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Rubber Plant

Rubber Plant
Rubber Plant

DESCRIPTION: There are a wide variety of Ficus plants. There are evergreen or leaf losing trees, shrubs and climbing plants.  One of the most common Ficus grown as an ornamental pot plant is F. elastica, known as the Rubber Plant. Native of India and Malaya, it forms a large widely branched tree with large, oblong, glossy, dark green leaves and in some varieties is beautifully variegated. Aerial roots are produced from the branches and these descend down to the ground and form regular roots as do those of the famous Banyan Tree, F. benghalensis. They grow from a single stem but will branch if they're cut back, which is what will have to be done once it reaches the ceiling. F. pumila (repens) is a native of China, Japan, and Australia. It is a creeping plant with small, leathery, dark green leaves less than an inch long. They cling like Ivy with supporting aerial roots. When it reaches the top of its support, it takes on a bushier form with larger leaves. At this point it begins to flower and produce fruits.     F. retusa nitida is a thick-topped small tree native to Malaya. Its leaves are waxy, green, and shiny. It can easily be trimmed and shaped for formal settings. F. benjamina is similar to F. retusa nitida, except its branches are droopy.

POTTING: They require a well-drained soil with reasonable fertility, temperatures between 60 and 72 degrees (plus or minus a few degrees won't hurt), and moderate light. Shade from really harsh sunlight is advantageous; they will thrive without any direct sunlight. It is a good idea to repot small plants whenever their roots fill up their pots with soil. Late winter or early spring is the best time to repot. Healthy plants that have filled their pots with roots should be fed every two weeks with a dilute liquid fertilizer. Washing off their leaves with soapy water removes the dirt that accumulates. Older plants that have become spindly or too tall can be pruned way back in the spring. When this is done, they should be given a moderate amount of water until they start growing good again. Repotting of plants in large containers is needed after several years only. Small plants benefit from being transferred to slightly larger pots whenever theirs become thoroughly filled with healthy roots, which usually means repotting yearly. Late winter or spring is the best times to repot.

PROPAGATION-House plants: The Rubber Plant (F. elastica) and its relatives can be increased from shoots 6-12 inches long, or single eyes or buds can be removed from the branches and rooted. In the spring, these cuttings can be inserted in sand and placed in a warm, moist propagating frame in a greenhouse with the temperature 60 to 65 degrees.

VARIETIES-House Plants: F. elastica (Rubber Plant); F. elastica decora; F. elastica Doescheri; F. elastica variegata (has green and cream leaves & isn't as hardy as the green leaved kinds & doesn't do well in living rooms); F. benghalensis (Banyan Tree); F. Cannonii (heart-shaped or tri-lobed leaves colored rich purplish-bronze); F. Parcellii (bears varicolored fruits); F. rubiginosa; F. pumila; F. radicans; F. lyrata (Fiddle-leaved Fig); F. religiosa (Bo Tree or Peepul Tree); F. benjamina and its variety exotica; F. diversifolia (Mistletoe Fig); F. pumila (repens) ( a climbing plant); F. retusa; F. Sycamorus; F. aurea; F. macrophylla (Moreton Bay Fig).
The edible Fig (those requiring caprification): Lob Injur (Calimyrna); Smyrna
With or without caprification (the fruits are larger if caprified): Mission; Celeste; Brunswick (Magnolia); Adriatic (a variety used for drying); Beall; Brown Turkey; Dattato (Kadota); Ronde Noire.
Caprifigs (the most popular): Roeding Number 3 and Stanford.

information from:
See this site for more information about the rubber tree - for outdoors.