Ficus melanie: how to care at home
Ficus has been popular in indoor floriculture for many years. And this is quite fair. They are easy to care for and form decorative compositions with their participation. The lush green foliage of the ficus Melanie is shaded with burgundy glare, which makes it incredibly attractive. Learning to care for him is not as difficult as it seems. The main thing is to take into account a number of key points.
Botanical description of the plant
The Latin name for the rubber ficus is Ficus elastica (elastic ficus). In nature, they grow to an incredible height, more than 30 m. These are trees that belong to the genus Ficus, the Mulberry family. Most species are evergreen, including rubbery ficuses.
They are widespread in tropical zones, very rarely in the temperate climatic zone.
Melanie is the smallest of the ficus. She reaches 14 cm in height. The store sells in pots with a diameter of 14 cm. It is believed that this species is a mutation of another type of Decor. But since Melanie, when reproducing, completely preserves the parental traits, then she is taken out in a separate form.
The plant is widespread in indoor floriculture.
Important! Melanie juice is toxic! Therefore, do not allow children and animals to play with the leaves.
The plant has thick, rounded, glossy leaves of dark green color. Leaf length - 15 cm, width - 6–8 cm. Melanie is distinguished by pink-purple stipules. Leaves are arranged alternately. Indoor ficuses do not bloom, which must be taken into account if you like flowering plants.
What conditions do you need to create at home
Young ficus is better adapted to housing and climatic conditions than a more mature plant. Therefore, it is better to buy a small young ficus. Keeping it in a medium-sized pot will help restrain its growth if you need it to be small.
As for other plants, care should be taken about where to place and how to create optimal conditions for growth. Crucial in growing creates the right balance of water and light. You can control both parameters.
Ficus prefers indirect light and can grow in dimly lit areas of the apartment. Some gardeners recommend putting Melanie next to a window with transparent curtains.
Did you know? Ficus milky juice was used to make rubber in the early 1900s.
It gives enough light, but not too much.
Temperature and humidity
The ideal air temperature is +16 ... + 24 ° C. But Melanie also grows well at daytime temperatures of +21 ... + 28 ° C. Temperatures above + 28 ° C cause rapid evaporation of moisture, which leads to leaf damage and drought.
Colder temperatures inhibit the growth of ficus, and can also lead to the tree being in a state of hibernation during the growing season. Nighttime temperatures should not drop lower than 10 degrees compared to daytime.
Keep ficus away from sources of artificial heating. They dry foliage and soil, which can damage the ficus. Melanie tolerates a low temperature well, if it is in a period of rest. It is also undesirable to install the pot in a draft.
The ideal moisture level for a tropical plant is 60–80%. But it is difficult to maintain indoors. To create a humidity level of 70%, you must install the pot in a pan with wet pebbles and some water.
How to care at home
Keeping healthy not only the climate, but also the soil, you will get a beautiful and healthy plant. Care consists of regular watering, as well as pruning and transplanting. It should be noted that ficus is a fast-growing plant and requires a large amount of nutrients.
Learn also about the peculiarities of growing such ficuses as cumila, abidjan, bengali.
When growing Melanie, it is important to maintain a relatively high humidity around the plant. Therefore, watering is carried out if the upper part of the soil seems dry to the touch.
If the leaves turn yellow and fall, then the plant does not have enough water.
Important! Cold tap water is defended and brought to room temperature. In this case, the chlorine contained in the water evaporates, which can cause a disease of the root system.
In spring and summer, Melanie is in the growing season and needs monthly fertilizer application. In winter and autumn, a dormant period sets in and fertilizers are applied once every 2 months. A universal fertilizer with equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is suitable for the plant.
If you are unsure whether to fertilize the plant - use a half dosage of fertilizers. This will keep the ficus in excellent condition, and you will know that you have not contributed too much. Always follow the instructions on the packaging when applying fertilizer.
Ficuses do not require significant pruning. But for the formation of the desired plant height, it is necessary to cut off the top. After it is cut, the ficus begins to branch. The annual pruning of individual branches will form a thicker crown or give it a special shape.
