land, humus or compost are added to the soil. If you do not have the time and desire to prepare the substrate yourself, you can purchase it in the store. Do not forget that the purchased soil must be disinfected. For this, the earth is spilled with boiling water or a hot solution of potassium permanganate.
Good growth requires light and nutritious soil.
Lighting and humidity
Ficus is a light-loving plant, so it is better to grow it in a well-lit place, the light should be diffused and bright.
With a lack of lighting, the leaf plate becomes smaller, and the shoots begin to reach for the light, which greatly affects the decorative effect of the plant.
The best place for a flower is on the east or west side, protected from drafts. There are varieties that grow well in partial shade, such a plant is contraindicated in sunlight. For the growth of ficus, maintaining air humidity is also important. It should be at least 50% and not more than 70%. In hot summer, the flower must be sprayed and given a warm shower. The water should be separated, soft and at room temperature.
For full development, the plant must be sprayed once a week.
Since the plant comes from hot countries, it needs an air temperature of 25-30 ° C in summer and 15-20 ° C in winter. In a cold room, the plant stops developing and sheds its leaves. Ficus does not tolerate sudden changes in temperature and hypothermia of the soil.
The warmer the air, the more light the ficus needs.
Ficus does not tolerate both overfilling and underfilling. When the soil is oversaturated with moisture, the foliage loses its color and falls off, and the root system can rot. When underfilling, the leaf curls, dries up and also falls off. In order for the plant to feel comfortable, you need to know a simple rule: watering should be carried out only when the earthy clod dries out to a depth of 4 cm, and for adult plants, drying of 8 cm is permissible.
How to feed a plant
During the growing season, for rapid growth, the ficus needs additional feeding. In spring and summer, nitrogenous fertilizers are used to quickly build up the green mass.
If the plant sheds foliage, then feeding will help it rehabilitate faster.
Suitable as fertilizer: mullein, infusion of ash, nettle, as well as ready-made mineral dressings "Ideal", "Humisol", "Ficus". Application frequency: in summer - once every 10 days, in winter the flower does not need fertilization.
Pruning and shaping the crown
Caring for ficus, in addition to watering and feeding, also includes pruning. This procedure is carried out to give the crown a certain shape, rejuvenate the plant and prevent diseases.
Pruning is the main thing in plant care
Before you start pruning, you need to decide on the timing. Spring is the time when a plant can be pruned to form a crown. After the performed procedure, the plant will become lush and begin to release young leaves. Autumn is an unfavorable time for pruning. Since during this period the plant begins to use the accumulated nutrients, and when pruned, the owner of the flower deprives it of the necessary substances that help the plant to winter favorably.
How to properly trim ficus (video):
Ficus transplant at home
A flower transplant is carried out annually in the spring. To do this, you need to prepare a large pot, nutritious soil, drainage (expanded clay, pebbles or broken brick).
How to properly transplant ficus at home:
- We carefully remove the flower from the pot along with an earthen lump.
- We clean the root system of old soil; for this, the plant is kept for several minutes in a container with water.
- Fill the bottom of the pot by 2-3 cm with drainage.
- We fill in the first layer of earth and tamp it. Next, we install the flower and gradually add the earth so that an air cushion does not form.
- Water the transplanted plant abundantly.
The first top dressing is applied no earlier than a month after planting.
Caring for a flower at home in winter
Caring for ficus in winter is significantly different from summer care.
Temperature-humid mode... Although the plant is thermophilic, in winter, the air temperature must be lowered to 15 ° C. The upper limit is 20 ° C. If the temperature is high, the plant will begin shedding its leaves. You also need to maintain humidity. To do this, a humidifier or a container of water is installed next to the ficus, spraying and a warm shower are carried out.
Watering... With the onset of autumn, watering should be gradually reduced. In winter, irrigation is carried out every 1.5-2 weeks with warm, settled water.
When watering with cold water, the plant rotates the root system, which leads to its death.
Lighting... The plant also needs a lot of light in winter. For this, additional artificial lighting is installed over the flower. Lack of light leads to shedding of foliage and stunted growth.
Ficus needs a lot of light and heat
Fertilizers... If the ficus grows without additional lighting, no fertilization is needed. With additional lighting, the flower will need feeding, but the dosage is half as much.
Proper care (video):
Using dwarf ficus
In indoor conditions, given its climbing abilities, dwarf ficus can be tied to a support, for example, to a ball frame, and grown as a topiary, or as a low ground cover plant at the foot of tall plants. Dwarf ficus looks beautiful as an ampelous plant, it can be used for wall landscaping of offices.
Dwarf ficus is used in the art of bonsai and wabi-kusa. It is often marketed as a terrarium plant for making wabi-kusa, as it grows quickly in humid conditions because it is considered a quick and cheap terrarium litter.