Apartment plants

Ficus - Ficus benjamin - Fcius benjamin

The Ficus

The ficus are among the most widespread houseplants, given their great ability to adapt to the climatic conditions of our homes; in general the term ficus means ficus benjamin, although there are many species and varieties grown in the apartment. Also the fig tree, ficus carica, belongs to the same family as the ficus, and shows with the other ficus some similarities, the first of all the presence of a latex in the leaves and branches; this latex can be irritating on the skin, but above all on the mucous membranes and the eyes, it is therefore good to prune all the plants of the genus ficus by putting on gloves and paying attention to the sap.
All plants of the genus ficus in nature produce very particular fruits, commonly called figs; the scientific term that designates them is sicones, it is actually inflorescences, consisting of a set of small flowers gathered in a bag-like envelope, on the bottom of which is a small hole. These very special flowers are pollinated by tiny insects; for each species there is a species of insect that can be pollinated: if we move a ficus from its area of ‚Äč‚Äčorigin it will not find the insects suitable for pollination. Furthermore, only a few species produce their inflorescences even when grown in pots.

Ficus benjamin

The f. benjamin is a species native to tropical Asia; in nature it reaches the size of large trees, such as oaks or beeches. instead in pots it is maintained of more modest measures, not generally exceeding 2-3 meters of height. There are also varieties selected for their particularly modest dimensions, which do not exceed 65-75 cm in height.
The ficus has modest, shiny and slightly leathery foliage; the color is dark green, but on the market there are species with variegated foliage or with leaves with wavy edges, slightly more decorative than the type species.

Also this is a tropical plant, in pot it remains below two meters high, but in nature it reaches 20-30 meters over the years; from this plant, in the places of origin, the latex is extracted to produce a type of rubber, the rubber. The foliage of the ficus elastica is large, oval, very coriaceous and thick; of a dark green color in the species, however there are varieties with leaves mottled with yellow or white.often the thin bracts that wrap around the leaves that are sprouting are pinkish, very decorative.Ficus retusa

Very similar in appearance to the ficus benjamin, the ficus retusa has thicker and smaller foliage, is very often cultivated as bonsai, because it is easily bred in very modest containers and quickly reaches the appearance of the ancient bonsai tree. There are also varieties grown for particularly small foliage, with which bonsai are produced in a decidedly low number of years.

Ficus - Ficus benjamin: Cultivation

These majestic plants seem to have adapted very well to the climate of our homes, where they grow luxuriant and healthy; however, they fear certain particular conditions, which can cause serious damage.
Ficus trees do not fear the cold very much, and can remain even at a temperature of only 10-12 ° C for long periods of time, so they could also find a place in a temperate greenhouse or in a stairwell. What they fear most are the changes in temperature: a sudden drop in temperature of 5-8 degrees causes the yellowing and the fall of huge amounts of foliage; It is therefore good to place the plant in a place that is not subject to temperature fluctuations, so away from heat sources, doors, windows.
Another fundamental element for the good cultivation of these species is water; these plants do not need too regular watering, it is always good to wait for the soil to be dry before providing other waterings, and, especially in winter, they can withstand short periods of time with the soil completely dry; However, it is essential to provide good environmental humidity, especially during the hottest and driest months or when we have the heating or air conditioning system in place. To keep the ambient humidity high, it is sufficient to periodically spray the entire foliage with demineralised water.
At the end of winter we repot our plants, mixing to the soil a slow release granular fertilizer, which will provide mineral salts throughout the summer; if possible we bring the plants outdoors, where they enjoy good air exchange and good ventilation.
When we move our ficus from the inside of the house to the outside, on a sheltered terrace or in a shady garden, we take the opportunity to clean the foliage of the house dust, possibly making the plant a nice "shower" with the spear of the garden.