If you are one for an easy-care plant that grows tall and comes with large, glossy leaves, look no further – the ficus elastica, or also known as large rubber plant, is the perfect choice for you. Read on to find out more details.
First, details about its attributes and growth. The ficus elastica plant, or as mentioned above, also referred to as a large rubber plant or even tree, has 10cm wide and 20cm long leaves that have an oval shape. The shades can vary, but most popular ones are dark green or burgundy. Their maximum growth is up to 30-40 m if their roots aren’t constrained. The speed growth of the plant can be most accurately described as moderately fast. The end height and spread depend on the way you treat the plant itself. If you want your plant to be shorter you can prune it regularly, and not let it get too high for your taste and needs. When it comes to width, again, pruning has a role here. If you prune it constantly it will result in a wider more branched style, while if you leave it without pruning (or take it down to a minimum) the plant will race for the ceiling and create a more slender tree effect.
Second, care. Ficus elastica doesn’t like cold or very humid environments. So, if you opt to take care of a plant like this in your home, avoid over-watering. You can water the plant after you make sure that the soil around the plant is dry. Additionally, you should make sure that the pot has holes in it so that it can drain the excess water into a plate placed underneath it. When it comes to light, this plant needs nice bright light rooms, but don’t place them on direct sunlight. And for food, apply diluted liquid fertilizer twice per year. It is recommended that you do it in spring and summer. Next, re-potting. You need to re-pot the plant once a year. It is advised that you change the soil for healthy growth. The soil should include one part peat, one part pine bark along with a part of coarse sand. And for humidity, normal room humidity is fine for the plant, and during hot summer days, you can spray water on the leaves for extra mist.
Finally, the plant has medicinal uses as well. It is full of vitamins and it contains a substance known as mucilage that is present in Aloe Vera plants and some cactus. It is helpful for stomach problems, such as nausea, pain or digestive issues. In some cases, the dry water from the plant is used as a mouth cleaner as it helps with mouth sores and inflammation. And the milky, white material in the leaves can be used against insect bites and rashes.