A Guide to Ficus Robusta Care
Also known as the rubber plant, the Ficus Robusta is a hardy, but easy to look after tropical house plant that will thrive in your home with the right care. This Ficus is known for it’s wide, glossy leaves that come out of a bamboo-like stem. In this guide we will give you everything you need to get the best out of this wonderful plant.
What kind of soil does my Ficus Robusta need?
The soil of this Ficus should be well-draining and have a lot of space for air. Look for a good quality potting soil, and add a small amount of pine bark and perlite to the mix. This will allow the soil to drain well, whilst being loose enough to allow the roots to develop and breathe.
How much light does my Ficus Robusta need?
The Ficus Robusta needs a location with bright, but indirect light. You will get the best results if you put your plant next to, but not opposite a bright window or opposite a window that has a shade or is west facing. Too much direct light will scorch the leaves of your ficus, so if you notice a yellowing or blistering of the leaves move it immediately.
How often should I water my Ficus Robusta ?
You should water your plant when the top of the soil becomes dry to the touch. When the soil is dry, water it so that the soil becomes moist, but not wet. In the wild, the Ficus will shed its leaves during the dry season so make sure that you are consistent with your watering to avoid triggering this dormant phase.
Do I need to fertilize my Ficus Robusta ?
You can fertilize your Ficus Robusta by applying a weak dose of liquid fertilizer once or twice a month in the spring or summer. Try not to over fertilize your ficus as it can cause problems with the roots.
Pruning Ficus Robusta
All Ficus plants will benefit from regular pruning, but be careful with your Ficus Robusta as its sap is mildly toxic to both humans and animals. When pruning make sure that you wear gloves, and always wash your hands before you touch your face after pruning. If you do get some of the sap on your skin you will develop a rash, but if you accidentally ingest any part of the plant seek medical help immediately.
To prune, remove any wilting or dead leaves as you see them. This will encourage new, healthy growth. To keep the plant looking neat and to maintain its growth rate you should prune the stems of your ficus lightly in the spring and summer.
How much humidity and heat does my Ficus Robusta need?
The Ficus should be kept at an ideal temperature between 18 and 21 degrees celsius. They can survive slightly higher temperatures, but will decline quickly in colder temperatures. You should do your best to maintain a constant temperature in your room so avoid placing it near radiators or cold draughts.
The Ficus is a tropical houseplant that is native to the more humid areas on the planet. It has adapted to thrive in high humidity environments so would make an ideal houseplant for the kitchen or bathroom. Low humidity can cause the leaves to shrivel up and drop off. If your plant is not in a naturally humid room you should mist the leaves regularly with water or place your plant on a pebble tray.
What diseases or pests affect Ficus Robusta ?
Root rot - root rot is caused when the soil is too wet for a long period of time. The first sign of root rot in your ficus is that it drops its leaves without any warning. This may be caused by other reasons, so if you suspect root rot you can check by gently listing the plant from the soil to check the roots. Healthy roots are white and stiff, but infected roots will be black, discolored and smell rotten. To fix this issue you will need to prune away any affected roots and repot the plant into new soil. If you catch the problem in time it is easy to fix, but may cause some stress to your plant.
Fungal disease - The Ficus is prone to fungal infections and diseases when being pruned. You will first notice this as white, sometimes hairy, spots on the stems. To solve this issue you should immediately remove any part of the plant that has been affected with sterilized shears. If the disease continues to spread you may have to spray your plant with a houseplant friendly fungicide.
White fly - Whiteflies are sap-drinking flies that infest the leaves of plants. They are easily identified as they will climb over and lay their eggs on the leaves. If not dealt with, these plants can quickly slow down the growth of your plant and cause damage to the leaves. To remove a whitefly infestation, spray the plant with water or a houseplant friendly insecticide until they disappear.
How often should I repot my Ficus Robusta?
If given good growing conditions, the Ficus is a fast-growing houseplant that will outgrow its pot quicker than some other plants. On average you will need to repot your Ficus every two to three years when your pot grows too small for your plant. You can tell that your plant has outgrown its pot when its growth slows. Choose a pot that is one to two inches wider than your current one.
Fill the bottom of the new pot with soil with a small mound in the middle. Remove the Ficus from the old pot and loosen the soil around the roots. Place the plant in the new pot with the roots down the side of the mound. Pack new soil around the roots and water the plant well. In the first few weeks after repotting, the plant may droop slightly as it gets used to its new environment.