To trim the ficus, you will need a pruner, the blades of which are rubbed with alcohol. Pruning is performed in late winter or early spring, before the appearance of new leaves. Make slices on branches directly above the leaf node or branching stem.
Did you know? Melanie - extremely efficiently filters air and eliminates toxins. In ficus, this is even better than in an average-price air purifier.
If you do not transplant the plant annually, then it will not grow. But planting ficus in a large pot is not worth it - this will contribute to stagnation of moisture in the soil and rotting of the roots. A transplant into a pot, 3 cm larger than the previous one, is the most correct.
Basic rules for ficus transplantation:
- Organize a transplant in spring or fall. If you can wait until spring, then this is the best season for a transplant.
- Carefully remove the ficus from the pot. To do this, turn it upside down and squeeze both sides. Someone should hold ficus at this time.
- Choose a pot 2-3 cm larger than the previous one or slightly larger than the root ball. Make sure the new one has drainage holes below.
- Inspect the root system of your plant, remove damaged roots or those that look diseased. Trimming to 20% of the root system is allowed if it is too large. Do not cut the central roots!
- Place a pebble layer in the form of drainage at the bottom of the pot. Layer thickness - 2.5 cm.
- Fill the pot with well-drained peat soil or purchased in the store.
- Place the ficus in the pot and fill the remaining space with soil until you reach the level at which the soil was before transplanting.
- Place the pot in a zone of soft light and soft lighting.
- Water the transplanted plant.
How to propagate at home
If you decide to propagate Melanie, keep in mind that you can’t just break the branch, insert it into the pot and it will grow perfectly.
Find out what the soil composition for ficus should be.
When transplanting, follow a number of mandatory rules:
- Prepare clean scissors and gloves for work. Plant juice can cause a rash, so work with the plant carefully!
- Choose a healthy branch without damage. Its length should not be less than 15 cm and there should be several leaves on it.
- Make a cut below the leaf node.
- Remove the lower leaves on the branch. You can leave only one top sheet, but delete the rest. This will help the plant take root. If a branch spends time supporting leaves, it will dry quickly.
- Place a branch in a glass of clean, warm water. Leaves should not fall into the water.
- Place the glass on the windowsill for germinating the roots. Do not expose the seedling to direct sunlight. Germination time - up to 3 weeks. A good root system should develop during this time.
- Prepare the soil. This may be soil, which is composed of 1 part peat, 1 part pine bark and 1 part coarse sand (or perlite). Do not use only peat soils - the plant will be unstable.
- Fill the pot with prepared soil and moisten it. The diameter of the pot is about 10 cm.
- Place the seedling in the soil and cover the roots and base of the stem. There should be enough soil so that the seedling stands steadily.
- Level the ground and pour the plant with warm water.
- Place the pot in a well-lit area, but not in direct sunlight in a warm room.
Possible growing difficulties
Ficus is sensitive to changes in its environment. He reacts by dropping leaves. If you just moved your ficus to a new place - it will surely drop a few leaves.
Therefore, among the main problems, the following situations are distinguished:
- It can respond to changing climates, watering frequencies and other stressful factors. Therefore, try not to change too often something in the conditions of its growth in order to avoid falling leaves.
- The likelihood of illness increases with improper climatic conditions or abnormal soil conditions. The abundance of moisture causes anthracosis or the death of branches. To reduce the likelihood of a problem, follow the rules for watering.
- Melanie does not have serious pest problems, but aphids, powdery mildew, thrips, and spider mites can attack her. Insecticides are used to control pests, which can be purchased at a flower shop.
Did you know? Ficuses grow on Earth for about 60–80 million years. It is believed that its fruit - fig, is one of the oldest, because of which people began to cultivate wild plants.
As you can see, growing ficus is not too difficult. All that is needed is the usual monitoring of the soil and microclimate, and you will have a wonderful plant that can grow even in darkened rooms.